Julia Louis-Dreyfus knows the hilarious highs and somber lows of parenthood.
The “Veep” star and her husband, Brad Hall, have two adult sons, Henry and Charlie. Since becoming a mother in 1992, Louis-Dreyfus has opened up about work-life balance, mom guilt and more.
In honor of her birthday, here are 15 of her quotes about motherhood.
On Being A Working Mom
“I’d had a lot of anxiety about being a mother working outside the home ― that I was missing things, that I needed to be with them and I wasn’t. I’d had a nursery on the set at ‘Seinfeld,’ and I would take both boys with me ― which in some ways was worse because then you’re so split! I was racing between the stage and the nursery, I was breastfeeding and all that shit.”
On Watching Her Kids Grow Up
“When you have children, which is in so many ways a glorious endeavor, part of it is about constantly separating. Even when they’re born ― I remember thinking, oh, God, I miss that movement in my body. And from there on that story continues: They crawl away from you. They go to school. It’s a constant. Separation has been a theme in my life, something that I’ve really struggled with.”
On The Secret To Her Long Marriage
“You’ve got to find the right fellow. It is kind of basic, but very crucial. Brad and I certainly have similar goals and sensibilities; we’re on the same page in terms of how we want to raise our children and what we like to do. We’re always trying new things together ― having adventures is a great way to be with your partner.”
“I’m not one of those happy pregnant women. I’m delighted to be having a child, but I don’t relish the idea of pregnancy.”
On Being A Mom To Boys
“Well, I have four sisters. I went to an all-girls school. So I just assumed I’d have girls. It didn’t even occur to me that I might have a boy, let alone two.”
On Pressure From Other Parents
“Many years ago, I went to [my child’s] school and ran into a mom who said, ‘Oh, Julia, I can’t believe I’m seeing you. We never see you anymore!’ I was already consumed with guilt because I’d been working a lot. But I just put a huge smile on my face and said, ‘Oh, really? I guess you haven’t been here when I have.’”
“Guilt is a bitch. It’s so useless as an emotion, for me anyway.”
– Julia Louis-Dreyfus
On The Biggest Challenge She’s Faced As A Mom
“Staying calm in the face of anything you perceive as a crisis … I don’t know [how to do that]. I’m still trying to do it. Let me get back to you in 10 years. Well, I don’t even know if I’ll be able to then.”
On Raising Balanced Sons
“I mean, I love men. And I like the directness of the male sensibility. And I like the sensitivity of women. So, you know, it’s a good mix. I’m hoping that’s something I’ve been able to impart to our children. I’m not the sole imparter of that, of course. My husband is a sensitive guy, too. But there is a softness and a sensitivity to other people that I hope my boys are learning. And I think they are.”
On How Motherhood Inspired Her Activism
“As soon as I gave birth, I suddenly noticed issues in my own backyard. Motherhood changed everything for me.”
On Being Pregnant On TV
“I went through two pregnancies over a nine-year period on ‘Seinfeld,’ and I gained 45 pounds both times. Maybe it was 40 pounds, but not less than that, and I’m 5-foot-3. I really tried not to put those 40 pounds on, but I was hungry, man. I craved red meat and lemonade, and I cannot believe the amount of food I could take in. And it’s really documented on TV. I was trying to hide the weight.”
“Yeah, the working mom thing is definitely tricky. Guilt is a bitch. It’s so useless as an emotion, for me anyway. It clouds things. I’m not saying people shouldn’t feel guilty, but for me, it makes certain decision-making more difficult. And I have felt guilty. It’s one of the reasons I haven’t made a lot of movies. Network television is a full-time job, but it’s manageable. I also think it’s good for my kids to see me have artistic desires, work hard, and have success.”
“I’m driving and talking to you right now, so I can give my full attention to my sons when I get home. It’s tough to be a working mom sometimes!”
On Empty-Nest Syndrome
“Henry is already 16, so it’s coming. The child of a good friend of mine just went off to college, and it’s been an extraordinary adjustment for her, as big as bringing a newborn home. … It’s so thrilling to see your kids evolve into thoughtful, active, independent people … but what do you do without them?”
On Making It Work
“Women want to do everything, and it’s hard to pull off. I brought both my kids to work with me [to the set of ‘Seinfeld’] when they were little. It was great, but it also split my focus. I had a nursery set up so I could nurse them, then I’d run back to do a scene. Was that the best way? I’m not sure. You always feel this pull, like you’re not giving them or your work your best. On the other hand, maybe it was good for these two little boys to see their mother working and having a fulfilling career. And I am in no way disparaging women who stay at home … we beat ourselves up no matter what we choose. Inevitably, you make good and bad decisions. We all do. And you make mistakes. But you do your best.”
“I’m really lucky because I have a nice family that helps me stay focused on what’s important. Hollywood’s trappings are not my focus ― I just really enjoy my kids and my husband.”
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