Ellen Barkin Doesn't Regret Taking Time Off for Motherhood

02/14/2009 at 07:00 PM ET
Evan Agostini/Getty

In her twenties she was “a real explorer” and in her thirties Ellen Barkin shifted the focus to her career; Marriage and children soon followed, however, and in the process “pushed everything else into a corner,” the 54-year-old actress tells the March issue of Psychologies magazine. While Jack Daniel, 19 and Romy Marion, 16, were babies Ellen was essentially a full-time mom. “I’d do one movie a year, tops,” she explains. “I wouldn’t travel, I never had to take them out of school or leave them.”

“That was my life and I have two fabulous children to show for it.”

Still, the extended hiatus from acting did not come without a cost. “Did my work suffer? Of course it did — it always does,” Ellen feels. “After slowing down for the kids, and bowing out for the marriage, being able to work a lot, on lots of different things is a pleasure and a privilege.”

Now that she’s kicking her career back into high gear Ellen says she won’t overcompensate with the kids, however. “I think my generation is way over-involved as parents,” she says. “We want to invade every corner of our kids’ lives…It’s not fair, it’s not right.” Instead, Ellen says she’s the “most respectful mother you’ll meet.” That means always knocking before entering bedrooms, and that’s not all. “If I saw a diary open, I wouldn’t even close it -– I’d just walk out of the room,” she adds.

“If they go out, I appreciate a call to know they’re safe, but I don’t ask who they’re going with unless they want to tell me. It’s not my business. We’ve forgotten something important: we don’t own our children.”

Jack and Romy are Ellen’s children with ex-husband Gabriel Byrne.

Source: Psychologies

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Lauren on

I agree! Children need some guiding, but once they reach a certain age they also deserve respect. My father raised me that way. The only thing I DONT agree with her on is that my daughters will ALWAYS have to let me know where they are going. Other than that, I will respect their privacy.

StarObsessed on

Her hair is so awesome. She looks amazing for her age.

michelle on

Sadly, today’s kids are over-parented, over-protected and over-privileged. And they get a rude wake-up call when they hit the workforce. I really respect Ellen for being a parent who respects her children. You can love and guide them, but no…we don’t “own” our chldren. Or as I like to say…”your kids are not yours to experiment with”

Kat on

Bless Ellen Barkin! I worked for years at a tech college as a student advisor, and young adults now can’t pee without calling their parents first. At some point kids have to grow up, and we have a whole generation for whom that process is going to be more painful than it should have been because they had parents who couldn’t let go.

Billie on

I echo Lauren’s point: you should know where/who your children are with. It’s not being nosy to know that information. Especially if your teens are still in school. If your child is older & still at home, then it’s just courtesy to say ‘your out with your mates & wont be home till late’. Other than that point, I like what Ellen Barkin had to say about parenting.

Beth on

I feel that it is important for a parent to know who or where a child is going. It IS a form of respect, but it also shows that loving guidance is still and always will be a part of their lives. I also believe a parent should be telling their child where they are going and who they will be with. Why should that be secret on either side? Telling where one will be is a good role model to show that the child is also respected by the parent.

Respect is good on both sides, but if your child/parent doesn’t come back on time, then the more info you know, the better.

Beth on

Privacy is good, but safety is better!

dee on

I had a girl on my floor my freshman year in college (2001) whose mother would bring her new groceries and do her laundry every weekend. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. Needless to say the girl was insecure and neurotic and was horrible at making decisions.

Pencils on

I agree with most of what she says, except that she should know who her daughter is going out with, and where they are going. The girl is only sixteen. Her son, however is old enough to take care of himself. However, if she raised him right, he would just tell her on his own. Some of the time, anyway–he is 19.😉

Garfield on

I agree with Ellen and think that she has made the point that she knows they have turned out OK and will let her know if she should know where they are going….it also avoids that rollercoaster of lies children get into when confronted with the dilemma of telling a parent something they dont want to hear….good on her….she also picked an excellent father for her Children all the comments I have read indicate that he too puts his children first in his life(something a lot of parents need to work on)

Lis on

Her son’s name is Jack Daniel?? LOL! My husband and I want to name our future son Jack, and always joke about naming him Jack Daniel. But that’s all it is…a joke!!!! 🙂

Judith on

I really tip my hat to Ellen. Not many female celebs would do what she did (exceptions: Meryl Streep and Cissy Spacek, to name 2; oh, and the late Grace Kelly, too).. It is sad that more female celebs don’t act like Ellen in the Mother Dept…

Joanne on

Is she kidding “it’s not my business”. Her daughter is 16 and and where she goes and with whom is “not my business”. WHAT?

Judith on

I am glad to see Ellen took time out to be with her children. But I would want to know who my children were with. And, to me, keeping curfew is a very important thing, Just my opinion..

betty on

I have no problem knowing every aspect of my daughter’s and son’s life. Think of all the dangerous, risky things we did as young women in our twenties. It is a wonder we survied our twenties which I feel is the most dangerous time in our lives because at that age we are no longer constantly being supervised. Sons are driving fast and girl’s brains go into nuclear meltdown when we feel the pangs of love. My kid may not follow my advice, but I will advise them when I know what they are planning on doing is going to adversly affect their life forever. Just think of what happened to Natalie Holloway–a good kid just wanting to have fun like you and I did.

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