Felicity Huffman is still in awe. She was honored to get an Oscar nomination and Golden Globe for her lead in Transamerica and an Emmy for her role as Lynette on ABC's Desperate Housewives. But once at home, Felicity doesn't think about those accolades because she's busy managing her family life with actor husband William H. Macy and their daughters, Sophia, 6, and Georgia, 4. Huffman says she loves being a mother, though not every minute of the day -- and we love her all the more for admitting that. Here, she talks about some of the highs and lows.
When I auditioned for the part of Lynette, it was 6 p.m. I'd left Sophia and Georgia, who were 3 and 2 at the time, screaming in the bath because they wanted me, not my husband, to put them to bed. It was pouring rain, and I was late -- walking into the audition room, tired, cranky, and more than a little disheveled. Not only could I relate to Lynette, I was her.
Motherhood can be really difficult, baffling, exhausting, relentless, and so many other adjectives that I could go on all day. Lynette is drowning in the difficulties of raising children, being a wife, and working, and that struggle is valid. Marc Cherry, the show's creator, has given a voice to those women like myself who felt they had to hide or at least mute what their day-to-day experience as a mom was like.
My favorite time of the baby stage was nursing. I loved the quiet. I loved that I wasn't trying to multitask. It was peaceful and bonding. And the perk of burning calories didn't hurt either.
The best thing about being a mother, aside from the naps -- both yours and the children's -- is the love...the love I feel from my children, the love I feel for them. They force you to look at yourself in much the same way that marriage forces you to look at yourself, but kids make you do it at Mach 5. You are catapulted into facing your own shortcomings and fears. You are forced to stretch far beyond your comfort zone or what you even thought possible.
The guilt and the feeling that I move from one mistake to the next.
If you can, live close to family or close friends who have newborns too. That way you can get some help or at least have some company. It really does take a village. Also, I know as a new mother, I lost sight of the fact that this time is finite. It will end, and it gets easier.
Jill Daniel is a writer in Los Angeles.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, November 2006.
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