Angelina Jolie Reflects on Her Decision to Become a Parent: 'I Never Thought I Could Be Anyone's Mom'
"It is a lovely thing to discover that your children don’t want you perfect," the actress and mother of six wrote
Angelina Jolie is opening up about what it takes to be a parent.
The Oscar-winning actress, 44, got candid about being mother in a special edition of Time's Parents newsletter as its contributing editor. In an open letter addressed to parents as a part of her guest-editing stint for the publication, Jolie — who is mom to Maddox, 18, Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 13, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 11 — shared that she wasn't always so confident in her skills as a guardian and a caretaker.
"I was not a very stable youth. In fact, I never thought I could be anyone’s mom," she wrote. "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."
"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."
Working from her home, along with her six children being homeschooled, Jolie went on to empathize with "all the mothers and fathers with children at home" amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis, who are presumably "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 shared as her piece of advice to parents.
"It is a lovely thing to discover that your children don’t want you perfect. They just want you honest. And doing your best," she explained. "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 One and Only Ivan and The Eternals 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."
Amid the global pandemic, Jolie has stayed active with several humanitarian causes — particularly those helping children, who may not be as susceptible to the virus, but are left vulnerable through the side-effects of the pandemic.
In recent months, Jolie wrote essays for Time and donated money to help with food insecurity, as well as shed light on kids who find themselves stuck in homes that may not be safe.
“Isolating a victim from family and friends is a well-known tactic of control by abusers, meaning that the social distancing that is necessary to stop COVID-19 is one that will inadvertently fuel a direct rise in trauma and suffering for vulnerable children,” she wrote in one op-ed, urging people to “make a point of calling family or friends, particularly where we might have concerns that someone is vulnerable.”
“It is often said that it takes a village to raise a child,” she wrote. “It will take an effort by the whole of our country to give children the protection and care they deserve."
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In March, Jolie donated $1 million to No Kid Hungry, an organization distributing meals to children who relies on school lunches.
“As of this week, over a billion children are out of school worldwide because of closures linked to coronavirus,” she said in a statement at the time. “Many children depend on the care and nutrition they receive during school hours, including nearly 22 million children in America who rely on food support. No Kid Hungry is making resolute efforts to reach as many of those children as possible.”
Jolie also made a donation to the UN Refugee Agency and sent support to the schools she funds in Afghanistan, Cambodia, Kenya and Namibia to help ensure they can continue teaching and learning through the pandemic.
On a worldwide scale, Jolie is working with UNESCO on the establishment of a Global Education Coalition to help children access distance learning during the period of school closures.
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