12 Honest Quotes About Motherhood From Claire Danes

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Claire Danes isn’t afraid to get real about motherhood.

The actress and her husband, actor Hugh Dancy, have two sons. Since becoming a mom in 2012, Danes has opened up about the tough emotions that come with parenting, the difficulty of balancing work and child-rearing and the things that make her anxious as a mother.

In honor of her birthday, here are 12 quotes about parenthood from Danes.

On The Reality Of Motherhood

“Being a mom is incredibly challenging. But, we still feel a pressure to talk about it in very romantic terms. We all have that resentment at times and anxiety about being trapped by the role, that responsibility. And, then chemically it can run riot. Your mental state, the hormonal swings are so extraordinary and singular to the female experience, and they haven’t been taken very seriously or considered very deeply. … I mean, postpartum aside, even if you have the most healthy relationship with your child and have support and resources, it’s tough. It is really tough. And there’s no ‘off’ button. [For me] that was the hardest adjustment. You always feel beholden to somebody. And, for so long they’re like koala bears, you just feel a physical responsibility to be there for them to cling to. It’s pretty primal.”

On Breastfeeding

“He’s getting fat. It’s very exciting. All the time on the boob is starting to result in growth. He’s getting rolls. He’s starting to smile. He kind of knows that I exist … That’s reassuring!”

On Adjusting To Being A Working Parent

“Being a new mom is quite isolating to begin with. I was literally without any of my family or friends or resources. So it was a tough entry into motherhood. It’s so wonderful, but those first three months are so disorientating. I was in a bubble. A very cold bubble.”

On Raising An Expressive Child

“He’s kind of revealing himself to be a bit of a ham, which shouldn’t really be a surprise. A babysitter gave him a kiss goodbye and now he does ‘Mwah, mwah’ to everybody. Or he says ‘Ciao.’ It’s ridiculous. I did not teach him that. He sings ‘Ee-eye ee-eye oh’ to himself all the time. And he’s a toddler, so he says ‘No’ and ‘More’ a lot and he’s just started to have temper tantrums. It’s scary.”

On Sleep

“Well, I have been very, very lucky that I have had a night nurse, which is rad. And so I get some sleep. But I just think, like, OK, it’s another 4:00 a.m. call, which I have a lot of working in film and television. So I am sort of used to being sleep-deprived. But this is taking it to another level and there isn’t a weekend off. There’s no break. But it’s delicious and the best thing ever. It’s very motivating and his smell is just scrumptiousness.”

On The Simple Truth Of Parenthood

“Having a child was the best thing that ever happened to us. But it is constant company with terrible conversation.”

On Waiting To Have Kids

“I’ve always wanted to have kids, but I’m glad I didn’t until now. When I was thinking about [working and being a mother] originally, I was really nervous about it. I think I would make a lousy stay-at-home mom. It just wouldn’t suit me. I feel so fortunate, in that I’ve had this arrow-straight focus that I wanted to act.”

On Parenting Fears

“[There’s] that anxiety that we parents have that our children might be vulnerable out in the world.”

On Being A New Mom

“It’s so new that I am not even quite sure I know how it’s changed me yet. And I am very strapped into this dress. This is Versace and they are really masters of illusion. I literally can’t go to the bathroom unless I take the entire dress off. So yes, there is some serious Spanx going on here. But I was on my feet a lot during the pregnancy. I was working hard so I didn’t have an opportunity to gain much weight while I was pregnant. But yeah, no, it’s been a huge joy, this experience of being a mom. And again, I don’t know how to articulate it yet, because it is so fresh.”

On Sharing Her Work With Her Kids

“It’s going to be a while before I let him watch any ‘Homeland’ episode, let’s put it that way. … I’m just hoping he’s not going to impale himself on this [Emmy]. I’m going to keep it very elevated at a place that he can’t injure himself.”

On Feeling Prepared For Parenting

“My mom ran a toddler school in our loft; I grew up in the city. So I grew up with 1- and 2-year-olds all throughout my childhood, and I know about early childhood development — that particular window I am pretty educated on. Anything before and after I might have some trouble.”

On Work-Life Balance

“I was so in my cozy mommy bubble. I was very anxious about returning to work. I had all sorts of exaggerated fears ― the biggest one being will I ever want to work again? But, in fact, I do and it’s been great. But the material is very, very dark, and it’s so nice to come home and be jarred out of that state by this buoyant butterball, this bundle of love.”

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