Rose Byrne and Susan Sarandon Talk Being Meddling Moms
"I meddle in their lives and they meddle right back," Sarandon said of her children after a screening of her new film The Meddler
Rose Byrne and Susan Sarandon are at the opposite ends of motherhood — Byrne gave birth to her son Rocco Robin less than three months ago, and Sarandon is awaiting the birth of her second grandchild, who’s due in the fall.
But one thing The Meddler’s stars have in common is a lack of interfering parents.
“I wasn’t meddled. I am the oldest of nine so my mom was not delivering bagels to my door at any hour of the day,” Sarandon said during a Q&A following a screening of the movie hosted by The MOMS on Monday.
Byrne’s parents are similar.
“My parents aren’t overbearing at all, they’re very Australian in that sense,” she said. “They’re very low-key and when they actually do meddle, it’s a big deal because they rarely do it, so it’s more powerful in that way — when they do speak up about something they feel strongly about it.”
And the new mom isn’t quite ready to become a meddling mom just yet.
“I feel just sleep deprived, and still in the tunnel,” Byrne, 36, revealed. “[Motherhood] has been a challenge, the first three months. It’s intense. My brain’s really fried.”
Sarandon, however, has no shame saying she’s a bit of a meddler when it comes to her children, daughter Eva Amurri Martino and sons Miles and Jack Henry Robbins.
“I meddle in their lives and they meddle back. It’s an equal meddling dynamic,” the actress, 69, revealed. “I tell my kids, ‘It’s my job to embarrass you occasionally — just live with it.'”
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Anyways, she says, her children have benefited from her involvement.
“I think it’s better to overstep, in a way, than to not be present,” Sarandon said. “I was the mom that always called when there were sleepovers to make sure the other moms knew there were sleepovers.”
She continued: “My kids would be furious but then would say, ‘Oh, Marissa’s mom never knows anything that’s going on with her.’ So they knew, even though they complained about it, they knew it came from a place of love and concern, and as aggravating as it was, they knew it was well-intentioned and they appreciated I think ultimately. They could translate that even then. Didn’t mean they liked it.”
As her children got older, Sarandon was faced with the challenge of getting them to open up to her.
“I just started, at a certain point, telling them all the mistakes I had made so they would feel they could tell me,” she shared. “And I encourage them to make mistakes — I say that’s the best way to find out who you are and what you’re about.”
Of course, being that honest led to some tough conversations.
“I remember being in the car at one point and my youngest saying, ‘So, did you do crack then?’ I was like, ‘No, I don’t even think they had crack when I was doing drugs, but I did do them and they’re all illegal and some of them are really fun and some of them can kill you the first time,’ ” Sarandon said. “We would really have serious discussions about this stuff when they were younger because it’s there and you have to do it.”
Sarandon also made sure her sons knew to respect women from a young age.
“I started talking to my boys really early on — when the 11-year-old girls started to do things that they really shouldn’t have been doing — and explaining the double standard and saying, ‘You’re responsible for that girl if she’s gonna give you a blowjob,’ ” she recalled. ” ‘You have to understand, that girl’s reputation is now gone, but you’re a player.’ ”
She added: “I tried to make them respectful of women early on, of girls early on. You’re trying to fight for their respect for women early early on.”
— Maggie Parker