Angelina Jolie has always made it look so easy being the mom to six kids. She’s always seen taking them shopping or on fun outings. But she wasn’t always sure she was cut out for motherhood. As a guest-editor with Time magazine, Angelina opened up about parenthood, and how natural it felt to dedicate herself to her children once she finally decided to become a mom. In an essay for Time’s Parents Newsletter on Apr. 24, she addressed the coronavirus lockdown, writing “Dear Parents, I am thinking of you. I am imagining how hard each of you is trying to get through your days. How much you want to lead your loved ones through this. How you worry. How you plan. How you smile for them, when inside you feel at times you are breaking.”
The 44-year-old Oscar winner continued, “I was not a very stable youth. In fact, I never thought I could be anyone’s mom,” she explained. “I remember the decision to become a parent. It wasn’t hard to love. It wasn’t hard to dedicate myself to someone and something greater than my life.” Angelina adopted her first child, son Maddox, at seven-months old from a Cambodian orphanage in 2002. He’s now an 18-year-old college student.
“What was hard was knowing that from now on I needed to be the one to make sure everything was okay. To manage it and make it work. From food to school to medical. Whatever would come. And to be patient,” she continued. “I realized I stopped my constant daydreaming, instead staying always ready for any break into what I was doing or thinking to answer a need. It was a new skill to acquire.”
Angelina later adopted daughter Zahara — now 15 — from Ethiopia in 2005, although by then she began dating longtime parter and future husband Brad Pitt, 56. The pair went on to have three biological children, daughter Shiloh, 13, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 11. Angelina added adopted son Pax, now 16, to her brood in 2007 from a Vietnam orphanage when he was three. Brad and Angie later split up in 2016 and while the children live primarily with their U.N. humanitarian mom, they get plenty of visitation time with their dad.
Angelina told fellow parents, “So now, in the midst of this pandemic, I think of all the mothers and fathers with children at home. All hoping they can do everything right, answer all needs, and stay calm and positive. One thing that has helped me is to know that’s impossible,” she confessed.
“It is a lovely thing to discover that your children don’t want you perfect. They just want you honest. And doing your best,” Angelina revealed. “In fact, the more room they have to be great where you are weak, the stronger they may become. They love you. They want to help you.” The Maleficent star added, “So in the end, it’s the team you build. And in a way, they are raising you up too. You grow together.”