Honest Quotes About Motherhood From Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek has many thoughts about the often indescribable experience of being a parent.

The actor and her husband, François-Henri Pinault, welcomed their daughter, Valentina, in 2007. Since becoming a mother, she has opened up about her parenting journey in several interviews.

In honor of her birthday, here are 13 quotes about motherhood from Hayek.

On Becoming A Mom At 41

“I think I’m a better mother because I had her later. But I do get tired. I’m not going to lie.”

On Pregnancy Issues

“I got gestational diabetes, which I didn’t realize at first. It occurs in women who have high blood sugar levels during pregnancy. I didn’t know whether I was feeling bad because I was pregnant or whether something was seriously wrong. I was nauseated for nine months, which can be one of the symptoms. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t eat so much fruit at the beginning. I didn’t know that eating fruit that is high in sugar is not recommended when you have gestational diabetes. But you know what? At least I had fruit. In a lot of countries, they don’t have these kinds of choices.”

On Her Life As A Parent

“I love being a wife and homemaker ― because it’s my choice. My friends who don’t have children say it’s impossible to get together with me because I don’t want to talk about anything else except motherhood. But being a mother is more exhausting than working, and sometimes I push myself too hard and burn myself out. I can appreciate how exhausting it must be for women who have to do everything themselves all the time.”

On Being Present

“I try to be with Valentina as much as possible, even when I’m working. She was with me on the cover shoot and she felt like a participant ― she wasn’t just sitting there on the iPad. This is so important. You have to drag children into participating in life. It takes a lot of work and mummies are very tired because most of us work and life is exhausting, especially if you are an older mom like me, but you have to make the effort. And if you have a smart child, it’s harder. Now it’s so easy to just entertain them (with a screen), and you don’t have to go through the complaining for an hour about dragging them places. Drag them, and make them a part of your life. It’s about the human connection, and the things they can learn from participating in life. Otherwise, isolation starts to happen.”

On Her Daughter’s Different Upbringing

“I don’t say the sort of things to Valentina that my mom said to me because her life is different. [She’s] growing up in different circumstances. What my mom taught me was very important to me, but I don’t pass that on to my daughter because she needs the opposite.”

On The Early Days Of Motherhood

“Pregnancy is all a blur now. But I remember the advice that my aunt gave me ― my aunt who never had any babies. She spent some time with us when Valentina was not even 1 month old, and she said to me, ‘Put her to sleep yourself every night. Sing to her and cradle her in your arms and sit by her side ― every night. Because one day, you won’t be able to carry her anymore, and it’s going to happen really fast.’”

On Perspective

“I was ignorant when I was pregnant, and that was a weird sensation, not knowing what was good for my body and what was bad. … People are giving birth in Third World countries and performing rituals that have been passed down to them, such as sealing the umbilical cord with dirt ― but tetanus enters the area, and both the mother and baby die soon after. So anything that I could complain about in my own pregnancy seems silly. I have a beautiful, healthy baby, and it just makes me more aware of the threats that mothers and babies in other countries face.”

On Her Daughter

“Valentina and I are not very similar personality-wise. But she doesn’t have stage fright on camera. In my family, everyone is very confident, graceful and light. Valentina and I are the ones who panic on stage. But she gets in front of the camera with no problem!”

On Marriage And Motherhood

“Sometimes the hardest things to balance is motherhood with marriage. They take over, oh my God, they take over everything. You just have to remind yourself that you have that other big kid too to look after. He looks like he’s self-sufficient, but they need the tender loving care too. You have to keep reminding yourself.”

On Taking Care Of A Living Being

“Every woman has a maternal instinct inside and I think that it’s important that all humans try to have that experience and apply that maternal instinct to some living creature. You don’t have to have children, but be responsible and take care of animals or a plant. Take care of another being. Feeling responsible helps you develop as a human being. It doesn’t have to be a sacrifice but an intention that you give of yourself, and contribute to another living being’s life. That’s very rewarding. You learn a lot about yourself when you do something for someone else.”

On Her Yearning To Have Children

“I had a child late in life. In ‘Tale Of Tales,’ I identified with my character’s desperate desire to have a child, and maybe feeling that you could never be happy or complete, that your life is not complete, without this. I’ve had that yearning, that longing, and that pain. … I always wanted to have a lot of children, and I was not able to. My body, as a miracle, had one. The huge blessing I’ve had is that my husband has three other children. So I have four. And they are all so different.”

On Work-Life Balance

“When it comes to my career, what I do is I only do roles that are shot in a way that I’m never more than two weeks away from my family.”

On The Power Of Parenthood

“People always say about having a child, ‘You’ve never loved anyone so much. It’s like nothing you’ve ever felt. You’ll love her so much, you won’t be able to sleep.’ My reaction was analytical; I was like, ‘Okay, yes, I understand that.’ But unless you experience it, you cannot understand what they’re talking about. I thought I understood. But I didn’t. It’s a kind of love that’s just unique to this experience!”