Candid Quotes About Motherhood From Kathryn Hahn

The "Bad Moms" actress has a daughter, Mae, and son, Leonard.
Kathryn Hahn, Ethan Sandler and their two children attend the premiere of "The Boxtrolls" on Sept. 21, 2014, in Universal City, California.
Axelle/Bauer-Griffin via Getty Images
Kathryn Hahn, Ethan Sandler and their two children attend the premiere of "The Boxtrolls" on Sept. 21, 2014, in Universal City, California.

Kathryn Hahn is no stranger to the world of parenting media. The actress starred as single mom Carla in the “Bad Moms” movies, she’s the author of a kids’ book called “My Wish for You,” and most importantly, she’s the mother of two children herself.

Hahn and her husband, actor Ethan Sandler, have a son named Leonard and daughter, Mae. Since becoming a mom in 2006, Hahn has spoken about her experience as a parent in several interviews. In honor of her birthday, here are 19 parenting quotes from Hahn:

On Parenting Judgment

“No judgment is as harsh as the judgment we place on ourselves. But yeah, absolutely. I’m much more mellow about it now, but when I was a young parent, I would take everything so personally. If somebody told me my kid’s head was too big, it would give me tremendous anxiety. I think so much of the judgment comes from everybody trying to justify their own decision-making, because you feel like if somebody else is doing it different, that means you’re doing it wrong.”

On Feeling Like A Good Mom

“There are definitely nights where we’re all cuddling and they ask me to sing a song ― I am dreading the day when they outgrow that ― and they’re getting along and it feels peaceful, and I just want to blow up and die with gratitude and love. I also feel like a good mom when I see one of my children treating someone else kindly. When I see them being good people, I think, ‘OK, I’m on the right path.’”

On The Messy Reality of Parenthood

“I feel like motherhood, especially, is seen usually in movies with this saintly veil over it. There’s something about tipping that and showing what’s actually going on — or the wish fulfillment of probably most moms, which is really exciting. It’s an area that’s unexplored. We haven’t been able to see this side of the moms before.”

On Fertility Issues

“I became a mom in my 30s. It didn’t happen as quickly or as easily as I thought. I ... just remember the feeling of how do you tell someone to stop that dream ... It’s so easy to judge from the outside of it — to say why don’t they just adopt or why don’t you just use a surrogate? People can just be so flippant! All of these little statements that if you don’t have to experience are so easy to judge. Plus, the reality that all of those losses that can happen during the process are a little mourning in themselves. It’s really unfair that in the years that are so precious, when many of us are trying to figure out who we are, having children is the last thing we think about. And yet those are our most fertile times.

On Pressure

“I keep seeing these gorgeous Pinterest boards and think, ‘My house doesn’t look like that,’ and ‘I don’t feel this way about my child all of the time,’ and ‘Am I a horrible parent?’ It’s like you’re being set up to fail at every turn. That’s what I think is such an awesome message of this movie: let’s just be easy on ourselves and each other. We’re all just doing the best that we can. Let go and enjoy the awesome payoff.”

On What She’s Learned As A Parent

“I’ve learned just how much capacity for love a heart has. You can’t believe it. I couldn’t believe after having my first that I could ever love anything as much as him. And then when I had my daughter ― your heart just expands. There’s so much room in it. It’s been a nuts, chaotic mess and I love it.”

On Getting Children To Clean

“One of my biggest challenges as a mom is, I really love a clean house. I would clean up absentmindedly for them for a while, because I didn’t like shit all over the place. At a certain point, I had to take a deep breath, step back and let them clean up. I knew it was imperative for them to understand consequences. Sometimes it’s easier to swoop in and take over, but it’s important to let them do it. I mean, I think! I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s such a crazy, crazy time right now to be a parent, because there’s so much to shelter a child from. All I know is I want my two people to be good, kind, empathetic humans with firm moral compasses. Then I’ll just be the happiest.”

On Preparing For Kids

“You’re handed this perfect, gorgeous, untainted, pure being. You feel like, ‘This is my chance to curate their experiences and make the most amazing, brilliant, most empathetic soul on the planet.’ And of course, it’s just one lesson after another of how out-of-control you are. It’s a crazy, awesome responsibility that you have no preparation for. Nothing can prepare you for what that is and how much more challenging that gets the older they get. But holy crap, what a crazy privilege. It’s definitely not for every human on the planet, for sure.”

