Parenthood is not always an easy ride, and this is particularly true when it comes to being a mom. You have a slew of physical, mental, and emotional challenges and life adjustments to make when you decide to welcome a new little person into your family, and it's an experience only another new mom could possibly relate to. Though they are often known for their poised and photo-ready lives, these 33 celebrity mothers aren't afraid to keep it real when it comes to motherhood and are the refreshing, honest, down-to-earth role models we truly need.
Now, let's be clear, "keeping it real" doesn't always mean the moms who crack jokes about leaving the hospital in diapers and leaking breast milk during meetings (though they are, indeed, pretty funny and oh so appreciated). Moms who "keep it real" also include those who aren't afraid to talk about
postpartum depression and anxiety, infertility, marital adjustments, and all the other realities that come with building a family. The truth is that it's not always an easy or linear process for everyone, but the more people who are willing to speak about it honestly — especially when they have a public platform — the better it gets for all of us. 1 Reese Witherspoon Amy Sussman/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Reese Witherspoon has three children, a bustling career, and is a bona fide Hollywood icon and one heck of a celebrity mom. But the most rewarding part of her life? Her children's approval.
As she told
USA Today, "When they saw me on stage with Oprah at the Golden Globes, my son who’s 14 texted me: ‘Mom, that was really amazing, and I’m really proud of who you are as a mom.’ That one got me. I’m going to cry." 2 Cardi B
The rapper, who welcomed her first daughter, Kulture, in 2018, gained more than just a new baby; she also found a completely
new respect for mothers.
"Moms always give advice like, ‘Oh, when you have a baby things change, you will see, it’s not easy.’ It’s true. No matter how many books you read — cuz I read some books — you just really have to have a baby to see," Cardi B said, according to
Vogue. "I just want to say that I respect mothers more than ever now. I see moms differently, especially the young ones that, like, are so young and barely have experience or money. I don’t even know how they can do it." 3 Amy Schumer
Amy Schumer, who celebrated her first Mother's Day in 2019 with a
picturesque post of her on the toilet at the hospital, was candid about her tough pregnancy. Schumer suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) and ended up hospitalized. However, she also took time to post videos of herself throwing up to Instagram, to show people what pregnancy was really like.
Schumer also kept working, and did a
special on Netflix, , during which she shared her warm sentiments for other moms-to-be: “I feel like, you know, if you had a good pregnancy, if you’re someone who enjoyed being pregnant, I just hope your car flips over,” she said. “That’s… That’s what I wish for you.” Growing 4 Selma Blair
Selma Blair, who was diagnosed with MS in 2018, is mom to Arthur, whom she had in 2011. After she and her partner split, she told The Glow: "It takes a village, and it’s really
hard to be the village on your own," which is a sentiment any single parent could certainly relate to. 5 Miranda Kerr
Miranda Kerr, who shares a son with former partner Orlando Bloom, understands the values of a dollar and how she is going to teach that to her son Flynn, despite growing up in an otherwise very privileged family. "I told Flynn that if he wants a car,
he needs to start saving now,” she told InStyle, explaining his interest in setting up a lemonade stand. “He needs to learn the importance of working for himself because I had to do that.” 6 Chrissy Teigen Lars Niki/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Chrissy Teigen, who is mom to daughter Luna and son Miles with husband John Legend, is Twitter's favorite cool girl, and she's not afraid to speak the truth when it comes to parenthood. For instance, as
Redbook reported, she wrote on Twitter after she delivered Miles: "No one told me I would be coming home in diapers too,” and "To everyone asking, john is healing perfectly." 7 Carrie Underwood
After giving birth to her second son in 2019, Carrie Underwood wrote a postpartum body manifesto on Instagram, committing to focusing on what her body can do, as opposed to what it cannot.
"I promise to stop
analyzing every angle and every curve and every pound and every meal," she wrote in March. "I’m going to keep staying the path because it is a journey and as long as I’m always working towards my goals, one day I’ll reach them. I’m going to take it day by day, smile at the girl in the mirror, and work out because I love this body and all it has done and will continue to do!" 8 Kelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson has been transparent about her struggle to both excel at her career, as well as be a present parent. In an interview with
Southern Living, she shared her sadness that at times she missed certain milestones, such as the first time one of her kids said "mama."
hard to be a really good mom and a really good person at your job," she told the magazine. "I don't want to be one of those pop star moms that doesn't see their (kids). ... I want to be there." 9 Michelle Branch
Michelle Branch, reigning alt-pop queen of the early 2000s, got married in 2019 and had a truly iconic moment when she posted a photo of herself
breastfeeding her son in her wedding dress while holding a glass of wine. "A baby has to eat when a baby has to eat," she wrote. 10 Gabrielle Union
Gabrielle Union dealt with a struggle that many families are familiar with: infertility. Earlier this year, she opened up about
the "underground community" that supported her while going through IVF and surrogacy.
