Nurse Jackie's Edie Falco on Her New Roles
The Emmy-winning actress opens up about beating her alcohol addiction, her new play, and her favorite part of all: mother.
Falco on Single Motherhood
"They couldn't be more different from each other," Falco says of her duo, now 6 and 3. "My son is deeply intense, crazy-smart, and shy, and my daughter is crazy-comfortable in her skin, creative, and really social -- very girly. It's such a joy watching them become these little people they were always destined to be, with or without me."
While becoming a mother has undoubtedly cut down on Falco's gym time and trips to the masseuse, she couldn't be happier. "I love being a single mom," says Falco, who, despite past relationships with other well-known stars such as Stanley Tucci, has never married.
"I did this very much on purpose. I wanted to raise my children by myself. I feel strongly about being consistent for them and being there for them, and all I can promise is that I will be those things. I can't make those promises to them when it involves other people," says Falco, who recalls growing up enduring her parents' arguments and long, cold silences until they divorced.
"I just feel this is the way I can do this most cleanly. It's very painful to see one parent leave. I also have strong feelings about the way to go about things, such as education and discipline, and I don't want to compromise with anybody."
Of course, Falco quickly found out that doing everything entirely on her own would be too much, even for someone with her level of energy. "At first, I tried to do it all," says Falco, who finally gave up singlehandedly managing every night and day feedings for her son after almost walking into oncoming traffic. "I got a nanny to help me during the days, and I kept shifting my plans until I found a very workable one."
Opting to navigate motherhood alone has become a viable option for many women, says Argie Allen, PhD, MFT, director of clinical training at the couple and family therapy program at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Being a single mother can be wonderfully rewarding to your child and you. "However, it's important to have support systems in place to ensure the child is adequately cared for and the mother is still able to have a healthy amount of alone time," says Allen, who recommends scheduling biweekly sleepovers at a close friend's or family member's house.
"Sleepovers can be a wonderful thing. The children get to play and socialize with their peers, and the parent can take some time to relax." Also, creating a small network of friends or relatives who can commit to helping with chores and errands is key, Allen adds.
Falco: The Road Ahead
Still, even with additional hands, parenting -- single or partnered -- is a challenge. "It just puts everything front and center," says Falco, "the things that I'm good at, the ways in which I fall short. But it's also very moving and gratifying." So gratifying, in fact, that the actor hasn't dated seriously since becoming a mom. "My kids came into my life, and whatever it was that was driving me to get involved with someone really went up in smoke," says Falco.