Jennifer Lawrence And Viola Davis Get Candid About The Challenges Of Parenthood

Actors Jennifer Lawrence and Viola Davis shared their experiences as parents, and those times motherhood has proved stressful and daunting.

For all the books and manuals one can read on motherhood, nothing prepares you for the experience itself. Leaving the hospital with a newborn suddenly feels like a heist scene in a movie: surely we need supervision to do this? Not surprisingly, new motherhood can feel like an overwhelming experience. Not only are you often navigating changes to your own body, but there are now monumental changes to your daily life as a parent: finding a routine for your newborn, learning about their needs and unique personality, discovering the world through their eyes. It’s a joyful time, but as any parent can attest, also one of high stress. 

For Jennifer Lawrence and Viola Davis, no accolade earned for their acting comes close to the sense of achievement they feel as a mum. Speaking together for Variety’s “Actors on Actors” series, the two esteemed performers opened up about their experiences as parents and the challenges they’ve encountered along the way. After discussing her emotional new film, Causeway, which premiered on September 10, Lawrence then opened up about her decision to start a family, telling Davis that she was “so scared that I would f*ck it up.”

“Every day of being a mum, I feel awful. I feel guilty,” Lawrence told Davis. “I’m playing with [my son] and I’m like, ‘Is this what he wants to be doing? Should we be outside? We’re outside. What if he’s cold? What if he’s going to get sick? Should we be inside? Is this enough? Is this developing your brain enough?”

Davis then detailed her own struggles as a parent, telling Lawrence about the time she accidentally locked her 12-year-old daughter Genesis in her car. “I had 50 million things on my plate,” said Davis. “My daughter was in the back. She’s happy and I’m just so stressed out going to Target…I walk out of the car, shut the door, and realise I don’t have my keys. I threw myself on concrete, Jennifer. I screamed. You would think I was in a Greek tragedy.”

Davis continued: “‘My baby! Jesus!’ And then I saw these two men. I grabbed their necks and said, ‘My baby is in the car! My baby!’ And then what do I have in my hand? My phone. So the two men whose necks I’ve grabbed, they said, ‘Ma’am, you just have to call 911.’ And I said, ‘Oh, OK.’ So I called 911, and I proceeded to scream at the operator. Every expletive you can imagine came out of my mouth. They took her out of the car. And the reason why I’m telling you this story is it literally was seconds.”

Lawrence, who welcomed her son Cy with husband Cooke Maroney back in April, also revealed she once drove around with Cy when his seat was unbuckled. “He was just teetering around, just flying. OK, great! Good to know that we almost killed our kids,” the actor joked. 

In such a candid conversation, the two actors expressed the joys of motherhood but also gave light to its challenges and struggles – aspects that, at times, are often ignored or brushed aside in conversation. It’s a powerful reminder that some days parenting is extremely hard and occasionally mistakes will be made. But there is no such thing as perfection and when it comes to parenthood, it’s an impossible standard to expect that from yourself. So, grant yourself the grace to know you’re doing the best you can and as Davis and Lawrence suggest, where there is love, the rest all falls into place. 

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