Keira Knightley feels strongly about working motherhood to keep a ‘sense of identity’

Sarah Jessica Parker at 'The Late Show with Stephen Colbert'

Keira Knightley covers the December issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, to promote Colette, The Aftermath and The Nutcracker. It’s been said many times by me and other people that Keira has really come into her own over the past few years – her 20s were hot garbage, but her 30s are awesome. She’s a mom now, and she’s working constantly, and she just seems to be feeling herself. She seems confidant and ballsy and brutally honest now. I love Nu Keira. Keira chats with Bazaar UK about motherhood, Me Too and more – you can read the full piece here. Some highlights:

She’s worried about where her daughter Edie will go to school: There’s the local school, which she likes but her child might not get into, or the variety of private schools she’s not sure about, or home-schooling, which she would definitely never do. “And I’ve literally just gone crazy looking at every single one in London!”

She wants Edie to see her working: “My mum always worked when I was small, and she’s always had a real thing about me continuing to work, and I think a lot of my sense of self came from me being so proud of her for working and having that ethic. I think for my sense of identity, it was suddenly very important that I had that thing that was still me and mine. I’ve only been able to do it because I can afford the childcare, but I think that sense of identity is something that a lot of women really feel rocked by and work was a way for me to keep that.”

Motherhood means she’s not embarrassed anymore: “Once you’ve had that whole experience of leaking breasts everywhere and the messiness of it –there’s no control, it’s animalistic. I feel that in a funny way with acting it sort of helps; there is no embarrassment any more.”

On the Me Too and Time’s Up movements: “I hope Pandora’s box has been opened, because you can’t shut it again. Maybe talking is the only way to do it, although hey, I’d like some of the guys to talk too… You have to engage with the other side of the conversation to say, how are we raising our boys? What is it that made people want to do this in the first place?”

Asking for more money: “You just want to keep everyone sweet and you want to be like, yes, I’m easy to work with. I’m all for gratitude for luck that you’ve had in your life, but at a certain point I have to stop just feeling lucky and making nice and actually ask the questions.”

[From Harper’s Bazaar UK]

This isn’t the first time Keira has talked about how important it was to see her mom working, and how important she believes it is for Edie to see her working, but I’m always blown away by Keira openly talking about it like this. It IS important. Too many working Hollywood moms sound downright apologetic that they would dare to work AND have kids. Keira’s like, no, obviously the money is good but I WANT to work and I think it’s important that my daughter sees me working. And she’s absolutely right, it is important. Also: we totally need to have the larger conversation about how boys are being raised and toxic masculinity and all of that sh-t.

Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards

Cover courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar UK, additional photo courtesy of WENN.

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24 Responses to “Keira Knightley feels strongly about working motherhood to keep a ‘sense of identity’”

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  1. Becks1 says:

    I agree, I am enjoying this version of Keira. I like that she is speaking her mind openly – she’s not being controversial really, she’s just being honest. I had so many people make comments to me when I went back to work after each kid about how hard it must be, how sad I must be to “have” to use daycare, and so on and so forth. I was basically like….yeah no, this is the best thing for my family. Don’t feel sorry for me. My kids daycare is awesome. Of course while I cant afford the kind of childcare Keira can, my kids did still go to a pretty nice daycare so that alleviated some of the stress. Many women don’t have that option.

  2. Lightpurple says:

    I adore her.

  3. Brunswickstoval says:

    Well I was a working mum for 13 years (lawyer) and I recently threw it all in. With 4 kids the mental load of keeping up with everything and also a hectic job wore me down and I couldn’t do it any longer.

    I think it’s great if women want to work and they have to be supported in every sense of that word. If they aren’t then everyone suffers.

    • Aoife says:

      Absolutely agree.

    • Ellaus says:

      I am too a working mother, but I’ve also had the luck to be able to stay at home the first 3/years of my child. I’m now a doctor, very proud of my work and I like to think that m daughter has around her different models of being a woman in this age.
      That said, the concept of modern motherhood is really wicked and cruel because you still ‘should’ meet the criteria of being a good mother and housekeeper in 1950, but also be an achiever at your workplace; plus, don’t forget to keep your identity as an individual, have hobbies and a social life not kid related…. It is exhausting and almost impossible to keep up with all these new ways of being a mother, even with a good partner who does his part. You are as a bubblegum being pulled from different directions, and clearly it is never enough….

      I wouldn’t change a thing of these last years, even the long hours, the nights that I don’t see my child and all that… But those first 3 years were -even with the bad parts- great. They felt as having a child should be for me, and I am sometimes saddened by the attitude that a sahm is a lesser woman because she doean’t work; and reversely that a working mother is a worse mum because she is not *there*…. We can’t win…..
      At the end of the day I wish mothers could do whatever they want work or stay at home (y es I know it is my privilege speaking, and I am fully aware millions cannot choose what is best for them).

