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Honest Quotes About Motherhood From Mary Steenburgen

Mary Steenburgen knows the highs and lows of raising children.

The actor has a daughter, Lilly, and son, Charlie, with her ex-husband, Malcolm McDowell. She’s also stepmom to her husband Ted Danson’s two children, Kate and Alexis.

In honor of her birthday, here are 12 quotes about motherhood from Steenburgen.

On Parenting During Separation

“I’m intensely respectful of my children’s privacy. Kids have a hard time dealing with [separation] without having to read about it.”

On Co-Parenting

“I adore Malcolm. He’s a very special, wonderful, bigger-than-life magical being, and we’re so lucky that we managed to remember we loved each other. I just thought, this is my children’s daddy, there’s no way I can hate him.”

On Lessons From Her Parents

“I’ve asked her, ‘How did you do it? How did you make it look so easy?’ My mother would come home from work and somehow make us feel so immensely cherished. It must have been at a great cost, but she never showed it. The only thing my mother did that I swore I would never do to my children was make me wear mother-daughter dresses. And since my father never had a son, he used to make me play golf with him. Mother-daughter dresses and golf were about the worst things they did to me.”

On Priorities

“I had Lilly, my first child, two and a half months before [winning an Oscar]. I was so crazy in love with my daughter that it slightly eclipsed the Oscar — which in Hollywood is an almost sacrilegious thing to say.”

On How Parenthood Affected Her Work

“As a mother, when my kids were younger, I have to admit, I looked for the juiciest role I could get that would shoot in the smallest amount of days so that I could keep being a functioning mom. Now I have the luxury of doing a crazy TV series like ‘Last Man on Earth’ because no one but Ted Danson cares that I’m in a car at 4:45 a.m. driving to Chatsworth.”

On Being A Grandmother

“I don’t love the word ‘grandma,’ it’s not very enticing. She doesn’t call me that. Ted calls me Bear, from marebear, and we thought he’ll be Teddy and I’ll be Bear, but she’s come out with Beeb for me. But I do love being a grandmother.”

On Perspective

“To be honest, when you have four kids and one grandchild, and one on the way, and a marriage that you are very blessed to have, I don’t want to work all the time.”

On Acting While Pregnant

“Both my pregnancies are documented on film: Lilly in ‘Ragtime’ and Charlie in ‘Little Red Riding Hood.’”

On Balance

“I am not a workaholic. I don’t know how you do that and be a mother. I feel stretched to the max to do two films a year.”

On Her Home Life

“Most people would describe our homes as comfortable, because we have four children and now we have one grandchild (and two dogs at the moment). So I want our homes to be places where people are not intimidated. I want them to feel comfortable and feel like their children can come over.”

On Her Children’s Father

“[McDowell] loves [the children] very much and spends a lot of time with them. He is an incredible father, and they have a special, wonderful relationship with their daddy.”

On Her Children’s Stepfather

“He has been the grace in my life and my children’s lives. I have to say that I love him with all my heart, and can’t imagine my life without him. The secret of a happy marriage? We try to keep being apart to a minimum. You get out of sync, and you have experiences that don’t include each other.”

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