Thandie Newton knows the joys and challenges of raising children.
The “Westworld” actor and her husband, Ol Parker, have two daughters, Ripley and Nico, and a son, Booker. Over the years, she’s opened up about her experiences as a mom ― from birth to breastfeeding to bullies.
In honor of her birthday, here are 11 quotes about motherhood from Newton.
On Raising Daughters
“I want my girls to feel empowered. That’s the most important thing. I think as a mom it’s important to teach your children that they’re extraordinary, powerful beings. Your job is to keep the path clear so there is nothing they can trip up on.”
On Feeling Beautiful As A Mom
“I’ve been different things in different contexts, and I didn’t really feel beautiful until I had my first child. I knew that I was considered People magazine’s Most Whatever, but all that stuff is just how we label different groups.”
On Her Parenting Advice
“Respect your children. Treat them like the person you most admire on earth. I really mean that as a way of life. If you treat your children with respect, then they will learn to respect themselves. I can’t think of a better thing to let your kid out into the world with than self-respect. How your child feels about him or herself will dictate how they allow themselves to be treated by other people.”
On Choosing To Have Home Births
“I had just associated hospital with being ill, and I felt beautiful and healthy and wonderful when I was pregnant, and being at home is the place I felt most relaxed and comfortable. … so for me, it feels normal, but there was a time when everybody had their babies at home and it wasn’t such a big deal.”
On The Cycle Of Life
“It’s amazing how you start again and you relive your childhood. The universe has given me girls because I needed to live that girlhood again in a fresh way.”
On Her Approach To Parenting
″[Teachers] have to earn your respect. In the same way that me, as a parent, I have to earn your respect, every day you wake up on this planet … When they give me shit, that’s their power. I’m like: ‘Give it to me! Give it to me!’ It really annoys them. When they get fucked off with me, I just smile, I go glazed. Because I’m thinking: ‘You’re awesome, and this is precisely what you’re going to need in life. Give it to me!’ Because if you don’t let them do it to you, they question their power.”
On Her Daughters
“They’re not into going to stores and buying dolls. Ripley is not a girlie girl. If I bought her an American Girl doll, the hair would be cut off in a week. I go into her bedroom and find a crew cut left on the floor. Poor Barbie! … Moms shouldn’t force their girls to be too girlie. If they don’t like dolls, then let it go. Let them find their own creative outlets. Maybe they don’t like dolls but love to paint.”
On Her Newborn Son
“I think he thinks he’s got three mummies. He’s got a 13-year-old, a 9-year-old and a *cough cough* 27-year-old.”
“I teach my girls not to give all their power to the thing hurting them. I also want to raise kind girls. You don’t want your kid hating the other person. I remind my girls that mean kids at school might have a hard home life. I’ll say, ‘Maybe they’re not being treated well by their mom.’ That makes kids think.”
On Breastfeeding While Trying To Book ‘Westworld’
“I actually just had my son, Booker ― he was maybe 4 months old ― and the showrunners Jonah Nolan and his wife, Lisa Joy … I was talking to [them] on Skype. And we started our conversation talking about ‘Westworld,’ the show, and it was going on quite a long time, and I could hear my baby out the door, and he wanted to be nursed. You know how it is, ladies, when your kid needs you, everything is firing up. And I said to Jonah, ‘Jonah, I’m so, so sorry, I’m going to have to bring my baby here.’ And I thought: This is going to lose me the job. It’s gonna lose me the job! … My husband brought in the baby and I ended up breastfeeding my kid while talking to Jonah … and then, do you know what happened? Lisa came onto the screen breastfeeding her little baby.”
On Lessons Of Parenthood
“Motherhood has taught me how exquisite human beings are and how tender, fragile and powerful we are.”