Mira Sorvino: Kids Need ‘Closeness’ with Their Mother

10/09/2010 at 03:00 PM ET
Courtesy MOM

She may be a veteran mother-of-three, but Mira Sorvino will forever try to live up to her own mother’s parenting example.

“My mother was a full-time stay-at-home mom, so I find it really, really guilt-making when I go and work,” the Like Dandelion Dust actress, 43, reveals in the Fall issue of Mom.

“She used to do treasure hunts in the back yard and write clues and hide things in trees and she made her own piñatas — and she’s not Mexican … I don’t always measure up to her standard, but I try.”

But despite her hectic schedule, Sorvino does her best to keep her family close by bringing her brood along for the ride.

“On the road it’s very rare that I don’t bring the kids with me,” she says. “At this early age, they still need the closeness with the mother. I don’t feel right about leaving them.”

Fortunately, Sorvino’s children with husband Chris Backus. Mattea Angel, 5½, Johnny Christopher King, 4, and Holden Paul Terry, 15 months — and the family pets! — keep things light and fun on set.

“We actually brought along a blow-up trampoline and put it in the bedroom right next to my bed and they would jump and jump and jump, and it was just such a great counter to the heaviness of the scenes that I would play during the day,” Sorvino shares of her latest film.

“We also brought the cat — Snowball the Fighting Cat. We travel sometimes with one of our animals, sometimes with two, and sometimes we travel with all four!”

That said, while Sorvino takes the time to search for a working balance between her career and her personal life, she admits she is always torn in opposite directions. “There’s kind of an image of, ‘Yay, — the happy working mom!’ and everything works out so well, but it’s really difficult to juggle,” she explains.

“There’s no such thing as the supermom who does it all and it’s all perfect. You only have 100% to give, and you can’t give 100% to both your work and children.”

— Anya Leon

FILED UNDER: Babies , Kids , News , Parenting

Share this story:

Your reaction:

Add A Comment

PEOPLE.com reserves the right to remove comments at their discretion.

Showing 33 comments

Kara on

I completely agree … I love that she FINALLY said it. I am so sick of women saying they can do it all …. and that’s it. What ever happened to striving for doing it all WELL! It’s fine that some women work out of the home while others stay home full-time. THAT IS NOT WHAT I AM ARGUING …. what I am arguing is the lack of HONEST TO GOODNESS truth about the whole situation. Be HONEST with yourself … don’t come up with a cookie cutter answer (I am better to my family when I am happy) so that YOU can feel better about your decision. TWO FULL TIME JOBS …. there is an impossibility to doing them both 100% … do what you want … but don’t deny that while you are gone … something suffers … because you are the ONLY mother to YOUR children.

Michelle on

Kara–well said!

Jacqui on

I love how the cover of this magazine addresses “mom guilt” but the magazine’s tagline is “A happy family starts with you”. Geez, no pressure there.

Angela on

Amen Kara!

Taylor on

Of course no one can do it all but I choose not to measure my life in percentages. While it may be a cop out to some, individuals are more likely to be better parents when they’re content with other aspects of their lives. If a parent stays home and is miserable doing so, what good are they to their children? I don’t have to justify being a working mother to myself or anyone else because I know it’s what’s best for my family. There’s no such thing as perfection so it’s not something I break my back to achieve. My children are happy and healthy and, at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

Also, women with children may be the only mother those children have, but, in some situations, a father is also present. If it’s so important, there’s no reason he can’t commit to parenting “full time”.

ellen on

“She made pinatas”… “and she’s not Mexican.” Uh, racist much???

ang on

mattea is 5 1/2??! she looks 8!

Allison on

Taylor-Very well said! I am a SAHM, and while I really enjoy it, there are times I feel like my brain is going to mush and I get lonely without other adults around. I guess there is no perfect situation. You just do the best that you can for yourself and your family.

gdfg on

ELlen, I really doubt her comment was meant to be racist. Making pinatas is pretty common in the Mexican culture.

Anna on

ellen, aren’t pinatas typically Mexican? Her sentence made perfect sense to me.

