Maya Rudolph: ‘I have amazing women in my life who help me raise my kids’

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Maya Rudolph was at The Cut’s How I Get it Done conference (I love that series!) when she was asked how she balances work and family life. Maya has four kids with director Paul Thomas Anderson: son Jack, 7, and daughters Minnie, 5, Lucille, 9, and Pearl, 13. She said she doesn’t balance everything on her own, she has a lot of help in order to be able to work. I really liked the way she explained it.

“There is no such thing,” Rudolph, 46, admitted when asked how she gets it all done at the end of the day. “When I started having kids, I never stopped working. I would take breaks, of course, but I didn’t change my creative life.”

“When I hear that, it reminds me of people saying, ‘How do you do it all?’ or ‘How do you balance?’ And I used to feel really s—y about it because as a working mother, I do the best that I can, and I try to enjoy it… I try to do a good job.”

Rudolph revealed that “I don’t think I’m doing anything fully,” and that “there’s no shame” in asking for help in child-rearing — something she relies on regularly to wrangle her brood.

“Humans were meant to live in villages, and as women, we need help and we need each other,” she said. “I don’t have my mom. I have amazing women in my life who help me raise my kids and that’s a choice I made … I created my own family, basically.”

“We do it together. And my kids are loved and they’re protected, and they’re well taken care of,” Rudolph continued. “And when I can’t be there, someone that loves them is with them, or my dad helps me. We get that s— done.”

“I make sure that it’s the best possible scenario,” Rudolph said of her childcare. “And I [started] feeling less guilty because I’m proud of the family I created in order to raise healthy, incredible people.”

[From People]

That’s really refreshing actually and it’s true. In order to work and raise our kids at the same time we need help. We usually hear the opposite, that celebrities are raising their children alone and that they don’t have nannies. When they do have help it’s rare for them to acknowledge it. Zoe Saldana was probably the most transparent about it. She said “our assistant, our nanny and our housekeeper are raising our children with us.” I remember that Naomi Watts told a funny story about her nanny on Kimmel (that was ages ago!) and before Jennifer Garner learned that it was best not to talk about nannies she revealed her nanny (not that one) had taught her beer pong. It’s not easy to admit that you need help and accept it. I had a nanny for about a year and was quite embarrassed about it. She was great with my kid and we got along well too.

Maybe Maya could hire a better stylist though.


I like her in this pink suit at the Lego Movie premiere.

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50 Responses to “Maya Rudolph: ‘I have amazing women in my life who help me raise my kids’”

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  1. Who ARE these people? says:

    Where’s their father?

    • Mia4s says:

      Ummm, in the photo? Also working? An award-winning auteur film director?

      Using child care is FINE. People need to stop hiding housekeepers and nannies like it’s some shame. Do you pay them well? Treat them well? Do you spend quality time with your kids at every opportunity? Great.

      Hiding domestic workers like something shameful contributes to abuse and devalues what is (largely) feminized labour.

      • Wow says:

        My mother in law is my kids nanny. She goes above and beyond helping us raise our twins. She is an indispensable member of our home. We also have a 3 times a week housekeeper who facilitates our ability to spend all of our free time with our children.

        No shame, just gratitude. More people should try appreciating their domestic help. It would probably help lift some of the shame that can be associated with the jobs.

      • Tammi says:

        Ok, so on International Women’s Day is a great time to point out how ridiculous it is that the emotional labor of figuring out childcare tends to fall overwhelmingly on women. Mentioning that is the opposite of inappropriate @mrsbanjo. And @yoon, she did acknowledge who Paul Thomas Anderson was, and made the point that genius (or whatever) doesn’t get you a free pass out of parenting or being a good partner.

        While we don’t know what their arrangement is, I agree that it is striking PTA wasn’t mentioned in the childcare planning process. I don’t understand all the vitriol for pointing that out.