On Her Parenting Style

“I don’t even know what I would say my parenting style is. It’s like a day-by-day ‘Are you breathing?’ at the end of the day. I remember, as a new mother, feeling so overwhelmed by the societal expectations. It was the blogs, Pinterest, Instagram, the advice ... the perfection. Not only do you have to be a totally present mother, but then you have to bake homemade stuff [for school], and it was just too, too much. So I’d always felt ‘less than’ and always felt like sweating. Or that I was trying to put something on … on top of something that my gut was telling me, ‘I don’t know, this is actually getting in the way of your connection with your kid.’”

On Her Children’s Book

“As I was listening to my then-6-year-old girl monologue about her day, I was struck by how authentic and full she was ― how sure of her own voice and loud and self-respecting. And I thought of how those qualities can start to disappear as a young girl grows up. So we ‘co-authored’ a piece on how to be a woman, my daughter and I. It was all advice I needed to hear. When I was approached to turn it into a children’s book, I didn’t hesitate ... I hope mothers and daughters can sit and read this together: that girls will be emboldened to be who they already beautifully are, and that mothers can use this as a prayer for their daughters to continue to love their perfect, messy, beautiful selves.”

On Family Trips

“I love a road trip and a family cabin with nothing, that’s like my favorite. My happiest place. It’s just us being together, the four of us. Making our own food and playing dumb games together, all snuggling. The thought of that makes me so happy.”

On Watching Her Kids Grow Up

“It’s going so fast. I still cuddle with them at the end of the night, tickle their backs. Sometimes I just get tears in my eyes and I just want to throw up with heartache because I can’t believe how fast it’s going.”

On The Grocery Store Scene In ‘Bad Moms’

“There’s something so depressing about grocery shopping for your family without your family with you. So to have permission to go in and be able to tear through it ― it’s just wish fulfillment. And then when I had to guzzle the milk, it took a turn for Mommy.”

On Overscheduling Kids

“Childhood has to breathe. There’s something about being bored that can be the greatest gift you give to your kids, to be able to fight through that and find your own resources of creativity.”

On Being A Working Mom

“I also think, well, they have a mommy that loves her job and is passionate about her job and brings her a great amount of fulfillment and happiness, and how lucky I am to have found that. I would not be my whole self if I didn’t have this job. It’s a nightmare, and it’s really hard for any working mom to say goodbye to your kids in the morning. It sucks. I know that feeling, so deeply, of wanting to protect and foster and curate a person because you love them so much. Feeling helpless in the outside world despite your best intentions. It’s a heartbreaking feeling. And sometimes it feels good and you feel guilty about it, but then, you’re like, ‘Oh, being by myself actually feels great.’”

On Learning From Her Mother

“I’m trying to learn from how I was parented — what meant a ton and then what has changed, like what’s different in terms of ... so many things. You have clarity on your own childhood, I think, when you become a parent. Or at least if you try. I find myself pushing on the gas with certain things with the kids. Like, I wonder if that’s me or is that my mom speaking through me. Sometimes it’s hard to tell what your own path is. I think she was an amazing mom.”

On The Best Parenting Wisdom She’s Received

“One was, ‘The days are long and the years are short,’ which I remember. Another one was, ‘When you’re in doubt, don’t.’ Which is just good life advice, I think. If you’re waffling, there’s a reason.”

On Work/Life Balance

“It goes so fast. You never feel like you have enough hours in the day for all of it. I’ve purposely taken some time off, this last year. That provided so much emotional currency in the bank, just having time with them. That is the most difficult part for any working mom. You always feel like something is slacking somewhere. You kind of have to just embrace the chaos. It also turns out they need you more, the older they get. Now, all of the deep talks are happening. It’s a pretty big time as a parent. I’m trying to enjoy every second of it.”

On Alone Time

“You’re constantly weighing so many different things like, ’OK, if I go out and have a meal with my friend who I haven’t seen in a gazillion years on this night off, then that means I’m gonna be this much more tired when everybody wakes up tomorrow morning and I try to get them to school ... My husband and I would laugh, we would walk by couples reading New York Times on a Sunday spread out at 11 and we’re like, ‘Ugh, fuck you.’ Just to eat a meal by myself is such a luxury. Still, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. It’s a beautiful mess. It’s just a huge, beautiful mess. Sometimes I hate my kids, sometimes I love my kids. I mean, I always love my kids, but sometimes they drive me so crazy. It’s just controlled chaos.”

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