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Viola Davis: 'The perfect parent doesn't exist'

Published 18/04/2016

Viola Davis
Viola Davis

Viola Davis would hate to be judged on the mistakes she has made as a mother.

Actress Viola Davis always thought she had the plan for being a perfect mother locked down, until she actually became one.

The How to Get Away with Murder star is stepmother to husband Julius Tennon's two children and the couple also has four-year-old adopted daughter Genesis to look after.

And despite feeling remarkably prepared for family life, Viola quickly discovered she truly knew nothing about being in charge of a brood.

"When you have a child, you want to be a perfect mother," she told People magazine. "You feel like you have the absolute plan to be a perfect mother — and then you make a mistake, and we all make mistakes. We all at some point lock our kid in a car by accident or lose our kid in the mall for 30 seconds or more. I know one girl who’s a fantastic mother, (but) she lost her daughter in an aquarium for 30 minutes.”

Looking after three children as well as juggling her acting commitments is hard work, and while Viola gets a lot of pleasure from spending time with the kids, it took her a while to accept that the perfect parent doesn't exist.

"You have those moments: exhaustion, the stress of having an exuberant child, and you don’t want to be judged by your worst mistakes,” she added. “It’s a part of life, and it’s a part of what makes us who we are.”

Ever the award-winning actress, Viola used her real life experiences as a mother to prepare for her latest role in the movie Custody.

The star plays a judge presiding over a case after child services are called on a single mother when her kids’ teacher notices some cuts and bruises on them, and Viola was able to use her maternal understanding for her character.

“I did the movie because it’s an indictment and also an exposing of a big issue in our culture,” she explained. “I wanted to be a part of that.”

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