      • Louise177 says:

        I think celebrities tend not to talk about nannies because people are quick to say they don’t care about their kids and nannies are doing the raising. It’s funny because nobody says that about non-celebrities who have daycare or nannies.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      I saw him but was struck that she made zero mention of him and spoke as if childcare was her responsibility alone. I don’t know why you think I was attacking her or their obtaining help. I’m all for the village. But the father was absent from the discussion and they’re his kids, too. It takes a village but does the woman always have to be the mayor?

      • Who ARE these people? says:

        PS auteur or not,his career doesn’t take priority over hers unless that’s their deal. Hers is just as important to her as his is to him. My gosh.

      • Yoon says:

        Her husband isn’t just a rando. Please google Paul Thomas Anderson.

        I’m sure he’s busy as f*ck too. Also he had an AMA on Reddit where he talks about his home life more. He’s not just some jabroni.

      • MrsBanjo says:

        Today is International Women’s Day. Fun fact: it’s perfectly okay to centre the discussion around women from time to time. This “What about the men” garbage is tired and inappropriate.

      • Himmiefan says:

        Who, I wondered too why she didn’t mention him.

      • Kitten says:

        @ WATP-Yeah it was odd that she didn’t mention him at all. And I think your point that it’s the automatic assumption that the burden for child-rearing will fall on women’s shoulders is a good and important one that can’t be made often enough.

        On another note, I never knew Maya and PT Andeson were married! Both so talented…

      • Tammi says:

        Ok, so on International Women’s Day is a great time to point out how ridiculous it is that the emotional labor of figuring out childcare tends to fall overwhelmingly on women. Mentioning that is the opposite of inappropriate @mrsbanjo. And @yoon, she did acknowledge who Paul Thomas Anderson was, and made the point that genius (or whatever) doesn’t get you a free pass out of parenting or being a good partner.

        While we don’t know what their arrangement is, I agree that it is striking PTA wasn’t mentioned in the childcare planning process. I don’t understand all the vitriol for pointing that out.

    • HeyThere! says:

      I knew what you meant by that question. It’s weird that their father isn’t mentioned really. When I’m at target alone and see someone I know it’s OMG WHERE ARE THE KIDS WHO HAS THEM?! If my husband goes out without our kids nobody asks him who’s watching his kids. Just annoying.

      • Tammi says:

        Exactly! (And I’m sorry you have to deal with that.) On the playground yesterday, one of the moms came by to say hi and when someone asked where her baby was, her eyes grew wide and she looked panicked — as a joke, of course (baby was home with dad). Might be fun to try?

  2. Pineapple says:

    Under no circumstances do I want Maya to hire a better stylist. Her clothes are so interesting and happy. The colors!! They are amazing. I love people who are individual and interesting. I would rather see what Maya is wearing than all the “Paltrow-Lawrence’s”. They just aren’t as fun and colorful. And how lovely for women to see women in the spotlight in amazing clothing that isn’t just body conscious and created to entice men. It is refreshing and fantastic. Fantastic.

    Oh, and admitting it takes a village. Well, yep, it does. XO

    • margie says:

      Agreed! I love her quirky style. If we all dressed “safe” and the same and in only what is trendy, life would be so boring! I love that she has her own style, and she stays true to that.

    • TQB says:

      Yeah, i saw her take so much flack for the oscar dress but i kind of love it. And that hot pink taffeta number is amazeballs. She reminds me of that poem about “when I get old, I will wear purple.” If you love pink ruffles, goddamnit, rock that. She always looks fun and comfortable.

    • Tina says:

      I agree too! Her style is quirky and powerful. She looks like she feels great in the clothes she wears and that’s the powerful part.

    • Kate says:

      X million

  3. Aang says:

    Female friends and family are an ancient and powerful tool for empowering women and ensuring the survival of children. In traditional economies women often provide more calories through agricultural and gathering than do men who hunt. Women can work because premenstral girls, post menstral women, and women who have very recently given birth help with the child care. Matrilocal communities have the best child survival outcomes. Women are seen as valuable contributors to the survival of the community and they tend to have more autonomy. The glorification of the nuclear family as the perfect unit places all the household and child rearing responsibilities on the women, and the power of providing is given to the men. We were never meant to raise our children in a vacuum free from the help of community. It serves the patriarchy when we try.

