She’s an icon and an Oscar winner, but Susan Sarandon is also a mother—a role that she seems to value above all else. That’s why Sarandon is baffled to look back on the advice someone gave her 30-some years ago: Don’t have a baby. Motherhood will ruin your career. (Spoiler: It didn’t.)

In a recent interview with Good Housekeeping, Sarandon recalled when a fellow mom warned her that becoming a parent would deflate her stock in Hollywood.

“I think it was ‘Don’t have the baby,’ as though it would ruin my career, and I was so old anyway,” said Sarandon, 71, whose oldest child is now 32.

History has shown just how bad that bit of advice was—ever heard of Thelma & Louise—which came out when Sarandon was a mother of two? But that didn’t stop people from repeating it to Sarandon through the years.

“I had my first baby at 39 and my third at 45, and with each child, [people were] like, ‘Are you crazy? Don’t!’”

The mother of three has been proving the naysayers wrong for decades, enjoying the role of mom without sacrificing her acting career.

While that isn’t to say maintaining a career and navigating parenthood is an easy task (who knows what kind of day that other mom was having when she shared the advice?) it certainly is possible. In fact, experts say the skills we pick up as parents can actually help, not hinder, our careers. And studies show that children of working moms benefit in many ways.

Bottom line: No one “has it all,” but we can have the lives we want.

For Sarandon, building the life she wanted meant not buying into the idea of perfection. As she says, that “requires too much energy, so I gave it up a while ago.”

These days, Sarandon’s imperfect life includes two grandchildren, who call her “Honey” instead of “Grandma.” The rest of us can just call her an inspiration.