She’s the world’s highest paid supermodel, she’s the mother of two children with Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, and she lives an enviable – and highly Instagram-worthy – jet-set lifestyle, bouncing between multi-million homes in Boston, Los Angeles, New York City and Costa Rica. But Gisele Bündchen says balancing it all is still a challenge.
“I had to make some adjustments from what my life was like before I was a mom,” the supermodel, 35, tells PEOPLE in a new interview on stands Friday. “My kids are so fun and loving, but they are also demanding!”
Bündchen, who is mom to Benjamin, 6, and Vivian, 3, and stepmom to Brady’s son Jack, 8, with ex Bridget Moynahan, says the key to success is all in the art of scheduling.
“For me, making schedules are critical to make sure we attend to all the needs of the kids and our family,” she says. Only then, Bündchen says, does she think about her own needs.
“After adding everyone’s schedule on the calendar, I make sure that everyday I have some sacred time for myself, so I can recharge.”
When she gets “overwhelmed” Bündchen says she relies on meditation.
“I noticed every time I felt overwhelmed I would hold my breath. I had to learn to stop, relax and take long deep breaths and within seconds I would feel more clear and ready to deal with the situation in a more loving way,” she says. “Meditation also has been a wonderful tool. I notice that when I don’t take the time to do it, I am not as centered, patient or clear.”
When it comes to juggling work and managing the kids’ school drop offs and hockey games, “I had to accept that things were not going to happen as fast or exactly the way I expected,” she says. “My kids mean the world to me – but they’re demanding!”
Bündchen has taken to keeping any business trips as short as possible, or, “I try to bring the kids with me whenever possible,” she says.
She has also tried to slow down. Bündchen is celebrating 21 years in the fashion industry with a new TASCHEN photo book, Gisele, out May 10. (This is the mass-market version of that epic $700 book that sold out last fall.) But she has taken a deliberate step back from the industry, walking her final runway show last year, and being more selective with the work she takes on.
• For more from Bündchen, including how she juggles modeling, motherhood and her marriage to Tom Brady, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newstands Friday
“I am not retiring,” she insists. “I am just emptying my glass so I can fill it with things that are more aligned with who I am today.”
Though she says she’s the same “organized and focused” person she always was, “[As a mom], I had to learn to be more flexible and patient in order to create harmony in our home.”
Above all she tries to live in the moment.
“When I am doing activities with Tom or the kids, surfing, riding horses, kayaking or playing ball, I try to really be present and enjoy it,” she says. “The quality of time I get to spend with my family is very important. That way I feel I am experiencing all the different aspects of my life without guilt.”