Drew Barrymore on Being ‘So Happy Now’: I Have a ‘Good Thing in My Life with My Kids’

04/25/2016 at 11:55 AM ET

Only weeks after announcing her divorce from husband Will Kopelman, Drew Barrymore can still draw upon her sense of family to lift her up.

All of her life lessons, she says, can be applied to her most important role: motherhood.

“I just feel like my whole life was collecting things in a butterfly net of experience,” she told reporters Sunday while attending Safe Kids Day 2016 at Smashbox Studios. “What to do, what not to do, how to live, how not to live, how to be free, happy. Just gaining every bit of wisdom that I could, all for that because I cannot remember life before kids. It seems like a dream.”

A dream that she is happily living each day with daughters Frankie, 2, and Olive, 3, and one that is buoyed by the voices of other women that share her experience.

“I was saying this quote that a women said at a conference that I was at the other day,” the actress tells PEOPLE. “She said, ‘I can’t wait to go to work, and I can’t wait to get home.’ And I thought, that sums up a great womanhood to me.”

Drew Barrymore Safe Kids Day Event
Todd Williamson/Getty

The 41-year-old mother of two is sporting some new ink on her right wrist, a tattoo of her daughters’ names, which she recently debuted on Instagram.

“I had been wanting to do it, and then, one day, we were on our way to an appointment and I was like, ‘Can we just quickly stop at this tattoo shop?!’ ” she says with a laugh. “I walked in and I was like, ‘Who is available to do a tattoo … quickly. Like, right now?’ And this guy came up and was like, ‘Yeah, I can.’ And so I was like, ‘I am going to write this down on a piece of paper, and then can you just transfer it onto my arm?’ So, it’s my handwriting.”

Storybook enough for an actress whose career has spanned over three decades, for a woman who always doubted that she would ever find this level of happiness, who, even to this day would not know what to tell a younger version of herself. Not that it would have mattered, she says.

“I wouldn’t have listened, so I wouldn’t even bother,” she says, laughing. “But everyone wishes that they could know what they know now in a romantic and poetic way because I am so happy now and I have such a good thing in my life with my kids. So there is always that want to go into that 12-year-old’s room and say, ‘It’s going to be alright. It’s actually going to be great!’ ”

And then she adds, with a knowing smile, “Maybe I would have listened to that.”

— Reagan Alexander

FILED UNDER: Drew Barrymore , News , Parenting

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Showing 8 comments

Kathy on

Sorry Drew. Not buying what you’re selling. I really think you could have worked harder at your 3rd marriage.

Poppy on

Barf. I ain’t buying what you’re so desperately trying to (spin) sell.

Megan on

She sounds irresponsible. You don’t just run into a tattoo shop & ask “who can do this tattoo right now ?” You do your research, make sure they have good health & safety practices in place, discuss the sketch with one of the tattoo artists, etc. And who was in the car when she said “can we stop” ? Did she just drag her kids into the shop & insist “Mommy is getting a tattoo. Sit & be good until it’s over”

Katie on

Soooooo…..what you’re saying is that you picked a guy to have some kids with, and when you were done, you were done with him as well since having kids was all that mattered?? As dumb as you have sounded at times, that just takes the cake! Your children should have been the result of the love you have for each other, and hopefully, the wonder and joy of having a family after a life of such upheaval. You have done your children no favors, and while children are a wonderful blessing and joy, they are not the only relationship worth having. 3 marriages in the toilet and the last with 2 children losing the joy of growing up with their loving dad there every day? Sorry…why didn’t you just get an anonymous sperm donor, and not dump him like leftover yoghurt?! Ugh…..

angela on

She is a very honest and down to earth woman, good for her.

Anonymous on

It’s good to see her happy, as long as she is happy, that’s most important in life.

James Williams on

Poppy u look like barf and nobody is buying what u are selling tell the truth u are a fucking whore.

Anonymous on

Her eyebrows need some work in that photo.

She’s a celebrity. Divorce doesn’t affect her to the same extent as it would a normal woman. She’s financially stable to be on her own. She doesn’t need her man. It’s easy for celebs to go through marriages when they’ve got a consistent flow of money keeping them afloat. She seems like she’s not cut out for marriage. She’s too “hippie” like with her outlook on relationship and life, it seems. The fact that she couldn’t make a third marriage work should really indicate to herself that maybe she should’t rely on marriage to make her happy. Some people just aren’t cut out for the commitment thing.