    • Pineapple says:

      Oh Aang, this post is amazing. Thank-you. An ancient and powerful tool. So true. My Mother was very ill when I had young children. If healthy, she would have been a huge help to me. It was a very sad time, realizing I was without her help. I felt very alone and still to this day think about that. It is such a huge job, parenting. Surrounding yourself with help is so important.

    • Ellaus says:

      I know you probably will not read this Aang, but thank you for your post. So clearly stated and so true!

  4. Bryn says:

    My mother always said, “It takes a village..”, and I think that’s true. My daughter learns so much from her grandparents, extended family and friends, no shame in having help

  5. Kittycat says:

    I really dont get the big deal about having help raising your kids.

    • Who ARE these people? says:

      Most people have it one way or another.

    • Arpeggi says:

      Yeah. Which is why daycare should be subsidized and affordable, there’s nothing wrong about that kind of help too! It’s something that should be accessible to all who wants it.

      • Who ARE These People? says:

        Yup. If we want a next generation, we ought as a society be going something to enable a next generation. It’s so hard for parents, especially hard for women, in a society that says one thing and does another.

  6. Lightpurple says:

    I love Maya. More Maya, please. Maya needs to be in all the things. With Marisa Tomei.

  7. Lizzie says:

    i don’t really see the difference between having a nanny and sending your kids to daycare. not all nanny’s cook and clean. my friend is a nanny and she only cooks lunch and snacks for the kids and only cleans up after the kids playing.

    june diane raphael from grace and frankie is also very open about their nanny, what it takes to raise kids and work in hollywood. actually the totally mommy podcast, which is now over, has a bunch of comedienne’s, writers and actresses talking about motherhood and how they get their work and family stuff done and they are all very candid about the importance of their nannies in their lives. i think all the archives are still out there and there were some awesome conversations over the years.

    • Ponytail says:

      A nanny provides 1-2-1 care, as opposed to a daycare.
      Nannies are usually more expensive, because of that.
      Daycare has built-in socialisation, whereas having an at-home carer would mean relying on the nanny going out to groups.
      Nannies are carers, not housekeepers – anyone who expects their nanny to clean generally has got the wrong idea about what career child carers are supposed to do.
      I think there are benefits on both sides – as a child, I had the daycare, but as an adult, I was the child carer for other families’ children.

      • Lizzie says:

        i agree but that’s not exactly what i meant. i meant i don’t understand why having a nanny is more stigmatized when in my opinion, childcare is childcare. there is no shame in any of it.

  8. Cupcake says:

    Except she never actually used the word nanny or childcare provider or some other type of word recognizing care for pay. I would have liked that specificity to help remove the shame and stigma or hiring people to take care of your children.

    • Desolee says:

      I don’t know if she would never use the words but I found it unclear who these women are? If not nannies then it could be her friend community or other relatives inlaws idk

  9. leskat says:

    It takes a whole lot of people to raise kids and I’m someone who lives that! My husband and I work full time and my kids go to a dayhome during the day. The woman who takes care of my kids is like an extension of my family and I couldn’t do it without her. My parents, who are retirees and live in the same neighborhood as us do a lot of heavy lifting too. They take my oldest to preschool a few times a week and they babysit pretty much on demand so I can do spin class or my husband and I can head out childfree. Plus my kids have awesome aunts who also do lots of babysitting. It would be literally impossible to raise my kids without these people.

    Also looking into a housecleaner to get us back on track. There’s no shame in needing help, getting it, and appreciating it.

    • HeyThere! says:

      You are very lucky, I don’t have anyone! My parents only help my sister and my mother in law only helps her daughter. They have lots of kids and had kids YEARS before my husband and I did. It’s almost like they are so use to being ‘on call’ for our sisters that they don’t even think about us. It’s awful. It has put a big divide in both families because it’s hurting a lot of feelings. We have tried talking to them but they don’t understand or care, too busy with their other grandkids. Right now it’s a village of two, my husband and I.

