Honest Quotes About Motherhood From Maggie Gyllenhaal



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Maggie Gyllenhaal does not shy away from opening up about motherhood. 

The “Deuce” star and her husband, actor Peter Sarsgaard, have two daughters ― Ramona and Gloria Ray. Since becoming a mom in 2006, she’s shared her thoughts on guilt, work/life balance, raising socially aware kids and more. 

In honor of her birthday, here are 19 quotes about parenthood from Gyllenhaal.

On Her Advice For New Moms

“Being a mother is amazing, of course. But it is also brutal and painful. Make some space for the whole spectrum of feelings that are about to push in. Not just the fantasy ones.” 

On Learning On The Go

“I didn’t even know I needed a diaper bag. Nobody told me. I remember going out with my oldest daughter when she was very young and she pooped and got it everywhere and I just was like, I don’t know what to do. And then, you know, you learn.”

On Tackling Difficult Topics

“I am honest with them about what’s going on in the world. I try to understand what they’re thinking instead of feeding them my own thoughts/feelings. I also try to be very aware of how young they are and what they can handle. For example, I don’t talk to my first grader about school shootings, but we do talk about how dangerous guns can be. I think it can feel like a scary time to be alive, politically, because so much is out on the table for everyone to see: the bigotry, violence, corruption. But there is also an opportunity for big change, in a way that I’ve never felt before. And I think children are going to be a big part of creating that change.”

On The Power Of Parenthood

“Being a mother includes the entire spectrum of feelings. I think once you’re a mother, you will never live without pain again. First you have the pain of ‘oh my God, this is so much ― I’m so tired,’ or seeing your children go through something painful, all of those things, and then they go and you’re like ‘I miss you.’”

On Postpartum In The Spotlight

“I remember being on Jon Stewart in this sack. I felt it was the wrong time to be having my picture taken ― not by like my husband or people who love me and know me, but in general by the world. I found it really difficult, to be honest.”

On Juggling Work And Parenthood

“It is a lot of organization, which isn’t second nature for us. It’s definitely not a perfect system but we try to support each other. Honestly, I think juggling a career and raising kids is all about organizing … But without organization I couldn’t manage any of this! It’s impossible to strike the ‘perfect work/life balance,’ and I think every parent knows that. It’s a struggle finding that balance in the day-to-day of motherhood, but that’s how you learn.”

On Mom Guilt

″[A] mom once [told] me, when I was doing a play, with an awful cold that it had been soooooooo long since she’d seen me at pick up. But most of the moms I know are pretty honest about how hard all this is. I don’t think any of us have fantasies about being a ‘great mom’ or ‘the best parent.’ We’re just living, and doing the best we can.”

On Her Top Parenting Tip

“You don’t have to invite the whole class to bday parties.”

On How Motherhood Changed Her

“How has it not changed me??”

On Going Back To Work After Having Kids

“There’s no easy way to do that. It’s very strange and disorienting. On one hand, you just want to be home with your baby. And at the same time it’s amazing to be talking and hanging out with other grown-ups! So you’re kind of always straddling two worlds. And pumping always sucks, too. I’m a much more confident mother now than I was 12 years ago, but that’s all part of the ride of motherhood.”

On ‘Second Shift’ Motherhood

“There’s this idea of the ‘second shift,’ but I am never not mothering. I mean yeah, of course, other things happen ― you go to work, you focus on your work, you go out with your girlfriends or your husband ― but I feel like you are always thinking … oh, the violin lesson is canceled because the teacher is sick so I need to pick her up … or my daughter is upset about something, something is bothering her, and it’s just on your mind. I don’t like the phrasing of ‘second shift’ because I feel like it’s just always. I mean, honestly, I still sleep with my bedroom door open, just in case someone is coughing or wakes up with a fever.”

On Mornings At Home

“I love how sweet my girls are when I wake them up. By the time the alarm goes off, one of them has usually scuttled down into my bed. We make breakfast, put on music, and we’re always rushing and pushing people into their shoes. But I kind of love it, especially over the years as it’s gotten easier. The morning is often a little hectic, but it’s a pretty great time in our house.”

On Her Identity

“The part of me that’s an artist and the part that’s a mother exist simultaneously. There are times when I have to make work sacrifices and other times when my family has to.”

On Shaming

“If I’ve learned anything as a mom with a daughter who’s three, I’ve learned that you cannot judge the way another person is raising their kid. Everybody is just doing the best they can. It’s hard to be a mom. I can relate to the anxieties of having other people tell you what to do.” 

On Self-Care

“I make sure to exercise. It makes a huge difference in how I feel. I put aside time to think things through that are important to me. I take my work seriously, and put aside time for that. I try to get enough sleep. And spend time with my husband.”

On How Parenthood Helped Her Career

“I don’t know if I could have done [‘Away We Go’] if I wasn’t a mother. I had to comfort a crying 11-month-old baby. If I hadn’t been able to pull it off, we would have wasted a lot of film time. So I thought, ‘Thank God, I know what to do.’ Then I’d go home to my own baby daughter. So I felt like I was just doing non-stop mothering.”

On New York Mom Essentials

“I had a stroller from the beginning. You can’t function without a stroller in New York. Thank God for my stroller. When my daughter was born, we were sent all sorts of strollers by these stroller companies because that’s one of the perks of being an actor. And so we kind of tried all of them and it was sort of like picking out your first car. We have one that is lightweight and easy to fold. I’m good with a stroller, like those moms who know how to click ’em and close ’em just before they jump on the subway.”

On Parenting Kids With Social Awareness

“Some of it is things that you’ve taught them, and then other things are just them. And some of it is growing up right now, coming into awareness of who you are right now, with so many painful, upsetting things right on the table.”

On Expectations And Reality

“Shortly before my daughter was born, I had a fantasy that everything was going to be organic and cloth diapers. I think a lot of people are that way. And then, of course, you actually have a child you have to manage in the real world with all the complications that brings.”



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