For Sylvia, controlling her 34-year-old daughter's every move is easier than watching her make a mistake. Sylvia says of her daughter, "Heidi is needy—emotionally, financially—and I'm always having to pick up the slack." Sylvia also thinks her daughter's boyfriend, who has tattoos, no college education and is 10 years younger than Heidi, is wrong for her. Although Heidi admits she feels afraid to stand on her own, she also says, "My mom and I are extremely close but I think it's an unhealthy kind of closeness that has sort of paralyzed me from being a fully independent adult. … I think she should be able to let me go."
Maria says even though lots of people were rolling their eyes at her relationship with former bodybuilder Arnold Schwarzenegger, her mother Eunice kept any reservations she had to herself. "She never said, 'Don't do that,'" Maria says. "She just said, 'I trust you have a good opinion. I trust your judgment. You go for it.'" And Eunice always encouraged Maria to do whatever scared her most. "If you stay afraid, you stay paralyzed," Maria says. "That's something I think women do a lot. They want to be perfect. They don't want to make a mistake. And the only way you learn and grow is if you make mistakes, if you take risks."
"You cannot talk a woman out of a man that she believes she's in love with," Oprah tells Sylvia. "You just have to be there for her when it doesn't work out. You have to be—Dr. Phil always says this—her soft place to fall."
Eunice says the best advice her parents ever gave her was about having the courage to think outside herself, and it's an attitude she instilled in all her children. "There's always somebody out there much worse off—[so] get going," Eunice says.
"One of the T-shirts I wear a lot says, 'Well-behaved women never make history'—and it's true!" Maria says. "Women who are consumed with fear never break out and have any experiences or try anything new. Women who want to be perfect only end up feeling bad about themselves. I think that that's one of the things that I learned from [my mother] was, like, go out. Make a mistake. Have the guts to fail and talk about it. There's nothing wrong with that."
We just had to know: In the Shriver-Schwarzenegger household, who's more strict with the children, Maria or the former Terminator turned Governor Arnold? Maria says they are strict with the children in different areas. Maria's strict about going to mass on Sundays, manners and school. Arnold's strict about keeping the house tidy, turning off lights to conserve energy and making sure the kids do their laundry.
"He will call me, literally, I'm telling you, from the capitol: 'Have they done the laundry?'" Maria says. "I go, 'Arnold, you're running a state. Don't worry about the laundry!'"
Maria and Arnold's daughter Christina says Arnold will also hide anything he finds left out of place. "If you open up a cabinet, behind pots and pans, you'll find, like, a pair of shoes or something."
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