“A lot of Hollywood people will make an announcement, like, ‘Our
baby arrived via gestational carrier,’ but very few are transparent about the whole process,” she told Shonda Rhimes on Shondaland. “There’s a fertility grassroots underground community: Once you put it out there within your social circle, they’ll find you.” 11 Blake Lively Mark Sagliocco/FilmMagic/Getty Images 12 Jessica Simpson
After delivering her third child, Birdie, who joined older brother and sister Maxwell and Ace, Jessica Simpson documented her journey into parenthood yet again, giving us the ups and downs on everything from
her swollen ankles to her "Jesstation" status. " Being a mother is the best opportunity and challenge I’ve ever been blessed with in life," she told Us Weekly in 2018. 13 Amy Poehler
Though a successful comedian, Amy Poehler has opened up about the unspoken expectation that whether you work or stay at home, you are quietly supposed to want a different life.
"There is an
unspoken pact that women are supposed to follow. I am supposed to act like I constantly feel guilty about being away from my kids. I don't, I love my job," she wrote in her book, according to HuffPost. "Mothers who stay at home are supposed to pretend they are bored and wish they were doing more corporate things. They don't. They love their job." 14 Tina Fey
Tina Fey is as funny as a mom as she is on TV. "
Kids are definitely the boss of you. Anyone who will barge into the room while you are on the commode is the boss of you," she told InStyle in 2011. "And when you explain to them that you’re on the commode and that they should leave but they don’t? That’s a high-level boss." 15 Kim Kardashian
Kim Kardashian, who has documented the ins and outs of her life on reality TV for over a decade, hasn't been shy about parenting and motherhood, though she has been decidedly careful of how much she allows her children to be on her family's show.
You just have to wing it,” she told Vogue about her secret to being an awesome parent. "My sisters and I are in a group chat, always getting parenting advice." 16 Eva Mendes Andrew Toth/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Like some moms, Eva Mendes says that kids weren't even on the radar until she met her husband, Ryan Gosling. (Understandable, TBH.) “It was the furthest thing from my mind,” she told
Women's Health. “[But then] Ryan Gosling happened." 17 Drew Barrymore
Just like many moms, Drew Barrymore feels that being fulfilled as an individual is the most important factor as to whether or not she's a great mom. "I like that
I’m fulfilled as a person, and it makes me so much more excited to just be and do kid things and focus the entire time I’m with my kids," she told Working Mother. 18 Lauren Conrad
After appearing on hit reality TV shows in the early to mid-2000s, Lauren Conrad settled down to work on her own brand, as well as building her family. The hardest part? Her breastfeeding struggles. "I felt like I was failing at something that should come really naturally, and it was really difficult for me," she shared on her podcast.
19 Serena Williams
Serena Williams — who suffered
"life-threatening complications" after delivering her daughter, according to The New York Times — has been open about her journey to healing, both physically and mentally.
“Last week was not easy for me. Not only was I accepting some tough personal stuff, but I just was in a funk. Mostly, I felt like I was not a good mom,”
she wrote on Instagram after giving birth. “I read several articles that said postpartum emotions can last up to three years if not dealt with." 20 Jennifer Garner
After having three children, Jennifer Garner understands that the "baby bump" has sort of turned into a "permanent bump," and for her part, she's leaning all the way into body acceptance.
“I am not pregnant. But
I’ve had three kids, and there is a ‘bump.’ From now on, ladies, I will have a ‘bump,’ and it will be my ‘baby bump,’ and let’s just all settle in and get used to it," she once told Ellen DeGeneres, according to HuffPost. "It’s not going anywhere.” 21 Khloé Kardashian Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Though she has had to go on the defensive regarding everything from her relationship to her life as a single mom, Khloé Kardashian has handled her life's challenges with grace and responded to certain haters with understanding.
In particular, one individual criticized her for traveling with a nanny. "I can go anywhere and
everywhere with whom I choose to," Kardashian responded, according to Allure. "I choose to treat everybody like family that is in my house. I choose to invite whoever wants to come to fun outings. We all love and enjoy the farmers market ,and it’s so fun to go places and create memories together. I hope you have a happy and blessed day. I also hope that you are very kind to the ones that are kind to you. The ones that are not probably need your kindness even more.” 22 Kourtney Kardashian
She's made headlines for vacationing with former partner Scott Disick and his then-girlfriend Sofia Richie, but for Kourtney Kardashian,
co-parenting is the most important thing in her life.
