Oprah: I believe motherhood is the most difficult job on earth, but unfortunately, women in this country are not valued for it. I'm amazed that mothers can work and still go home and make spaghetti.

Nicole: And pancakes!

Julianne: And then a bath!

Nicole: Just this morning, I was giving my kids the "This is not a restaurant!" speech—and I could hear my own mother's voice in my head saying the same thing. I was making oatmeal, pancakes, and turkey bacon when Connor says, "I want real bacon." Isn't turkey bacon real bacon? I said, "This is not a restaurant—this is the selection, and that's it."

Oprah: Meryl, are you still amazed at that, having raised four children?

Meryl: I wouldn't say that they're raised—some are, some aren't. Their ages are 11, 16, 19, and 22. [Streep, 53, has been married to sculptor Donald Gummer since 1978.]

Oprah: Do you consider 22 raised?

Meryl: I do, but is my son out of the house? He is now, but I was beginning to wonder.

Oprah: By the time a child is 15 or 16, do you think you've done everything you can do?

Nicole: You're never done.

Meryl: And you're certainly not done worrying. I just drove across country to take my 19-year-old to college near Chicago and set up her apartment. It's interesting what children pick up—like the bossy gene. She was like, "That would be better over there, Mom." She gets that from me—and I was the one being told what to do!

Oprah: Right.

Meryl: In spite of what people say about show business, it has been kind to me as a mother.

Julianne: To all of us.

Meryl: Unless you're producing movies, you can work for a finite amount of time and still wrangle a life.

Nicole: And you get downtime, like four or five months.


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