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“The idea that we have to be 1 thing when we grow up is really limiting”

Eva Mendes on her love of Dr. Becky, raising two daughters and leaning into her inner hustler. (Photo: Getty; designed by Quinn Lemmers)

welcome to So Mini WaysYahoo Life parenthood series on the joys and challenges of raising children.

Eva Mendes reckons she probably did it herself, but asking a child “What do you want to be when you grow up?” now give him a break. Children don’t want to be just one thing, the mother of two notes; they want to be ballerinas and firefighters and astronauts. So why make them feel like they can’t do it all?

“The idea that we have to be one thing when we grow up is really limiting,” Mendes, who shares daughters Esmeralda, 7, and Amada, 6, with partner Ryan Gosling, told Yahoo Life. “So I just want to be able to show my girls, especially [since] they are girls, what not, you can change and change your mind and you can change your mind at any time, and you can change your specialty, change your decision. That’s not to say it’s going to be easy and… you’re probably going to “fail” quotes more than you succeed, but that’s part of it. And I want to be the example Do and eliminating the shame of failing, in particular.”

In her case, that means not defining herself solely as an actress; indeed, apart from a dubbing role in the famous Australian cartoon Bluey last year, his last acting credit was in 2014 lost river, directed by Gosling. “I just feel very connected to my inner hustler,” says Mendes, who in addition to raising her two daughters, embarked on entrepreneurial opportunities based on what “reflects my life at that time.” The latest teams up with Skura Style, a range of chic (really) antimicrobial cleaning sponges that indicate when they’re ready to be replaced. The cleaning enthusiast signed on as a co-owner and brand ambassador after discovering the women-owned brand’s “Skrubby Sponge” while in the throes of the fruit-wiping stages of the pandemic.

The partnership makes sense considering Mendes is a self-proclaimed “control freak” who finds cleaning her house to be “cathartic”. While she’d rather “kick everyone out of the kitchen” and tackle the mess herself, she’s open to letting her daughters handle the chores themselves. After relying on a “cleanup” song for years, getting girls to tidy their rooms these days means asking nicely — and, if things get tough, threatening to eat their ice cream if it doesn’t, Mendes laughs, calling this approach a “major mom failure.”

“I am a mom in the making”, adds the Coupling star, who is currently in London with her family, who recently recovered from COVID. Life right now, she says, is “full.”

“It’s fun. It’s joyful. It’s infuriating. It’s scary,” Mendes says. “The emotions that we go through in a day – like, it’s all there and it’s all so raw.”

She does not hesitate to turn to professionals for advice. Like many other mums, she follows parenting gurus Big Little Feelings and describes herself as a “student of Dr. Becky”, a reference to the popular clinical psychologist whose Good Inside platform offers expert advice on everything from share in the drama between brothers and sisters. The expert helped her navigate and honor the overwhelming emotions experienced by her children.

“I say [to myself], ‘I don’t need to have the answer to that. It’s OK not to know; just be there with them. Don’t let them be alone through this,” Mendes says. “That’s what I remember the most from [Dr. Becky]. And it has really saved me in my biggest parenting situations that confuse me. I’m just going to think about what Dr. Becky says, like, ‘just be with them in the feeling, be with them in the not-knowing. Do not leave them alone in this space. And it really made a huge difference in how I parented.”

Although she primarily uses social media to shout about the business ventures she is passionate about and prefers not to post about her personal life, she enjoys connecting with other parents online whether she is okay with their advice or their methods or not. Last year, she shared a quote about choosing not to spank her children, drawing both praise and criticism.

“I have tons of nieces and nephews and I respect everyone parenting differently,” she says of the response. “I have my opinions and sometimes I’m not sure I should express them, you know? And sometimes [with] social media, I get confused as to what this means to me. Like, we don’t need another opinion there. So I try not to just be another opinion, just because I have the platform. I try to post consciously and not be tone deaf, and also respect that everyone has different beliefs. But I like to post when I feel like, “Hey, that helped me.” Maybe that helps you.

“I feel very close to other parents, even if I don’t agree with what they say,” she adds. “I love learning from other parents and I will listen. I will take all the advice I can get. I may not apply it, but I take it.”

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