Marriage and parenting are two major aspects of some women’s lives. How a woman deals with being married and how she parents also come with criticism, which can often make a woman feel like she is going insane, she isn’t good enough or she isn’t living up to society’s standards. Jaime King has dealt with it all, but the way she chooses to see marriage (she’s been married for 10 years to Kyle Newman) and handles motherhood (she’s a mom of two boys, James and Leo) is something every wife and mother needs to hear.
While promoting her new film, Bitch, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, King opened up to SheKnows not only about the body shaming she’s endured over the years but also about what it’s like for her to be married and to be a mom. A topic showcased in Bitch, where the 38-year-old actress plays the protagonist’s sister, is how easily stressed women become when they feel like they have so much to do in such a little amount of time — and how they are expected to do it all and stay sane in the process. This is something King definitely related to after she first read the script.
“Yes, it’s something that I feel every day,” she said. “It’s definitely, I think, the hardest thing that I contend with inside myself as a mother, and as a human being, as a friend and as a spiritual person. I think there’s a consistent question of how do I stay attuned to myself, what’s going on inside of myself, protecting my spiritual connection.”
For King, ensuring she’s taking care of herself, even while trying to make sure everyone else in her life is happy and healthy, is far from easy. “How do I make sure I’m meditating, doing that which takes care of me spiritually, which takes care of me in every way, right?” She continued, “How do I that, while at the same time earn a living doing what I love in an industry that’s freelance, while being able to create art that is a true mirror for humanity? How do I stay attuned to humanity by having personal deep connections with people and the time to observe life and strangers?”
She even described being a wife and a mother as sometimes a “really intense experience,” which is another reason she thinks Bitch is “such an important film”: because it speaks to the experiences many wives and mothers feel daily. “There’s not a day that I don’t feel guilty about something,” King admitted. “That’s just the truth. There’s always something that I could be doing better or more of, but I think that that comes from my need to be a perfectionist because I’ve always been a perfectionist.”
Something she’s realized is that nobody’s perfect, including herself, and that type of unrealistic expectation shouldn’t be put on anyone. “My idea of perfection is doing my most excellent and bringing my heart to everything that I do,” she explained. “But I realize that’s a completely unattainable goal to put on oneself because what we feel is our most excellent can change on a moment’s basis.”
King is the first to recognize how unfair it is all of the pressure women face to maintain a perfect life as a wife and as a mother. “So, really, it’s about self-love and self-care and how do we find that so we can recognize that, ‘Hey, I’m kicking ass. I know I’m doing the best that I can. I’m not fucking perfect and I’m gonna make mistakes and also know that I’m doing everything with the best intention that I can.'” She continued, “It’s really difficult to find balance in a world that keeps wanting to hurl ideas of what your life should look like.”
Like parenting, being a wife hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for King. It’s come with many obstacles, but that’s totally normal. In November, she and Newman celebrated their 10-year wedding anniversary — and staying together that long has come with a lot of hard work. “The reason why we’ve been together for so long is because we worked hard and that working hard requires a consistent examination of ourselves, a consistent willingness to compromise [and] to know when we won’t compromise.”
For anyone who’s struggling in a relationship, King offered up some advice: “There’s no right or correct way to make a marriage or any kind of relationship work other than, for me, remembering that it’s just about how can I ease my partner’s pain, how can I make him feel acknowledged and supported and loved.” She’s also a firm believer that there isn’t just one person, including a spouse, who is going to make you feel whole at all times. That’s why friends and family are so important to have by your side.
“Here’s the thing, we will never find fulfillment from one human being,” she said, before adding that the “fairytale idea that we’re gonna get married” and your husband or wife is going to satisfy you completely is far from true. “When I say that no one person can fulfill us, if that were the case, then we wouldn’t have a need for family, we wouldn’t have a need for female friendships,” she said. “No man will ever fulfill what a woman can fulfill for me. Period. End of story.” She clarified, “Women need to be heard, men need to be acknowledged. And women know how to hear one another when they are at that space where they have chosen, when they realize there is room for more than one of us at the table.”
Being a woman is both a beautiful, powerful and, at times, tough job, but one thing King makes clear is that if anybody can get through life, take on a parenting role and be a wife, it’s a woman. Next time you feel like you’re going insane or don’t have enough time in the day to get everything done, including what you need to do for yourself, look to Jaime King.
Additional reporting by Lauren Joskowitz