In one of the most anticipated movies of the year, Rachel Weisz plays a mother who falls apart after the murder of her daughter for the film adaptation of Alice Sebold’s bestselling novel, The Lovely Bones, directed by Peter Jackson.
The 39-year old actress, who is currently engaged to film director Darren Aronofsky, recently sat down with Redbook’s Lori Berger to dish about the challenges of being a working mom, how motherhood has changed her and what she has learned from her 3-year-old son Henry Chance.
On how being a mother has changed her as a woman: “I’m sure a lot of moms say this, but oddly enough, I find I can get a lot more done since I’ve had Henry. You become better at managing your time. Suddenly, in 45 minutes, you can get twice as much done as you once did. So I’ve become a lot more organized. And I’m a much happier person since I’ve had Henry, and much more balanced. I feel I have an ultimate purpose beyond anything else in my life.”
On the wonders of being motherhood: “I think being a mum and having a child has completely grounded me. It’s amazing, and I’ve never been happier in my life. Being a mum is just delicious, and Henry is so scrumptious I could just eat him up. We’ve been having these special treats all this week. I pick him up every day from school and we go someplace special. Today we went for pizza. We were sitting there and he said, “Mum, today I saw two people that were married.” And I said, “How did you know they were married?” And he said, “Because the man had a hat on that was tied underneath his chin.” What?! They come up with the most lovely and crazy things. It is so sweet and such a joy to watch them as they figure out the world.”
On the hardest challenges she’s faced as a working mom: “I think one of the things that moms aren’t allowed to talk about enough to one another — which is also a bit like Abigail in Lovely Bones — is the times when you’re pulling your hair out at home with the kids. Those moments when everything is crashing in and you just feel like you’re going to scream. I think there is sometimes too much pressure on us to be perfect moms, to be empathetic and loving all the time. I feel like women need to get together in regular groups and be able to say to one another, “Today I nearly jumped out the window.” Women need to be able to say that without being judged. It doesn’t make us less good or less human, just real. Every woman needs a good girlfriend to be able to turn to and say, “I just can’t deal with it all today.” Because even though children are the most precious things in the world, they are also set to test us. I think women are already stretched and pressured to be perfect, and it kind of drives me crazy.”
On how her priorities have changed since becoming a parent: “We have to now make decisions as a family, what is best for all of us. For instance, when I was in Malta for four months last year working on [the upcoming film] Agora, Henry wasn’t even in preschool at that point, and he came with me. Darren had just finished shooting The Wrestler, so he brought his editor to Malta, edited the film while I was working, and helped look after Henry. We all met every night for dinner and then put Henry to bed together. We figured it out, and it took some planning, but so far we’ve been able to figure out the logistics of being together as a family. But definitely, the priorities change.”
On her favourite things to do with Henry: “I love to cuddle him and kiss him, and I’m obsessed with his smell. I love to bury my face in his neck and just hold him and smell how delicious he is. I know in a few years he’s going to say, “Mommy, stop kissing me!” So I’m making the most of it now.”
On the best things her son has taught her: “To sing and joke more — he has an unbelievable sense of humor. I’ve learned more patience; he’s definitely taught me to go more with the flow. I’ve also definitely fallen even more in love with his father. Henry’s also reinforced how little I know about science. He recently asked me how a battery works, and I had absolutely no idea. I usually say, ‘Why don’t you ask your dad?’”