  10. paranormalgirl says:

    I had a nanny when my twinspawn were young. She was indispensable, especially when my first husband, the spawn’s father, became ill and subsequently passed away. We had the same nanny up until they were 13 and she’s still a part of this family, even though she no longer works for us.

    • Kitten says:

      Oh no. I don’t think I knew that about you, paranormalgirl. That’s so awful.
      I’m so relieved that you had help during what must have been a terrible time in your life.

      *hugs*, my friend.

      • paranormalgirl says:

        Thanks. It was a very long time ago. Sean and Siobhan were 3 when he passed away. My husband now is awesome when it comes to keeping the memory and light of Sean Sr alive.

  11. Cay says:

    She is so amazingly talented.

  12. TQB says:

    Wow, I did not expecting this to hit me right in the heart, but it did. Thanks to Maya for saying it and for you to repeating it.

  13. Chingona says:

    I don’t have a relationship or any contact with my family and have trust issues with my children and who I allow around them because of my past. I do everything myself running multiple businesses, properties and charities, then doing all the housework and taking care of my kids. I don’t do it because I think I am better than anyone or think I am superhuman, I do it because I have to for my sanity. I wish that I didn’t have a toxic family to help or that I could trust others around my children but I can’t, maybe some celebs even though they can afford it actually don’t have nannies for the same or different reasons that doesn’t mean they are trying to hide it or see it as shameful.( I said some not all celebs). There are some celebs that try to put on a facade of how perfect and amazing they are and don’t want the public to know what goes into making there lives run, but not everyone who chooses not to have childcare is doing that.

    • Who ARE These People? says:

      Ha, can relate. Thankfully, we had good and healthy friends who did the things one would think good and healthy family would be doing. We trusted some of our closest friends a lot more than we could trust some members of our families.

  14. Amy Too says:

    I get the sense that women who don’t “have to” work might feel more shame about working and hiring help to care for their children. I’m a nanny/babysitter and the families I work for are middle class where both parents have to work in order to pay their bills. They don’t seem at all ashamed to admit that they have a nanny or to talk about me with their friends, colleagues, relatives. I think that we see more nanny-hiding among the very rich like celebrities and royals because there is this expectation that women should only be away from their children if they have to be to make money for the family. The famous and wealthy women do not have to work for money, they have enough money to last a lifetime or they have partners who work and make lots of money. So these women are choosing to work and our society does not feel like that’s a valid or “appropriate” choice. There is this idea that if you’re able to stay home with your kids, you should and you should like it and be completely and solely fulfilled by it.

  15. AppleTartin says:

    I grew up as an original 70’s latch key kid. Key around my neck and everything. Had to take a city bus and walk home alone. Be home alone for hours. No one to help or encourage me to do anything but watch tv. We also weren’t poor my parents are just cheap and Mother had no interest in Mothering. It was a lonely childhood and a lazy one.

    I wish I had a nanny to help and someone there. No 2nd grader and on should have to be isolated and alone. I am only grateful no predator targeted me I would have been putty in their hands.

    • Parigo says:

      I totally relate. 80’s latch key kid to Yuppie divorced mother. I’d go home and watch hours of television. At the time I didn’t feel abused or neglected but I realize now that I would have been better of in some sort of child care.

  16. minx says:

    Wow I love those earrings she’s wearing with the pink dress. Right up my alley.

  17. HeyThere! says:

    If I could afford help, I would appreciate the shit out of them! LOL

    **runs off to empty 3 year olds training toilet before the 1 year old uses it as a foot spa again**

  18. KBeth says:

    I don’t know how I would survive without my “village”. Suddenly a single parent of 3 kids when I was 42 years old.
    Ex isn’t available much during the week & I have to work a lot, I will never stop being grateful to my awesome neighbor friends who pitch in when I’m struggling.