Jane Kaczmarek Torn Between Work and Motherhood

06/14/2009 at 09:00 AM ET
Valerie Macon/Getty

Success comes at different stages in a person’s life but actress Jane Kaczmarek wishes her career had happened prior to becoming a mom to Frances Genevieve, 12, George Edward, 9 ½, and Mary Louisa, 6 ½. “It was an odd coincidence that my career took off the same decade as having babies. I often wished it had been different, that I had my big career bump in my thirties and my babies in my forties or vice versa.”

Jane’s career took off when she joined the sitcom Malcolm in the Middle and “it was hard because my kids would want me home with them. Every time  Brad [Whitford, my husband]  and I went to the Emmy Awards, the kids would weep! As an actor, I was thrilled to be nominated for something and there were the kids, weeping! You’re torn.” It also did not help that the actress was working 14 hours on the set and that she “would go days without seeing my children.”

“We had a lot of good people helping us and the kids were okay, but you pay a price for that. I like to be with my children — not just quality time, but quantity time. I like to be there in the morning when they’re waking up. I like to practice piano with them. I like to be there at supper. I need them as much as they need me. Working is not as important to me as being a mother is.”

That is why when the opportunity came along for Jane to take part in the television series Raising the Bar, she made her conditions known to the producers of the show. “I wanted to be a full-time mom and work on a limited basis. And Judge Kessler was a character that I could do that with. I work about 20 days a year and I get to have my life the rest of the time. It’s a magnificent hobby,” shared Jane.

Working less also helps Jane focus time on her foundation Clothes Off Our Backs. The foundation “raises money for children’s charities by selling celebrity clothing and memorabilia through online auctions. We’ve raised over $4 million dollars all from, what I like to think of as, the embarrassment of riches.” Jane started the charity because she knows that she has “the greatest luxury of all, which is healthy children. That’s not the case for so many mothers and children in the world.”

Life has taught Jane numerous lessons and she hopes to pass them on, especially to her daughters. “I hope they learn from my experiences and the work that I’ve done. I hope they find some kind of employment that they love doing — something that feeds their creativity and their sense of order and their sense of productivity.” She also wants them to “always be aware of people less advantaged than they are. And I hope they know that the most important products you can have in your life are your children.”

Source: Working Mother

– Angela

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 8 comments

girlJordan on

I Love Jane and Brad. They seem so down to earth. I love reading their interviews.

michelle on

Jane really is a classy Lady. I wish more younger women in Hollywood would model themselves after her instead of heading in the direction they are going now.

Tulips on

I was going to say exactly what girlJordan said!

I think Jane is a great role model in general.

meghan on

Jane rocks, she’s just such a cool lady.

Mary on

That was so well said by Jane! The middle quote how she likes to be with her kids, not just quality time but quantity time. I really needed to hear that. I stay home with my kids and I feel if I don’t give them 24/7 interaction, I’m failing as a mother. But she’s right, just being there speaks volumes to kids. Just very well said Jane!!

fuschia on

I agree. Quantity absolutely leads to quality, and I suspect (though I am not a parent to one) that the same is true with teenagers, because they often only communictae when they are good and ready and if you aren’t there you miss the window. Parenting: its an impossible job IMO, but at teh same time impossibly rewarding.

jazzie on

Her “hobby” on Raising the Bar is magnificent. Jane is so good as Judge Kessler I think she deserves an Emmy. I know she likes the limited working hours, but I sure would love for Raising the Bar to have more episodes. This show is TERRIFIC!!!

DrSticky on

Oh no! Have just read that she and Bradley Whitford are divorcing – their family seemed so grounded and together as well😦 Well I wish them all peace and privacy at this time.

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