Wednesday 20 September 2017

Actress Gillian Anderson on motherhood: 'I see other mothers who seem to find it less of a struggle'

US actress Gillian Anderson at the Lawrence Olivier Awards for theatre at the Royal Opera House in central London on April 12, 2015. Photo:JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images
US actress Gillian Anderson at the Lawrence Olivier Awards for theatre at the Royal Opera House in central London on April 12, 2015. Photo:JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images

Geraldine Gittens

The Fall actress Gillian Anderson is gaining a loyal following since she published her self-help book "We: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere" earlier this year.

The former X Files star (48) penned the book with journalist Jennifer Nadel, and gives an honest account of her experience of motherhood, and her battle with depression, along with tips on how women can live more meaningful lives.

Chapter Two, entitled "Gentleness", is a breath of fresh air in a social media-driven world, where contrived, happy photographs often hide the chaotic, not-so-perfect reality.  

Anderson admits that she finds parenting "hard".

"I love my children more than anything in the world. They are the most important part of my life and when I'm with them I am happiest – and yet, I find parenting hard."

"I do my very best to carve out as much time to be present and active with them as possible, but I'm not entirely sure that my nerves are built for the noise, the intensity, the constant requirement to be selfless and to remain calm. It takes everything in me not to nag them to quieten down and stop everything childish, which would obviously be devastating for their childhoods!"

"I see other mothers who seem to find it less of a struggle. Perhaps they have grown up in bigger families or have tougher nerve endings. I have worked extremely hard to practise patience and to pause when necessary before reacting, but, on the other hand, I also have to remember to forgive myself."

"So, for instance, even when I do the 'right thing' and get down on the floor to play Lego, my kids can sense that it's not the easiest thing for me."

"I will do it and I will stay there and engage, but somehow it's a struggle, even if I'm pretending it's not, and consequently they can tell."

The actress, who has recently been working on the revival of her cult classic role Scully for The X-Files “event series”, admits that her kids benefit when she doesn't try too hard to be a mother.

"But it has taken me years and years not to feel guilty, to accept that I have limitations in that area and that I really am doing the best that I can. When I accept and forgive my own weaknesses, then I can be lighter in the moment, because I'm not trying too hard to be perfect and in the end, my kids benefit too."

WE: A Manifesto for Women Everywhere is published by Harper Collins.

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