Academy award winner and mother of six Angelina Jolie has penned a letter to parents amid the coronavirus pandemic, reminding stressed and anxious mums and dads that it's OK not to be perfect.
"I am thinking of you," Jolie writes in Time magazine's parents newsletter. "I am imagining how hard each of you is trying to get through your days. How much you want to lead your loved ones through this. How you worry. How you plan. How you smile for them, when inside you feel at times you are breaking."
The 44-year-old who shares Maddox, 18, Pax, 16, Zahara, 15, Shiloh, 13, and twins Knox and Vivienne, 11, with her ex-husband Brad Pitt, also reflects on her own upbringing and transition to parenthood.
"I never thought I could be anyone's mum," she writes. "I remember the decision to become a parent. It wasn't hard to love. It wasn't hard to dedicate myself to someone and something greater than my life. What was hard was knowing that from now on I needed to be the one to make sure everything was okay. To manage it and make it work. From food to school to medical. Whatever would come. And to be patient."
Explaining that it was a new skill she needed to acquire, Jolie continues: "Now, in the midst of this pandemic, I think of all the mothers and fathers with children at home. All hoping they can do everything right, answer all needs, and stay calm and positive."
But for the Maleficent star, knowing "that's impossible" has helped her through difficult times.
"It is a lovely thing to discover that your children don't want you perfect," Jolie writes. "They just want you honest. And doing your best. In fact, the more room they have to be great where you are weak, the stronger they may become."
"Your kids love you, she concludes. "They want to help you. So in the end, it's the team you build. And in a way, they are raising you up too.
"You grow together."
In a recent Time Talks video chat, Jolie shared that she's currently in lock down with all six of her kids. "They wrangle me," she laughed, joking that home-schooling is probably tougher on parents than it is on children.