Laura on

There is no one way to raise a child. There are many ways to do it and not everyone’s has to be the same. You do what is best for your family and if everyone is happy that is what matters. Not whether you stay home or work full time.

two4one on

@Kara – I think you tried really hard convince others that you are not arguing whether its best to stay home with your kids or to have a career, but you failed. I don’t see how “I’m better for my family when i’m happy” is a cookie cutter answer at all! It is the 100% truth! And your comment about “something suffering” while you are gone is a bit dramatic to say the least. Suffering? You are trying to convince or make others feel that the “TRUTH” – as you put it – is that your kids will suffer when their Mother is not there. Well, that may be YOUR TRUTH for YOUR KIDS but that does not make it so for everyone else! And before anyone says anything, i AM a stay-at-home Mother, and i also have degrees in psychology and Counseling and i know what all the studies say – It is very possibly that you can work AND raise well adjusted, loving, perfectly HAPPY kids. It’s attitudes like yours that cause a lot of women to feel extreme guilt about wanting to fulfill their needs career wise.

JMO on

I think the “and she’s not mexican” part was added in by the writer of the article not Mira herself, but I could be wrong!

I wish we had a better image of all the kids!

Kara on

@two4one …. my only point was …. no matter HOW good you think you do your job outside of the home … you are ALWAYS replaceable …. and every working mother and/or working PERSON knows this … or you wouldn’t go in everyday to hold your place at your desk. My only point was … while there will always be many people able to step into your “career shoes” ie; “account executive” or “sales rep” or “district manager” …. there will never be another MOTHER for your children …. they cannot go “shopping” for another one if you don’t do your job up to par. My only point being that … if you HAD to choose … then perhaps it is valuable to see your VALUE in the eyes of who you are spending most of your TIME with ….. just a thought. Do what you want … you’re going to anyways. Not my problem and not my concern. Cheers! Thanks Michelle and Angela 🙂

Kara on

One more thing @two4one ….. this isn’t about guilt or NOT guilt … and this isn’t about protecting the MOTHER …sheesh … it’s about the CHILDREN. Don’t we teach our kids that life isn’t fair? Well here is a case in point where we need to take our own advice as ADULTS …. working out of the house might be more fun. It might be more fulfilling. It may or MAY NOT be the right way or the better way or whatever. But seriously ….our job as a society should not be to hand hold to mothers … make your decision…and be proud of that. But remember … it’s frankly I’m not worried about making the mother “feel” anything … guilty or not. She’s a big girl. Own it … really … nothing in your post said anything about the well-being about the kids … stop worrying so much about the adult in the situation …. the only person who gets no say in this is the kids …. let’s focus.

Taylor on

Actually, Kara, you must’ve bypassed the part where she said, “It is very possibly that you can work AND raise well adjusted, loving, perfectly HAPPY kids.”

Perhaps you don’t believe that and that’s fine. Stay at home with your children. That doesn’t mean, though, that something other than that is wrong or bad for everyone. I also agree that as hard as you try to hide it with innuendos and gibberish, you are debating the working mom vs. the stay at home mom. That’s your opinion but as you have said many times to others, own it.

Alice on

Kara, your posts are confusing. You’re replaceable at work so it’s less important? I don’t follow you.

Anyway Mira is totally right that you can’t give 100% to everything. Sometimes we’d like to, but life is about balance. I do hope every mum keeps a few % for herself, whether it is work, a nap, a movie, or a date night 😉 Your kids don’t need 100% of you.

