Mary-Louise Parker is open about her experience as a mother.
In 2004, the actress welcomed a son, William, with her ex-partner, Billy Crudup. Three years later, she adopted her daughter, Caroline, from Ethiopia.
In honor of her birthday, here are 10 lovely quotes about motherhood from Parker.
On Being A Single Mom
“Sometimes, sure, I wish I could give them everything that was a perfect little family paradigm. But I can’t. Honestly, I feel like that doesn’t even exist, or at least I try to tell myself that when I am feeling bad about not providing it.”
On Her Children
“Sometimes I just look at them and I think, ‘You are the two coolest people I have ever met.’ I was getting ready to come [out] tonight and my son came up to my trailer and said, ‘Where are you going, my beauty?’ I hear that, and I don’t really need anything else.”
On Becoming A Parent
“I’m someone who doesn’t have a mass of talents in life, but I think I’m a good mother. It’s nice to be focused on someone other than yourself. I kind of killed myself looking after Will in the beginning because I didn’t want to leave him; I wanted to be the one there with him whenever I wasn’t working. So I never went out, never went to the gym ― I didn’t want him to be picked up in the middle of the night by someone who was paid to pick him up. I like the time when it’s just me and Will together. I haven’t done a play since he was a year old.”
On Reading With Her Kids
“It’s the No. 1 activity I do with my children and have done since they were infants. Hours after my son was born, my brother was holding him and reading him poetry. Now he’s a little boy with a lot of energy, but he’ll sit still for a book and he has a great capacity to listen. With my daughter, I’m just trying to teach her how to turn pages! We always read a lot before bed. Our record is 14 or 15 books. It’s at least five, even if my son’s tired. I love to hear the words, ‘One more book, Mom!’”
On Her Favorite Children’s Books
“I love Cynthia Rylant; she wrote the Mr. Putter and Tabby books and the Henry and Mudge series. Patricia Polacco is a great author: ‘Chicken Sunday,’ ‘Thunder Cake’ and ‘Thank You, Mr. Falker’ are beautiful stories rich with humanity, and they teach lessons in a non-preachy way. Another favorite, ‘Mama Panya’s Pancakes,’ about a village in Kenya, is a gentle way to introduce kids to other cultures and to the idea that everyone is not the same type of bunny or kid.”
On Choosing Atticus As A Middle Name
“I just want him to be happy and kind, that’s why I gave him that middle name [from ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’].”
On Writing A Book With Her Kids’ Support
“When I was writing this, my daughter used to watch me hit word count to see how many words I had. And she asked, ‘What are you doing?’ And I said, ‘Checking to see how many words I have.’ ‘How many do you need?’ And I said, ‘Well, I’ll probably end up with this many.’ And she asked if I had to have that many words. And I said, ‘Yes.’ And I kept writing. And an hour later, she came in. She had pieces of white paper and said, ‘I brought some words for you, Mommy.’ It was the sweetest.”
On Doing ‘The Spiderwick Chronicles’
“I’ve always wanted to do a kids’ movie, and this one is somewhat atypical ― the characters are finely drawn and complex. Even though my kids won’t be able to see it for a few years, I have lots of children in my life who’d love to see me in a movie.”
On Talking To Kids About Sex And Consent
“I’m the parent who wants their kids to have sex. Not this second ― but I want them to enjoy that, and I want them to know how to treat another person. I feel like there’s a lot of shame and a lot of misfire and a lot of misinformation, and I think people end up getting hurt more. There needs to be a conversation about sexual etiquette; that shouldn’t be limited to when you talk to your children about not getting pregnant. There is also the way that you treat someone. The way we treat people.”
On Achievements In Parenting
“My children were at the book party last night, and I really felt like they understood what was different about my book. My son especially was proud, and that’s, like, as big an achievement as my parents being proud of me. I got to have that moment for just a little second. It’s hard for me to take in things that are good sometimes. I got to feel that for a second. I’m glad that when they grow up ― if they choose to read it ― that’s the book I wrote.”