Earnest Quotes About Motherhood From Vanessa Williams

The singer and actor has a son, Devin, and three daughters, Melanie, Jillian and Sasha.
Vanessa Williams (left) and daughter Jillian attend the "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" premiere at Ziegfeld Theatre in 2009 in New York City.
Jim Spellman via Getty Images
Vanessa Williams (left) and daughter Jillian attend the "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" premiere at Ziegfeld Theatre in 2009 in New York City.

Vanessa Williams knows what it’s like to be a parent at various stages of life.

The singer and actor has a son, Devin, and three daughters, Melanie, Jillian and Sasha. Since becoming a mom in 1987 (and giving birth to her fourth child in 2000), she’s spoken about her evolution as a parent, unique relationship with each child and more.

In honor of her birthday, we’ve rounded up 15 quotes about parenthood from Williams.

On Being A Working Mom

“I was always working my professional life and my life as a wife and mother simultaneously. That means you have to be independent and make decisions. The kids’ schedules came first and my career came second, even though I was the main moneymaker. Unfortunately that meant the marriage came third. When I’d go away to promote albums, my husband came with as my manager, which was a good thing. I think it would have been the same if I was a lawyer or in some other profession: There were a lot of demands on my time, so you do the best you can. There’s no such thing as balance. When you’re working hard, you’re feeling guilty. You hope your partner understands the kids have to come first a lot of times. When there’s a baby crying, you’ve got to attend to it.”

On Understanding Her Own Mother

“As a mother now of four children, I can see her much more wholly as a woman, a mother, someone who has had a past and someone whose past has influenced her choices as well as mine. The wiser you get, the more experience you have, and the more you see people for who they are as human beings, as opposed to figures you have to fight against. I think I am much more conscious of back story, temperament and even going through perimenopause and how it can affect your mood, attitude and relations and how you deal with people. There are a lot of things that you don’t realize that your parents are going through when you’re a kid.”

On Dating As A Parent

“On top of those demands on my time, dating was a challenge because I still had my daughter at home. Do I introduce a new person into her world when she’s a young woman going through changes? As a mom, there are a lot of danger zones and minefields, and you’ve got to be really careful. It’s not all about finding passion, love, and chemistry. It’s about, How does this work in my life? Or even, Will it work in my life?”

On Her Advice For Parenting Moody Teens

Don’t take it personally. If they aren’t talking, you have to realize that they need to go through that.”

On Blended Families

“I mean, the rules in my house stay consistent with whomever is living in my house. In those situations, where the kids are together on vacation as a whole, there’s one set of rules for everybody. Nobody gets preferential treatment. If everyone has to clear the table, everyone has to clear the table. If there’s no hitting, there’s no hitting. It doesn’t change if your mother has different rules. In my house, everybody has the same rules. So be consistent.”

On Milestones That Give Her Pride

“I’m a mother of four so every child I have is another opportunity to be blessed and grow. My first recording career was a huge milestone and having success on broadway was another huge milestone. Being in two iconic shows: four years on ‘Ugly Betty,’ two years on ‘Desperate Housewives.’ It’s been an incredible six year run. I’ve really been lucky. I’ve sang on the Academy Awards and there have been a lot of other tremendous moments in my life.”

Williams has spoken about the power of having support from family and friends while raising children.
Gregg DeGuire via Getty Images
Williams has spoken about the power of having support from family and friends while raising children.

On Mother’s Day Memories

“I love when the kids make things and prepare meals. I used to love when they were young and they’d make the menu and prepare the brunch for me and wake me up with some handicraft note. And one time my son learned ‘You are My Sunshine’ and he waited until Mother’s Day morning [to sing it]. So the things that are not bought are my favorites.”

On Having Kids At A Relatively Young Age

“I was just getting started in my career when I became a mother: I had my first child at 24, my second at 26, and my third at 30. My husband was my manager so we were working on my career together along with raising children. I’ve been a mother so long that it’s hard to remember what my life was like before then, but parenthood has never felt like a burden: It strengthened my outlook on life and made me more ambitious in my career.”

On Turning Into Her Mother

“When I heard it loud and clear was when I was on location shooting a show called ‘Who Do You Think You Are.’ I was on the phone with my 11-year-old daughter. She started with violin, played piano and percussion, then she wanted to switch to the trumpet, and then wanted to drop it altogether. I remember saying, ‘We don’t drop our instruments in this family. Everyone takes an instrument until they graduate, and that’s what we do as a family, so you’ve got to figure out if it’s violin or trumpet or something else. And I don’t ever want to hear the music teacher telling me you’re not showing up again.’ And that’s when I knew, I am the same parent, I have heard this before.”

On Work-Life Balance

“Well, I would say don’t be afraid to ask. My oldest is 21 years old and I remember going into auditions. I was 24 at the time and I remember going up for parts and I would bring her ― I didn’t have a nanny with my first child ― and the other actresses would watch her when I went in to read. And people are there to help you. So there’s ways to always find support. You don’t always have to have a nanny who has a salary. There are high school kids looking for jobs. So don’t be afraid to ask.”

On The Power Of Family Support

“I had two parents and a family that always supported me. Support is very important and when they saw that I had the desire to pursue a career in the arts, I received the proper training. I danced my entire life. I was a musician. I acted and went to musical theater. The preparation is what gave me the skills that gave me longevity in this career. Follow your dreams, but it’s also nice to have a family that supports your dreams instead of saying ‘get a real job.’”

On The Challenges Moms Face

“Well, there’s the fallacy or the illusion that you can do it all and balance it all. I don’t believe there is consistent balance all the time. It’s always a dance. Sometimes you’re crazy, sometimes you’re free. Some days you can do it by yourself. I personally love my freedom and love my house and love taking care of my kids but when I’m shooting and don’t have that opportunity, I definitely delegate. And I think a lot of people assume — you watch a Martha Stewart and see an example of the perfect mother fix treats or after school snacks and staying green and being healthy and doing the right thing and looking fabulous on top of it. And it’s tough and sometimes it’s a burden. So you have to take each day as it comes and give yourself a break. Don’t beat yourself up if your house isn’t clean and spotless everyday. Because you’ll make yourself crazy.”

On Maturing As A Parent

“Just eight weeks after I’d had my second child, I had to go to England to promote my album for 10 days. So I dragged my breast pump through airport security. I was so weepy to be leaving my newborn. Maybe 10 years later, I’d have said no to the trip. As you get older, you get stronger and more confident, and you get more accustomed to saying no and to knowing your boundaries. Things change as you mature.”

On Her Children’s Differences

“I am lucky to have three daughters who are completely different. I look at my daughters and I have different relationships with all three and there are parts of each personality that are very special. I rely on them for their particular qualities, but I feel happy that I have three completely different opportunities to make my mommy-daughter relationship different.”

On Her Motherhood Advice For Her Daughters

“Well, I definitely think you learn by example so I think by watching my mother and myself … watching by example really is key. And when you get overwhelmed to ask for help. We live in an age that we don’t have our extended family at our fingertips like our forefathers did. People [used to live] within the same block or the same town so that you could call on an aunt, or a grandmother or sibling to watch the kids while mom went to work. And nowadays a lot of people are so scattered around the world, they don’t have that extended family, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. It’s hard to do it all.”

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