Maggie Gyllenhaal ‘Didn’t Have a Clue’ About Motherhood

08/26/2010 at 11:00 AM ET

Like so many before her, Nanny McPhee Returns star Maggie Gyllenhaal “didn’t have a clue” how tough first-time motherhood can be.

“I don’t think that’s something you can know,” she muses in a new interview with the Orange County Register.

“There’s no way to prepare for the challenges, the immense joys, the surprises, the disappointments and the shocks. Your heart just rips open.”

The “amazing” transformation she’s undergone since welcoming 3½-year-old daughter Ramona, with husband Peter Sarsgaard, is reflected in her work — “I am [a better actress],” Gyllenhaal proclaims — but maturity also deserves its due.

“Part of it is just getting older,” she concedes. “I might be a better actress now because of that. From 28 to 32 are important growing years.”

Her new film showcases that personal and professional growth like no other, and Gyllenhaal says it carries an important message for all moms.

“It teaches you how to manage the unmanageable, and accept that you can’t be a perfect mother all the time,” she explains. “If you try, it will bring you to your knees.”

The series is family friendly but doesn’t patronize its youngest viewers, leading Gyllenhaal to deem Nanny McPhee Returns “that rare family movie that respects children.”

“Because I am a mom, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about children and what they’re thinking,” she says. “I think that it happens naturally. Before, I wasn’t interested in those things, and now I am. It’s not that I wanted to make a movie that my daughter could see. It’s just more appealing to me.”

FILED UNDER: News , Parenting

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Showing 11 comments

Christie on

I just always find her to be incredibly boring.

Sheri Jackson on

Maggie has a fan in me. She is absolutely amazing in Nanny McPhee – she made the movie with her acting!

lena on

she’s a very smart person. Not only could I not find one rash revelation in her statement, but I completely agree.

Michele Wight on

I agree wholeheartedly. Nobody can prepare you for motherhood. It’s like your heart is ripped open, wrapped in barbed wire and replaced. It’s a pleasurable pain, worry, anxiety, excitement and happiness all rolled into one.
You go Maggie Girl!!!!!!

meghan on

I love Maggie. She’s so down-to-earth.

Lorelai on

Maggie you are amazing!!! I’m such a huge fan! Ramona is so adorable! I also have a 3 and a half year old girl (and a baby boy) and it’s definitely a challenging age 😉

Cec on

Maggie is my absolute favorite actress/actor out there. She always brings something interesting to her characters. And there is something about her look, mannerisms and expression and way of dressing. There is always a sly wink to everything she does. Glad she hasn’t tried to be like those other boring cookie cutter actresses out there.

Sarah S. on

So true about what Maggie said, “28 to 32 are important growing years”–I completely agree. In my case, I had my children at 32 and 35…so the important growing years went a little beyond. I like her down-to-earth sensibility.

H on

Christie —

I have the answer to that, don’t read stories on her…….

could not agree more, the highs and lows are so extream but yet so wonderful, being a mum is so much more than words can ever express, but ‘joyful’ is always my fav 🙂

Holiday on

I am not sure about those ages being growing years as I am only 27, but I had my first child at 23 and then a baby girl 3 months ago and I feel the ages 23-27 have been huge growing years. I cant imagine I could grow any more as a mother or person at 28-32

CelebBabyLover on

Okay, is it just me, or does Maggie look a tiny bit like Katie Holmes in that picture?