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Talking Motherhood: Experiences & Challenges

Calling in from her Utah home on January 27th, Katherine joined a teleconference with a group of moms representing various blogs relating to parenting and children, to answer questions about her own experiences and challenges as a new mom.

The call was chaired by Bridget Nielsen a writer for ModernMom and also a blogger for the Huffington Post, who introduced all of the mothers' questions and managed the chat.

Bridget Nielsen: The first question comes from Marissa from Review Stew and her question is, "How did being a mother in real life help you in your role in Life As We Know It?"

Katherine Heigl: It was actually such a fascinating time in my life because I had just become a mother and I was more - hopefully, a little more prepared than Holly was, but there are things about motherhood that you just don't know until you're in it. You try to get everything ready and it all becomes about the nursery, the car seat, the proper stroller, the right food and all of this stuff and then suddenly you're sort of thrown into it and Naleigh came to us about two months sooner than we were expecting.

So we were really just kind of thrown right into the fire and when I watch the movie now I think it kind of hurt me because I was so distracted by being a new mom that there are moments in my performance where I feel like, "Ugh, I could have done that better" or that should have been more powerful or something, because my mind was always on my kid and I always wanted to be with her. That was just such a strange, weird time in my life because I was working on this movie I was so passionate about and so excited about, but I was longing to be at home with my kid getting to know her better.

But I think it helped - it certainly helps the frazzled-ness of Holly's character. I agree with that.

Bridget Nielsen: Amy from Progressive Pioneer, her question - which I love - is "Being in the public eye so much and feeling like people know so much about you, how do you maintain your real self, the self that's really you and not just what other people expect you to be?"

Katherine Heigl: Well, my problem is I actually have too much of me most of the time. I'm trying to actually learn the exact opposite of that. It sounds like one of those backwards compliments where I'm too forthright and too honest but I kind of am. I don't censor myself well, I just sort of tell everybody everything I'm thinking or feeling - who I am pretty much. What you get is me, I am very much just myself. The problem with that is I think sometimes my ideas or my opinions or my trying to work things out in my own mind - I tend to work it out verbally within interviews.

I think it can sometimes confuse people or maybe offend people. I almost need to learn how to be a little bit more private to keep a little bit more of myself under wraps, but I just have a hard time without my family. We've always just been really honest about all the joys, all of the pain, all of the rewards and all the failures and we have just kind of been that way. So, it's hard for me to not tell everybody everything about myself.

Bridget Nielsen: I think that's what makes you lovable. Good answer. The next question is from Jen at Jen's List. She asked, "Is your husband Mr. Mom when you're on the set?"

Katherine Heigl: He's one of the most amazing fathers I've ever run into. I didn't expect him not to be a great dad, but I also didn't expect him expect him to be such an excellent father. He is so wonderfully involved. Initially, of course, if I was leaving or needed him to kind of step in, "You have diapers, right? You have wipes, right? You know what time she goes down?" It took about a week before I realized this guy's got it way better under control than I do. He's just so great and so involved and he works as well as a musician and has a really exciting career that he's really passionate about.

I wish we could do that whole, when I'm working, you're not working, alternating thing but we're both sort of at a place in our careers where we want to keep the momentum going. You cant always step out of what you're into, just to be with me and Naleigh and vice-versa. I cant always control when films are going to come up, he might be on tour and I could have a big movie that I really want to do.

So it's a constant balancing act and I was recently talking to a friend about the idea that as women we can have it all. You know, they will say that to us "Oh, you can have it all. You can have a career. You can have a family. You can have a love life." You can, it's just it doesn't always feel the way you want it too and lots of times my husband and I don't get to spend a lot of time together as a family, like a traditional family does, and those are the compromises we made to have careers that are always sort of in flux and schedules that are crazy and all of those things. You're at work and you're longing to be with your family or with your family and you're going, "Gee, I wonder what it's like on set today?"

So, it's that perpetual balance. He tries really hard to at least come in for weekends when we're on location and tries to schedule tours and radio dates and stuff around little blocks of time that we can be together. It's hard. It's hard. I wish he could be Mr. Mom.

Bridget Nielsen: Well, that's great, though. I'm very happy for you. It's always great to have a great dad.

Katherine Heigl: Yes. Great dad.

Bridget Nielsen: So, the next question comes from Melissa. She is from Sippy Cup Mom. The mom blogs all have amazing names.

Katherine Heigl: All of these blogs I'm really excited about. I didn't even know they were there - I'm not very good with Google searching. So, I'm really excited now I have this list of blogs I can go to. It's so great to have advice. It is sometimes so hard to just find silly things out, you know?

Bridget Nielsen: Yes. It's great to have the resources as a mom.

Katherine Heigl: Yes. Totally.

Bridget Nielsen: So, her question is, "Have you or are you going to introduce any Korean customs and celebrations, you know, in honor of your new daughter?"

Katherine Heigl: Yes, it's funny because we've just recently been talking about this. She's a little over two now and we're kind of going, well, what's a good way to give her the option at least to explore her culture without making her feel like she has to if she doesn't want to. We're talking maybe like it would be kind of interesting having fun together in Korean language classes, as I'm not sure about my children being able to speak languages I can't, because what if they're saying horrible things to you and you don't know.

We also ran into a family here in Utah who are Korean and they were celebrating - I can't quite remember the name - but it was a custom to celebrate the first birthday of the child with this big sort of hoopla kind of Korean celebration. I thought, "Well, we didn't do that because we didn't know", so it might be interesting to try to incorporate some of that into her life. My sister is Korean so I think it would be fun for her as well, to maybe get to explore some of these things and make them a part of our traditions too.

Bridget Nielsen: That's great.

Katherine Heigl: Well, I'll say I don't know how - if we'll nail it or not.

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