Renée Elise Goldsberry on Parenthood: ‘My Greatest Wish for My Children Is That They Fulfill Their Purpose’
Renée Elise Goldsberry may star as Angelica Schuyler Church in the biggest musical on Broadway right now — for which she was recently nominated for a Tony Award — but perhaps her most important job? Being mom to son Benjamin, who turns 7 this month, and 3-year-old daughter Brielle with attorney husband Alexis Johnson.
Goldsberry, 45, sat down with PEOPLE to talk about what being a parent means to her, as well as her greatest wish for her children.
“My greatest wish for my children is that they fulfill their purpose,” said Goldsberry, who was also among the group of people who won a Grammy for the Hamilton soundtrack. “I know that all children, and in particular mine, are here for a reason.”
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And while she is thankful for the way her life turned out, Goldsberry knows the rewards of parenting don’t come without their obstacles — and her case was no exception.
“My path to motherhood was challenging, to say the least, and I always feel like I’m living a Sliding Doors version of my life,” she shares with PEOPLE, saying that she believes her children “getting here means they’re supposed to be here” before adding with a laugh, “I feel like my job is not to screw them up!”
Goldsberry, whose impressive Broadway credentials aside from Hamilton include runs as Nala in The Lion King, Mimi in Rent, and Nettie in The Color Purple, added that if she could do anything different about parenting, it would be to basically make two of herself — something many other parents can likely relate to.
“I wish, mainly, that I could have a job and work all the time and also not have to leave my kids,” she says. “If there was a way to clone myself, and be at every parent-teacher meeting and be there to put my kids to bed every single night, and also star on Broadway, that’s what I would do.”
“My kids make me laugh every single day — especially when they’re their most precocious,” Goldsberry tells PEOPLE, laughing. “My son said to me the other day, ‘Why are you so dramatic?’ And I just thought, ‘Really? You know that word? And also, you’ve already noticed how dramatic I am?’ That just really made me laugh.”
One of the biggest challenges Goldsberry is running into? Finding patience.
“I don’t not being good at things, and so I have to be patient about the amount of time it takes for children to learn to do things,” she admits. “I have to learn how to let a 3-year-old try to tie her shoes even if it’s going to make us 10 minutes late.”
Goldsberry also shares an anecdote about a recent time she picked Benjamin up from school, and how thankful he was for it. She adds that the emotions it stirred in both herself and her son put into perspective just how difficult it can be to juggle work and parenting.
“Sometimes you’re not there, and I think it’s OK,” she says. “I have working parents tell me all the time that my children still love me!”
— Jen Juneau