Jennifer Garner: How Do I Know If I’m Getting Parenting Right?

In her first blog for iVillage, mom-of-three Jennifer Garner talks about her roles as actress and mom to daughters Violet, 6, Seraphina, 3, and son Samuel, 5 months. Read about what keeps her up at night and how all moms are connected to her new role in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

After questioning if she’s too “Tiger Mom” when trying to guide her kids, Jen writes, “This is the kind of mothering — okay, parenting — conundrum that keeps me up at night. How do I know if I’m getting it right?”

She adds: “Isn’t it my job to parent, to encourage, to help my child define themselves? Or should I step out of the way and let them be led by their passions? Do kids understand their passions without getting past the boring fundamentals?”

The actress, 40, goes on to discuss the various self-images of “MOM.”

“Or you imagine yourself as some kind of mom-Mary Milk Maid, for example, nursing your baby for at least 14 months until they are ready to transition straight to sippy cups, blah, blah, blah,” she writes. “And then … nothing. No amount of pumping and Fenugreek, hot tea and meditation can help you squeeze out more than an ounce and a half of breast milk and your child will be forever more susceptible to everything bad while you have a Scarlet B for Bottle emblazoned on your forehead (of course B works for Breast, too, but just go with me). The shame. The tears. The reorganization of your own self-image as MOM. What else will you fail at and how many more times will you let your child down? Many, many, many.”

Jennifer goes on to talk about her role as the over-protective mom in The Odd Life of Timothy Green.

“This doesn’t happen in The Odd Life of Timothy Green (although I swear there should be an entire movie around women and milk production — why does no one ever talk about it??),” she writes. “Somehow Peter Hedges, who wrote and directed the movie, understands a woman’s idea of her self as mom vs. the reality and puts it onto the screen. And when you see it, I am hoping that you will find it nice to laugh a bit and cry a bit and feel comforted by our universal uptightness.”

She adds: “My character, Cindy Green, is obsessed with protecting her child from ridicule and insists that he be seen as normal. Somehow, in Cindy’s need for Timothy to not get hurt, she fails to see what makes him so extraordinary. Talk about shame. When YOU’RE the one who’s trying to hide their challenges under a bushel? NO!!”

And as it turns out, the film hits a chord for all moms.

“I watched the first screening of ‘The Odd Life of Timothy Green’ with my two closest mom friends,” she writes. “After months of work on this movie and even longer waiting to see it on screen, I was so fascinated to watch different moments of this film hit them differently. What made one chuckle had the other dabbing her eyes. By the end of the credits they had gone through an entire package of Kleenex. I asked them what had gotten so under their skin. The answer was simple: recognition. They saw themselves up there: Tangled up in this little magical movie, they saw themselves. (I did, too, but that’s a little different. It IS me. Weird job.)”

Continue reading Jennifer’s blog at iVillage


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  1. Quite frankly, she probably won’t get a real clear answer until they hit their teens & really start exploring the real world for themselves. Those are the years where a parent’s really put to the test & you’ll see those early years of good/bad parenting reflected in their behavior.

  2. I really like her. She seems like such a decent person.

    I saw a commercial for her movie and it was sponsored by – which I love because I’m a foster adoptive parent and I hope others get inspired and consider adopting within the US.

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