How would you like Blythe Danner to be your mom?

No, this isn’t a contest here at 5 Minutes for Mom. We’re not giving away a celeb mom as a prize, but I did recently have the opportunity to interview Bythe Danner at the Little Fockers bloggers roundtable, and the talk naturally turned to her grown-up kids — both the famous Gwyneth Paltrow, mother of two, and her son who just recently got married and from whom Danner is hoping to get more grandkids.

As Dina Byrnes, Pam’s (Teri Polo) mom, Danner is the stabilizing influence to her over-the-top husband Jack (Robert De Niro).

I asked her if she could relate to the Byrnes and the Fockers who were a little over-involved in their adult kids’ lives. She said that you really have to be careful what you say, and as a mother and a grandmother, she’s chosen that route so that she can be around as much as possible.

So I ask you again, “How would you like Blythe Danner to be your mom?”

I have friends who have adult kids, and of course I have parents and in-laws myself, and I know that it is difficult to take that route. Maybe it’s easier for Danner because she thinks that her daughter Gwyneth is doing things right:

If my opinion is asked for, I give it, but other than that, I don’t. I watch my daughter who is just such an extraordinary mother who has much more patience than I ever did.

Danner told us that people actually compliment her after the trans-continental plane rides from London to the U.S., because her kids Apple and Moses have been so well-behaved. Her secret? She doesn’t dismiss their problems and frustrations but really talks to them and really listens.

I have a feeling that she’s not always so reserved with her opinions, because as we were all chatting with her, she was talking about how wonderful imaginative play is and did end up asking us if we limit TV/Media time. But she raised two kids, children whose both parents were in the entertainment industry no less, and they are successful and normal and her daughter is apparently a great mom, so I think that we all listened to her advice (probably better than if our own moms or mother-in-laws were giving it).

Being a good parent doesn’t mean you can’t ever help guide your adult children. It just means that you have to choose your battles.

She wants to be a silly and active grandmother, just like her own grandmother who she remembered playing with down on the floor when she was in her nineties. She even has a silly name to go along with her silly grandma persona: Lalo.

Apps (Apple) came up with that. I just said one day, “Who am I?” because I had all these for ideas names. I didn’t really want to be Nana or Grandma. We’d had funny nicknames in our family, and so I was dropping some of these names, (and she didn’t like any of them).

And then, I said, “Well, who am I?” And she thought a minute and she said, “Lalo.” And she laughed and laughed and laughed. I guess she thought it was funny. About an hour later, I said, “Who am I?” She said, “Lalo.” So, that stuck.

Little Fockers opened December 22. It’s a great movie to watch at this time of the year because you can take a break from your own family drama while you laugh at someone else’s misfortune.

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**Disclosure: Universal Studios invited me to attend the junket and paid for some of my lodging expenses, and I was asked to share the interviews with the readers. My opinions are my own.

Written by 5 Minutes for Mom contributor Jennifer Donovan

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