SHE’S just adopted a baby girl taking her brood to four, so when Cate Blanchett says something about parenting, we all sit up and take notice.
In an interview with human rights lawyer and author Anna Funder for the upcoming issue of Vogue Australia, 45-year old Blanchett shared some of the things she’s observed while being a mum.
Funder — who Blanchett chose to host the interview — broaches the subject, stating that “On a more personal note, I recently wrote in a piece that despite so many advances for women, I still feel that I write ‘in time bought from a babysitter, bargained from my husband and stolen from my children’. It’s as if once you’re a mother your time belongs to other people — in your case and mine, three other little people.
“On the other hand, a friend who’s an investment banker with three grown children says that family and career are absolutely mutually supportive and inspiring [and] that she can’t imagine her life any other way. I loved this, because deep down that’s how I feel, too. I feel that the question of: ‘How do you do it?’ sometimes contains the retrograde implication that to be working is necessarily to be neglecting one’s children.
“So, without asking you: ‘How do you do it?’, can you talk about how you feel about these roles in your life and how they feed one another? (For my part I’d say that I feel that my children have expanded my world in more ways than I could ever name. But just one of those is that they teach me more about human nature than I otherwise could have known, to say nothing of my own limitations …)”
Blanchett replies: “Yup, agreed. Children certainly teach one about compromise. I think before having children the idea of compromise rubbed shoulders with weakness or deception in some way.
“Children are spirited, passionate, political, demanding. They are also heartbreaking. They constantly extend parents and so parents are constantly confronted with their failures, don’t you think? I’d rather presently live life this way than not.”
Last year, Blanchett spoke to Porter Magazine about being a working mum, and the extra pressure fame sometimes brings.
“You know there’s an extra judgment. You know [other parents are] really observing how you parent. They don’t know that you cram everything in to make space for your kids like any working parent,” she said.
“Playing the lead in a film where you shoot for three months away from home is not an easy thing for me when my children are in school and my husband is running a theatre company.
“They assume you have a nanny and a driver and a chef. Who gives a sh*t whether I do or not? The fact is, I don’t, but you know there is a certain circle of people — and we all get insecure — who then ask, ‘Why can’t she brush her hair?’ You just have to shrug that off.”
Blanchett, who is about to be seen on movie screens as the wicked stepmother in Cinderella, also talked to Vogue Australia about her other love – theatre.
“Right before going on stage I stand on my toes [and] focus on finding a physical balance,” she said.
“I remember my first line and focus on the other actors. The rest is chance. That’s what’s exhilarating about it. You honestly risk not knowing which way it’s going to fall out there.
“I have a profound sense of audience: who is this for? Is it reaching them? Is it connecting or having any resonance?
“But when making a work I cannot, simply cannot, care what people think, or how the work will be perceived, if it will be considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’,” she said.
For more from Anna Funder’s interview with Cate Blanchett, grab a copy of Vogue Australia, available on March 23.