Actress and activist Rosario Dawson has had many roles in her life, but she’s made it clear which one she holds especially close off-screen: Mom.
“It’s the best role of my life,” she told People last year.
Over the years, Dawson has shared what life is like with her teenage daughter, Lola (whom she adopted in 2014), by highlighting the values she wants to pass down, her family’s love for the arts, and more.
For Dawson’s 40th birthday on Thursday, HuffPost Parenting collected her best takes on motherhood. Check them out below.
On Life With Her Daughter
“For me, it’s what I would imagine as like my first marriage almost, really. It’s a real commitment for life. And it’s really powerful that she was old enough to choose me back. So it’s really, really beautiful.”
On Lola’s Love For Art
“She grew up around artists. My mom sings and writes music. My grandmother, who is in her 80s, is an artist. And I act, write and produce. Art is part of our lives.”
On Taking Lola To Fox’s Broadcast Of The Musical ‘Rent’ (Dawson Portrayed Mimi In The 2005 Film Version)
“It was pretty special to bring my daughter. She just wanted to be on the dance floor all night. Dance parties are my constant workout routine. Sometimes I don’t do it as much as I’d like to, so I’m glad that my kid loves to dance!”
On Ditching An Oscars After-Party ― And Her Daughter’s Funny Reaction
“The other night it was the Vanity Fair Oscars after-party and I just decided not to go. She was so excited, going through my closet and everything she wanted me to wear was like, ‘You gotta wear the low cut with the slit,’ and ‘YAAAS.’ I was like, ‘Who have you turned into, I am so not wearing this!’
“I was ready to leave, and then I was just like, ‘Do I really want to go all the way across town?’ I changed into pajamas and my daughter was like, ‘What is wrong with you?’ She saw that picture of Madonna with Lady Gaga the day after. She’s like, ‘Your priorities are all screwed up, Mom. You have to hang out with Madonna.’”
On Parenting Being Like ‘A Huge Mirror’
“I say, ‘Kids don’t listen, they emulate.’ So it’s been a huge mirror. I really feel like my daughter as she keeps getting older, she’s like, ‘Look, I can lift this mirror. It’s even bigger. Do you want to see that?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, God, that’s a little close.’ So it’s really good. It’s just constant recognition that we’re always growing and we’re always learning.”
On How The Death Of Her Cousin Impacted Her Life, Including How She Spends Time With Her Daughter
“I just want to make sure that I am taking advantage of pushing myself and not just sliding into the next day, slopping through it and be one of those people who just look forward to [the time off during] the holidays. My daughter is in high school. These couple of years I have with her, even if she’s going to be moody or rolling her eyes like a teenager, these are precious moments and I want to be able to maximize them as much as possible.”
On Her Daughter Not Having A Cellphone
“My daughter still doesn’t have a cellphone. She’s on her computer at school all day, but she’s not on social media just yet. I’m hoping to just stay in the three-dimensional world as much as possible before we all just kind of plug in. It will be really interesting when she does.”
On Keeping Her Daughter Off Social Media
“It’s really about championing her. It’s about creating from abundance, and just saying, ‘I’m so excited for all the things you’re growing and learning and loving so that by the time you are on social media, people are going to be blown away by everything that you are and want to create in the world, but you don’t need that right now.’”
On What She Wants To Pass Down To Lola
“Who knows how much time we have on this planet, and trying to avoid discomfort doesn’t work. You have to sometimes just rip the Band-Aid off and say, ‘Hey, that bothered me,’ or, ‘Hey, can we talk about this?’ and just keep it moving. ... If I can pass this idea to my kid, of not being perfect, working through whatever flaws, mistakes and problems, and being stronger and more knowledgeable [that’s great].”