13 Times Reese Witherspoon Nailed What It's Like To Be A Mom

"If you aren’t yelling at your kids you’re not spending enough time with them."
03/24/2017 09:34am ET | Updated March 24, 2017
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Witherspoon's daughter, Ava, joined her on the red carpet for the premiere of "Big Little Lies."

It’s a busy time for Reese Witherspoon. The actress wrapped filming “A Wrinkle In Time,” has been making the press rounds for her HBO miniseries “Big Little Lies,” and on Wednesday, celebrated her 41st birthday.

Witherspoon had a solid squad to help her commemorate the occasion. She’s married to talent agent Jim Toth and has three kids: 17-year-old Ava, 13-year-old Deacon and 4-year-old Tennessee.

Since becoming a mom, Witherspoon has been open about the ups and downs of parenting. In honor of her birthday, we’ve rounded up some of her best quotes about motherhood.

1. “I was 23 [when I became a mom]. I didn’t know what I was doing. I was young. It was shocking. When people ask, ‘When’s the best time to get pregnant?’ I say, ‘Pick the best day for when your entire life is gonna change.’ There’s no good time to have your world turned upside down.”

2. “I constantly question myself: Have I exposed them to the right amount of culture (no), do I spend enough time with each of them as individuals (probably not), do I have the right amount of work/family balance (who knows!). I’m trying!”

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Witherspoon had Ava and her son, Deacon, with her ex-husband Ryan Phillippe.

3. “We have rules around the house. I always say if you aren’t yelling at your kids you’re not spending enough time with them. Just telling everybody to clean up all the time. I feel like I’m always telling people to clean up. ‘Clean up, clean up, put your dishes in the dishwasher, put your clothes in the laundry, come on now.”

4. “The first few months with a baby are so disorienting. I felt like my brain was scrambled eggs, and I think it is, understandably, hard to get dressed or even get out of the house ― you have to go easy on yourself. Having prepared foods in the fridge and freezer was essential because thinking about cooking made me want to cry.”

5. “No one’s really doing it perfectly. I think you love your kids with your whole heart, and you do the best you possibly can.”

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Witherspoon is a working mom of three.

6. “People know not to call me before 8:15, because 8:15 is when everybody has to either be on the bus or at school and then my whole life starts at 8:15.”

7. “I don’t think there’s been an hour of my life since Ava was born that I don’t think of my kids. I call it my CNN ticker tape: Is Ava OK? Yes. Is Deacon OK? Yes. Is Tennessee OK? Yes. Back to Ava.”

8. “Seeing my kids for the first time was primal. The ferocity of love you feel for your children when you see them for the first time ― but you’ve known them inside you ― is phenomenal.”

Handout via Getty Images
Witherspoon has a 4-year-old son named Tennessee with her talent agent husband, Jim Toth.

9. “When I had a little girl at 22, I was even more determined to, I don’t know ... I went from just surviving to, ‘Who do I want to be for this other person?’ That’s what happens when you have a child... You kind of look inward. [When you have three], your eyes cross. You look so far inward that your eyes cross. No, you’re just confused all the time.”

10. “This is so dumb, but the other day Ava said, ‘Well, Mom, you said that drinking water with lemon is good for my body. I burst into tears, going, ‘Oh my God, you listen to me!’ Parenting triumph.”

Steve Granitz via Getty Images
"Parenthood is not at all what I expected it to be," the actress has said.

11. “Having kids made me clearer about who I was as a woman. I just wanted to exhibit good qualities for my daughter. I was a little competitive before I had kids ― probably really competitive, to be honest. It really made me let go of that.”

12. “There are some sacrifices you make, and it hurts your heart sometimes, but my kids tell me they’re proud of what I’ve accomplished, and that just means everything. I grew up with a working mom, and I have so much respect for the things she did as a nurse and a teacher. I would never begrudge her that.”

13. “Parenthood is not at all what I expected it to be. I thought you make little people in your image. But they are just nothing like me or their father. They are their own individuals.”