    • Andrea Smith says:

      Brunswickstoval – I completely agree. I am a lawyer and a mom and would love nothing more than to throw in the towel on my career, at least for a while. I find that my identity now is much more aligned with being a mom, and not with being a lawyer, and that’s ok, too. Just because someone loves being a mom, finds it fulfilling and wants to make it her first priority, does not mean she’s lost her sense of identity. I see what Keira is saying also, but I think the most important thing is to do what makes you happiest, and what works best for your family.

      For me personally, having to continue to work (for financial reasons, and because my husband wants me to) has fractured my identity. I feel I am faking it as a lawyer now because my heart simply isn’t in it anymore. There is no one answer for everyone.

  4. Jane says:

    Why were her 20’s hot garbage? She did lots of good work and had very little drama.

    • Steff says:

      Keira has said she wasn’t happy during a lot of her twenties even though that’s when she was at the top of her career. I think she’s referring to that.

      • Dessi says:

        Still the comment is uncalled for. It’s like we’re talking about Lindsay Lohan not Keira Knightley.

      • Jane says:

        I mean, she did some of her best work, got married and had her daughter in her 20’s, so I don’t think she’d like the whole decade being written off as garbage.

  5. Adee says:

    Kiera is great, especially after becoming a mother.
    I respect working mothers as much as non-working mothers. The motherhood part is what seems heroic (especially to us non-moms)

    Not everyone has a dream profession, maybe being a mother is what truly fulfills some women in a way no career does. If a woman wants to work she absolutely should, if her circumstances allow and she wants to be at home with her kids she should do that.

    It’s really a personal decision for the woman and the family.

  6. Notanotherpostcard says:

    But maybe your “sense of identity” is being a loving mother who stays at home with her kids. We have choices! Like her, I adore my mom and decided to emulate her. My mother stayed at home with us for over 10 years and then went back to work. I loved my childhood and admire her for doing this. And now I stay at home with my kids and love it.

    Our sense of identify can change throughout our life. And I have never personally had a career that excited me as much as motherhood. This amazimg time with my kids is so fleeting, they grow up so fast!

    • Kate says:

      Yeah I’m a working mom but I would quit tomorrow if I won the lottery. I never really understood that argument that your kids need to see you work. Both my parents worked and I was home alone a lot and all I learned was that growing up sucks b/c you have to work. Maybe a better way to look at it is that your kids need to see you doing something you love and that fulfills you. If that’s “work”, then great. If that’s staying home and parenting, great. Kids will be happy when their parents are happy and a work ethic can be demonstrated in all kinds of ways other than going to an office everyday.

      ETA I don’t think Kiera is saying you have to work outside the home to demonstrate work ethic and a sense of purpose to your kid, she’s just saying that’s her personal experience. I imagine her career is way more fulfilling than mine lol.

      • Notanotherpostcard says:

        Kate, you are so right! Kids should see their parents doing what they love and makes them happy. Happy parents, working or staying at home, raise happier kids.

        And I also never had a career that I was passionate about, so I would rather hang with the kids and live frugally for several years. I love being with my kids.

    • Alyse Leitao says:

      She says that all women may struggle with sense of identity in general after motherhood, but I think that she clarifies that she’s only talking about herself in particular as keeping that identity through work.

  7. Maum says:

    On a superficial level I love that cover. She looks stunning.

  8. T.Fanty says:

    She is a working mother who chooses when she gets to work. That is a real luxury. I control my schedule and get to work from home when I please and it is a luxury. I cannot understate the respect I have for the women who do it while working a 9-5. I am in awe of those mamas.

    • Dara says:

      Right? There are days when I can barely manage to get myself up and ready and out the door on time. I am in awe of everyone that has do it while simultaneously wrangling their kid(s) too.

  9. Cupcake says:

    She’s welcome to speak openly for herself, but she does not speak for me. Being a stay at home Mom is how I found more of myself.

  10. Mika says:

    I have nothing but love and respect for her message. My mother is a mother of four, and she worked the whole time. She didn’t always love working, but it was something she needed to do to take care of us, and to take care of herself. Now that we’ve all grown up, I’m more glad than ever that my mother worked. My friend’s SAHMs have become so under-stimulated since their children have grown up. Sometimes this expresses itself in small ways – like being over-involved in their kids lives in a way that is very unwanted – sometimes it’s bigger – like serious alcoholism and substance abuse problems. I’m so thankful and proud that my mother has her work. Whenever I see her in the office, I’m reminded that I come from a woman who is intelligent, independent, brave, and a true leader.

  11. Velma says:

    Hot garbage? As I remember, she was super low key.

    • Dessi says:

      It’s probably because places like this and Lainey Gossip treated like hot garbage because she was reclusive and skinny or something. Just check the archives, they’re appalling. Lainey was especially scathing towards her for absolutely no reason.