Ivonne on

Kara I don’t work outside of the home because it’s “fun”. I do it because I worked very hard for my degrees, enjoy my profession and make very meaningful contributions to society, and deserve to have my own life. I have the utmost respect for SAHMs. It is a very hard job, IMO, to be home with kids all day. Especially since changes in society lead mothers to believe that if they don’t cherish/worship/obey/serve/entertain their children constantly then they are damaging them for life. I’ve seen SAHMs absolutely wracked with their workload because of this. Anyway, until I see some definitive long term studies on the children of SAHMs vs WOHMs making some kind of correlation between the offsprings’ adult success and their mothers’ occupations, I won’t be convinced that either is better than the other. I think that a mother’s love, encouragement, support, and discipline on the whole is more important than how many hours a day she spends breathing the same oxygen as her children. You’re right, life isn’t fair. But I’m disturbed by this idea that a mother must give up everything including her identity and fulfillment to tend to her child(ren)’s every whim and fancy. If she wants to or longs to, fine. But if she doesn’t, and no one is neglected, then I see no problem. I was a person and a woman before I became a mother, and will still be one once my children are grown, therefore my feelings are valid and valuable. My children DO have a better childhood when I am happy, and I am happy when I am being successful and productive. Every mother must make her own decision on this and I quite frankly don’t care how other mothers feel about my decisions, but I find it very small-minded that some women think that if you don’t SAH then you’re committing some atrocity. Unless they are willing to start paying some bills.

Laura on

I find the argument that mothers shouldn’t work to be extremely hypocritical. What do you tell your daughters? “You can be WHATEVER you want” and by whatever you probably mean mother, astronaut, teacher, doctor, lawyer… or several things at once. (mother and astronaut) Think of your child when you are saying things like “Women are better at staying at the house” Would you tell your daughter that? That she has to give up her dreams and ambitions the day she has a baby because she is female and that is what she is supposed to do? Or that she should never experience the joy of motherhood because then she would have to stay home? That is extremely dumb. You are mother whether you are at home with your kid or at work. Sure I think as a mother, you should spend time with your child but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your job. I was a child that was in daycare from 6 weeks to almost 8 years old. My mom worked full time my entire childhood. I still remember her dropping me off at daycare, picking me up and I remember spending plenty of time with her. I was loved and clothed and fed. I had a great childhood and wouldn’t change it. For my future children, I WANT to be a SAHM but that is because it is what I have always wanted. It has nothing to do with my mother because I know she wasn’t the type that wanted that (or could afford it!) In fact, I was an independent and social child and probably would have gotten sick of spending time with my mother lol. And I think everyone can make their own decision and I hope they make it based on what THEY want and not what someone tells them to do.

Jenn on

You’re right, Kara, it’s impossible to give 100% of yourself to everything, and that something has to “suffer” (I wouldn’t use that word). But it could be your job, your children, your husband, your friends, etc. You can’t be everything to everyone all the time, and that goes for for SAHM’s too. NO ONE IS DOING IT ALL PERFECTLY. We’re all doing the best we can, in everyone one of those categories. And as much as I love my daughter, it isn’t all about her, it’s about finding the right balance that will benefit everyone in our family, including myself.

Kara on

Funny thing … I in fact run my own business AND have a Master’s Degree. What drives me nuts is that people try and JUSTIFY their own behaviors by disregarding the other side of the coin. What I like about Mira is that although she cannot be there for her children all the time …she doesn’t deny that it may affect them in possible negative ways. Call a spade a spade. When I am not there … because I am working I am not going to lie to myself to make myself feel better …. “I can’t pick my kid up from school because she is sick but it’s ok because someday she will understand and will be a better person for it.” Nope … I say “I take accountability for the fact that she may miss her mother and that the best thing would be to be with me right now but I am in a meeting and I am sorry about that and that makes me sad.” THAT IS MY POINT. Do what you want … but don’t always make it about YOU … sometimes you come up short. That is life … but OWN it. I am sick of hearing people say that not being able to be all things is “the best thing for others”. Just OWN what you do. I do all the same things as all working parents … but when I come up short I SAY “yup …. wasn’t able to do it all. Others may have suffered today because of it. Let’s try again tomorrow.” END OF STORY. It’s not about soothing my ego … it’s about facing the truth. The good and the bad. Ok … done with this thread.

Alice on

Oh, ok. I understand what you mean now. And I agree with you.

two4one on

@ Taylor, Alice, Ivonne,Laura…Glad you ladies were able to see through it; It was obviously the classic working mom vs. stay home mom argument. I’ve never understood why some women feel that once they become a Mother that’s the end of them and that they must now take a back seat to their kids and everyone else. ‘Being there’ to meet your child’s every need is actually NOT healthy…unless you want an overly dependent child who can’t think for themselves. Believe it or not your child won’t die, become depressed in adulthood, or hate you for life just because you were not able to pick him/her up when they were sick. In life, you get sick, and sometimes you have to deal with it for a while on your own without Mommy there. And that’s okay!

