Felicity Huffman: Motherhood is Not Easy!

09/06/2008 at 07:00 AM ET
Splash News

Although Felicity Huffman had "just left two screaming [toddlers] in the bathtub," when she set out for her audition for Desperate Housewives in the pouring rain, she was sure that she had "pulled myself together." In the beginning, Felicity had hoped for the part of Bree Van de Kamp, but as the producers later told her, when she arrived "it was so great because you were such a mess and so frazzled and your pants were filthy," which ultimately landed her the perfect role of Lynette Scavo — a stressed, disheveled mom to four kids. Only adding to the decision to give her the role of Lynette came when Felicity was prompted for her feelings on being a mother and — taking no time in answering — said "it’s really hard and I’m losing my mind." While her response warranted some strange looks "as if I’d said ‘I eat babies,’ " causing Felicity to feel "such shame, remorse, and humiliation," her honesty about motherhood coincided with her onscreen character’s personality, making for a perfect match.

As a mom to two daughters — Sofia Grace, 8, and Georgia Grace, 6 — Felicity recalls a past interview with 60 Minutes in which she was quick to tell the interviewer that motherhood was not the best experience of her life, going on to say, "I resent the question because I think it puts women in an untenable position." Now, Felicity is eager to share her point of view, explaining that "there’s only one right answer to that question and if you don’t answer it, you’re not a good mother." The working mom is the first to admit that so far, she has not found a balance between her long work days on the set of Desperate Housewives and her roles as a mother and wife, calling it a "constant struggle." While the 45-year-old actress hasn’t "figured out how to [balance being a working mom] with grace and no guilt," she has managed to find a sense of peace when it comes to her body image — all thanks to her girls. Says Felicity,

"For some reason after giving birth — which is when you look like a bag of doorknobs — I actually looked at myself in the mirror and went, ‘I look beautiful!’ I don’t know why, but that sort of tipped it for me."

Sofia and Georgia are Felicity’s daughters with husband, actor William H. Macy.

Source: More, September issue

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 11 comments

phoebe on

You know, as much as I applaud celebrities when they have a moment of honesty, I can’t help but feel a bit sad because you can’t take back comments when they’ve been made so publicly (especially in the day of the internet). Her daughters (love their names and the repetition of Grace btw) might one day read the comment about not thinking of motherhood as the best experience. I’m certain she worships her children but that wasn’t a smart comment to put out there.

Angi R Dudas on

I do not think there is anything wrong with being honest about the struggles of being a mother. It IS hard work! It’s not also easy and a perfect fit right away. Life many things in life, it is a learning experience.

skipsie on

I love how shes told it how it is- She didn’t make out like everything was sunshine and daisies and good on her!

lilith on

phoebe, I’m sure her daughters when they grow up won’t remember what she said in an interview but rather how much their mother loved them and how she spent time with them and being there for them while growing up. And I admire Felicity for being open about it and not sugar coating parenthood.

phoebe on

Okay, Lilith, I think you may have missed my point. They might google their mother’s name one day and see that quote and that might not be pleasant for them. That was what I meant, not what it will do to them now, which I imagine amounts to nothing, considering they are so young. I never thought or said that she didn’t love them because I’m absolutely sure she does, I just think celebrities need to consider the possibilities of their children reading these things later in life. It doesn’t take much for a small insecurity to take root and although this is probably unlikely, the chance should not be dismissed. I just think it would be better to keep something like that a little quieter. It’s great that Felicity has been so open about difficulties and issues, I absolutely admire her for it, the point I took issue with was what she stated previously, about motherhood not being the best experience. Every mother (myself included) has moments when they consider that the job is just too big and overwhelming, but I’d never consider telling my daughter, now or ever, that she was anything less than the best thing I ever did. With what Felicity said, she has essentially put it out there for her kids to read that she thought there was something better than being their mother. Now, believe me, I don’t think for a second that she is a bad mother or doesn’t adore her kids or anything of the sort. I don’t even think she meant the comment in the way it was reported, she probably just meant that motherhood was not all she was about. My post was meant to make an overall point about how you can’t take back comments like the one she made once they are in a public forum. Once again, I applaud her for her honesty, it’s comforting to know that celebrities have the problems we all do.

lilith on

phoebe, I understood your first post exactly the way you described it and my answer is still he same.

molly on

Google may not be around when they grow up. I dont think we have to worrry about them worrying about the honest comments. I agree with Lillith’s opinion.

I’d love to add, too, that I adore her character on DH

Lauren on

Even if her daughters see her comments, so what? We had a very honest, jokey kind of family growing up. My sister and I would be hounding our parents about this that and the other and they’d throw up their hands and go “Should we take them to Goodwill?” or something like, “They’re YOUR girls”. It was very Huxtable-like, you know? It was their way of saying…you are not the center of the universe, you are not always a joy, etc. But never for one second did we not understand how much they love and sacrifice (still!) for us. I found it refreshing, unlike a lot of my parents friends who sometimes blatantly ignored bad behavior for fear of “offending” their kids. Kids get it. It they have an otherwise fantastic life, they know little comments are in jest. I certainly did.

SH on

Wow, I really don’t see any problem with her comments at all. They are true and honest!! Honestly, if my mother was quoted saying these things, knowing what I know now (having 4 kids in 5 years), I wouldn’t think twice and I’d agree with her 100%. What I can’t stand is celebrity women on the covers of magazines all photoshopped and skinny with perfect hair and makeup and perfect nurseries saying “Motherhood is a dream come true” or “I’m on cloud nine” blah blah blah…Yes, motherhood IS all of that but a lot of times it’s NOT and a lot of times it’s all you can do to get through the day. I can TOTALLY relate to her comments. It’s hard to balance. People make it seem like it’s a walk in the park when it’s not, especially when you have a bunch of YOUNG kids – which is what she had when she said a lot of these comments.

Elizabeth on

I think most kids over the age of eight could understand that that basking on a beach in Bermuda is more fun than real life. One thing to consider with Felicity is that if she doesn’t hold back in an interview, I doubt she holds back at home. Her kids are probably very used to their straightforward mother and will be able to put her comments in perspective if and when they come across them as adults.

dezza on

i think honest responses like felicity’s will HELP her daughters. It will help them understand their mother as a person (who had interests and passions before, during and after them) and it will give them permission to experience motherhood as they experience it – not as jessica alba or nicole richie’s publicist thinks they should experience it.

(ps: just picked those two at complete random. Not saying that JA and NR comments re motherhood are not 100% genuine etc etc etc)

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