September 26, 2011 04:00 PM

Courtesy More

Naomi Watts always knew she wanted to be a mother. What she didn’t realize, however, is that it would come much later in life than she had anticipated.

“I had a lot I wanted to do when I was younger, and perhaps I wouldn’t have been as focused,” the actress tells More‘s October issue. “I got a lot out of the way in terms of my own dreams.”

According to Watts, waiting to welcome sons Sasha, 4, and Kai, 2½ — her children with actor Liev Schreiber — in her late 30s proved to be for the better.

“You grow up and hopefully become more self-aware. I think I’m a better parent,” she says.

Equally as dedicated to the boys is Schreiber, who tends to focus on the fun side of fatherhood.

“Liev’s moments with the children are amazing. The games just go on and on,” Watts shares. “I’ve always said that men are great in the moment, but not good in the planning, like, ‘Is there milk in the fridge?’ and ‘Do we have diapers?'”

Having grown up without her own father, Watts’ childhood memories resonate in her dreams of her family’s future.

“Not knowing my father always made me feel like a piece of me was missing or unknown,” she reveals.

“I want [my sons] to feel connected to me and me to them. I want them, above all, to feel sure of who they are. That they are safe in the world. And, of course, connected. To their parents, their friends, their family, the world and themselves.”

Watts adds, “This is the most important goal in my life. Everything else is gravy.”

— Anya Leon

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