Maggie Gyllenhaal: I’m Less Judgmental Now That I’m A Mom

Academy Award-nominated actress Maggie Gyllenhaal appears in Scholastic Parent & Child’s August/September Back-to-School issue discussing her new film Won’t Back Down, mommy politics, and her two daughters Ramona, 5, and Gloria, 4 months.

On mommy wars: “I used to be judgmental of the way other people would parent. I would look at someone talking on a cell phone while her baby was asleep in a stroller and think, ‘How can that mother have her cell phone out?’ Then you actually have a baby and you’re like, she’s sleeping; I have 10 minutes; I’ll make three phone calls. I think so much of my judgement—not only about how people parent, but about people in general— went away when I became a mom.”

On mommy perfection: “I was 28 when Ramona was born, and I had this idea that I think a lot of people in their twenties have, that I was supposed to do it perfectly. At least, if not perfectly, then exceptionally well. I’ve realized that that isn’t possible and that part of being a human is making mistakes—and making lots of them.”

On the joys of motherhood: “Now that Ramona is older, I enjoy hanging out with her as a friend. I know there’s the element of parenting where you have to be a mom and say no and do all the things that are not fun. But the fun part is being with this little person and learning about the world and listening to her questions. She comes and runs errands with me and we make it fun. When we talk, she talks like a person. She knows the words that she needs. She’ll ask me if she doesn’t. I like that.”

For more with Maggie, pick up Scholastic Parent & Child August/September issue, hitting newsstands August 20.


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  1. That’s funny because the mothers that post on this website have become hypercritical judges of every darn thing.

    • I beg to differ — many of those that criticize, judge and hold themselves out to be the experts aren’t even parents themselves. I’ve seen this played out time and time again on this site.

      • That could be true, but you’ll see PLENTY of mothers on this site talking about how they manage their kids without nannies, how they manage to brush their kids hair before they leave the house, how they insist that their husbands change diapers, how they don’t let their kids pick out their own clothes (etc etc etc ad naseum)… so I think plenty of them are mothers, just self-righteous hypercritical ones.

  2. I don’t see what she could have found wrong with being on the phone while the baby is asleep in a stroller? Now I’ll be wondering when I’m on the phone with my kids around in public if people are judging me! Lol

    • N.S. – if baby is asleep and you are using phone is is not problem. However, what I see in good old NYC is some mothers tthat are otally disengaged chatting away while children are unattended and sometimes not even strapped in stroller. Also there is a huge influx of tourists in midtown each day (where I work) and I am amazed to see 3-4 year olds walking behind their parents while parents chat and shop unaware. In some cases it was so bad (kid 1/2 block back) I have actually approached parents and advised them the dangers of not watching your child 24/7 in NYC. They seem to appreciate it. I dont think people are judging (at least in my case) but trying to avoid a tragedy that can occur in the blink of the eye if you are distracted when tending your kids. Sorry for long post.

      • That does make sense, I guess I see her point if she’s in NYC too – I’m in Ireland though and it’s not as much of a problem here!

        • Jealous of you…. Ireland would be a lovely QUIET break from NYC. My people are originally from Ranafast. ERIN GO BRAUGH

      • Don’t apologize for your long post – it was worthwhile. On this site quality posts are few and far between and it’s always nice to read something from someone who “knows”.

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