We’ve watched Reese Witherspoon’s Big Little Lies character go to great lengths to hide the truth, but in real life the mother of three is way more honest than her fictional character.
She proved as much when she took to Youtube to share her real thoughts on parenting, when the right time to have children might be, and the most important thing all parents need to succeed.
“I’ve been a mom since 1999,” the actress and producer reminded us in a video for Hello Sunshine, her lifestyle brand. “I got pregnant when I was 22. I delivered when I was 23. To be totally honest, it was scary. I was scared. I didn’t know what it was going to do to my job or my career.”
She went on to describe the complete loss of independence and shift in her thinking she underwent when daughter Ava (now 20) was born.
“You don’t think about whether you’re cold or hot, you think about your kid and whether they’re cold or hot,” she said.
Witherspoon got a little more controversial when she discussed her age and parenting.
“I find having little kids is more physical, and it’s just really hard on your body, so I am glad that I had kids kind of young,” she said. Witherspoon had her second child, son Deacon, at 27, and her third, son Tennessee, at 37.
“And, oh, my God, having a baby at 37 was so much harder,” she said. “This is just me being real. Everybody’s life experience, you have to do when it’s right for you.”
Witherspoon took a moment to give a shout out to all the people out there who choose not to be parents too.
“I love it when people make that decision because they’re being so honest,” she said.
Witherspoon also revealed some of the challenges she faced as a young mother, even one who was already world-famous and successful. She was new to Los Angeles, and her mother lived far away.
“I joined a yoga group of women—literally just randomly found it on the internet, and they have been some of my greatest supporters,” she said. “They would tell me what preschools to look at. They would tell me when I needed to get vaccinations, and they would tell me just everything. To this day, I’ll say to them, ‘Hold on, when are the kids supposed to be applying for college?’ “
As much as having money and stability helps with raising kids, Witherspoon says she couldn’t have done anything without a support system like her mom friends.
Still, despite all the advice people tend to share about when and how to have children, she thinks parents can throw all the rules and doubts out the window if they’re really determined.
“If you want to be a mom and that’s important to you, you should have every right to do that,” she said. “Don’t put it off because of all the things that seem like a barrier. You’re going to figure it out. I figured it out…Your mother figured it out. Your grandma figured it out. There’s incredible resources you can use to help figure it out.”
Here’s to figuring it out as we go along, mama—and embracing that special title whenever, wherever, however it comes your way.