"I think other people just think if they were in that position, they couldn't do it. And I don't think a lot of other people are probably strong enough to do it," she explained
in a joint interview with Disick for her brand, Poosh. "And it's not like the easiest thing for us. But the fact that we've tried and we made it work, makes life that much better. I mean, I couldn't imagine raising three children with somebody that I couldn't speak to every day." 23 Kylie Jenner
Kylie Jenner, who is both a young mother and an entrepreneur, once explained in a vlog that she balances the two by having a
room for daughter Stormi in her office. "It's hard to manage mom life and work life sometimes," Jenner explained. "That's why I made her a bedroom here. So she could be with me and still have fun." 24 Joanna Gaines
It probably wouldn't surprise anyone to learn that Joanna Gaines is mindful and intentional about her approach to child-rearing. As she wrote on Facebook about parenthood: "You sow seeds early on and
work hard to be intentional, and then over time you move on to new lessons and challenges. Then one day you look up and the seeds you planted in your little children's hearts are now in full bloom." 25 Kate Hudson
When it comes to gender identity, Kate Hudson is determined to let her daughter Rani Rose discover it for herself. "I think you just
raise your kids individually regardless, like a genderless approach,” she told AOL. “We still don't know what she's going to identify as. I will say that, right now, she is incredibly feminine in her energy, her sounds, and her way.” 26 Meghan Markle Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
In Meghan Markle’s eyes, there is no greater job than
protecting and caring for her children. “I’ve been a waitress, an actress, a princess, a duchess. I’m clear on who I am independent of that stuff. The most important title I will ever have is ‘Mom,’” she said in a tell-all interview with Oprah. 27 Mindy Kaling
There's no one right time to become a mom, and every age or stage of life presents its own unique challenges, as Mindy Kaling told
"I think there’s no one right way of doing things. If I had her at 24, there would
have also been their own challenges and their own joys," she told AOL. "My mom would have been alive, so that would have been wonderful, but I think that I truly believe there are many different ways to be happy and I’m sure I would have been happy had I had her younger." 28 Nicole Polizzi
Though formerly known as a party girl during her tenure on
Jersey Shore, Nicole Polizzi has reformed her lifestyle and is now a pretty badass mom. “I was super nervous because it was my first child,” she told. “I think it was the immaturity of me that was nervous…and then, once I had Lorenzo, I knew what to do. I would tell myself to not be so nervous and stop stressing out because 'you’re going to be fine.'" Good Morning America about having her son 29 Lauren Burnham Luyendyk Bachelor alum and mother-of-three Lauren Burnham Luyendyk was worried about losing her identity when she and husband Ari Luyendyk welcomed their first child, Alessi. “I think the biggest thing for me was that I went through this period of self-rediscovery, and I felt like I was losing my identity as an individual,” she told SheKnows. “It would probably have been helpful, while I was going through that period, to know that this is normal and you’re going to feel like you’re losing yourself, but you’re going to find yourself in a new way.” 30 Cameron Diaz
With the birth of her daughter in 2020, Cameron Diaz became a first-time mother at age 47, which to her feels like the “sweet spot” and the
happiest time of her life.
“Having a family when you're young ... it's like anything when you're young: You do it. But when you're my age and you decide to do it, it's a real choice. You really have to work hard for it,” she said on Naomi Campbell’s YouTube series,
No Filter. “The only pressure for me now is I have to live to be, like, 107, you know? No pressure!" 31 Scarlett Johansson George Pimentel/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images
Black Widow star, who gave birth to her second child in 2021, doesn’t claim to know any more about motherhood than other moms — fame does not equal superior parenting.
“I’m such a newbie at this,” she told the Australian
Daily Telegraph regarding preachy celebrity parenting. “I always really hate it when actors or people in the spotlight make giant grandiose statements about parenthood because it’s so, so personal. I don’t profess to know anything more about parenting than anybody else.” 32 Jenna Dewan
World of Dance host learned a lot about pregnancy the second time around. She and fiancé Steve Kazee welcomed their first child together in 2020, and Dewan reported feeling “not as nervous” as she did ahead of meeting her daughter with previous husband Channing Tatum, according to Us Weekly. “The beauty of going through what I’ve gone through prior to this is that now I’m in the zone of like, ‘New chapter, new life. Like, I’m excited. I’m not in the stress of it.” 33 Shenae Grimes-Beech
When it comes to
appreciating the postpartum body, the 90210 star removed the pressure to “bounce back” by embarking on a serious closet overhaul before the arrival of her second child, according to People.
"I'm more profoundly grateful for my body than I have ever been in my life. Why am I feeling less-than because the stuff was just hanging there looking at me every day? It's my second kid, my body's going to change again, and it's going to be a whole-new body again." Amen to that.