Much love to all the working and stay-at-home moms out there!

Gabby on

@two4one: Hear, hear! I am over the guilt trip I constantly get from certain women (it’s a small, but sizable and judgmental group…many women are extremely sympathetic and supportive) for working. Guess what? I love feeling like a valued member of society and my family – my job keeps me sane. Also my family needs me to work: My income is actually higher than my husband’s, but it doesn’t even occur to people to suggest that HE stay home (not that I think he should – his work is just as important to him as mine is to me), because he has a penis so obviously he can’t be a full-time parent. The point is we had the appropriate number of children for our financial situation and have raised healthy, well-adjusted, very WELL-LOVED children. We do the best we can, just like everybody else. There’s a trade-off for every situation.

ecl on

Another post about raising children without one comment about fathers. It’s all on the mom, right? By the way, the research shows that working moms and stay at home moms spend the same amount of hands-on time with their children. Stay at home moms are just physically available more.

Lori on

Some Mothers work because they have to…What I wouldn’t give to be able to stay home with my children. I feel the guilt not that I am away from them, but that I HAVE to be away from them because if I am not we will not survive, College degrees and all…How about arguing that side of the coin. OR have some of the moms on here forgotten that only approximately 1/100th of the families with two parents in this country can Afford to have only one parent working. Self indulgent arguments are what these are. You people are arguing to hear yourselves argue, who are you trying to convince anyway? Congrats To Mira on being able to juggle her life in a way she is proud of.

Jacqui on

I appreciate the discussion about working vs full-time mothers, but I think time frame is a key point being largely overlooked.

I think it’s great to be a working mom, but to go back to work when your child is six weeks old (if you don’t have to) is questionable to me. Do you really think your tiny infant is better off with someone else? Only if you’re a really bad mom.

I believe in going back to work, living the dreams you have outside of having a family, and maintaining your identity. But every relationship involves sacrifice and compromise. So maybe you put those individual pursuits on hold for a couple of years or so, focus on someone besides yourself.

All of this is aimed at moms who have a choice as to work or not, by the way.

klm on

Staying at home full-time with kids is the HARDEST, MOST DIFFICULT, MOST CHALLENGING of any job. Period. Women would have been dropping their kids off for someone else to deal with many, many years ago if they had had the equal rights, job opportunities, and it had been socially acceptable.

Let’s face it: Most people take the easy way out. It’s human nature. And there is nothing in the world more challenging than figuring out what to do with small children, keeping them entertained, engaged, clothed and fed, dealing with crying, whining, trying to figure out what the hell they’re talking about, what they want, what they need, what’s good for them. . . . Of course you’re running off to your job! Of course!

Ashley on

Going back to work when your child is still young does NOT make you a bad mother, Jacqui. How very ignorant of you! You don’t know me so to assume that not taking a few years off after the birth of my child makes me selfish is quite idiotic. It’s as if your saying that mothers who don’t parent the way you’ve chosen to are “wrong” or “bad”. I hate to be your friend.

My children will always be my number one priority but I enjoy my job and that’s no something many people can say. I completely understand and appreciate the work of SAHMs but to say I chose to be a working mother because I wanted to take the easy way out is absurd. I do what’s best for my family and while you may think that means me staying at home, I disagree. You do what’s best for your family and I do what’s best for mine. There’s no universal “right” way to parent a child so I suggest you stop claiming that there is.

klm on

Ashley, you may have a point, but it got lost in your anger, defensiveness, and insults.


Totally agree with klm !

Ashley on

Well, KLM, when someone makes ignorant assumptions without knowing every mother on the planet, I will get defensive.

グッチ財布コピー on

ルイヴィトン – N級バッグ、財布 専門サイト問屋
価格、品質、自信のある商品を取り揃えておりま すので、
高級腕時計(N級品),スーパーコピー時計(N級品),財布(N級品)バッグ(N級品),靴(N品),指輪(N級品),ベルト(N級品),マフラー (N級品)

★顧客は至上 誠実 信用。