updated 02/10/2009 AT 1:00 PM ET
•originally published 02/11/2009 AT 6:45 AM ET
Gretchen Mol doesn’t turn to books to tell her how to raise her son: The Life on Mars star relies on her gut.
“Just going with it is the only thing I know how to do,” Mol, 36, tells Cookie magazine’s March issue. “I’m not someone who reads up on everything and decides this is how we’re going to do things.”
Mol says instinct helps her better respond to 17-month-old son Ptolemy. “When he’s having a tantrum, I am not going to look it up in a book and say, ‘Okay, 14 months old? Check,’ ” she says. “I just deal with whatever is thrown at me.”
Mol also says she occasionally slips up.
“One morning I had to do a live news show,” she recalls, “and I called [husband] Kip [Williams] to say, ‘Turn the TV on.’ Ptolemy started crying. Of course it freaked him out. He doesn’t watch much TV. I just thought, I am so insensitive.”
“You bring who you are to motherhood,” Mol says, adding that her parenting skills are improving as she goes. “When you become a parent, there’s nothing you can do to change your life. I’m the same kind of person as a mother that I am in life: I try to be considerate; I like order.
“I’ll never be the mother who makes parenting look effortless,” Mol says, “but I wouldn’t trade my life, either.”