Motherhood. We know it’s a full-time job—an exhausting full-time job—where our days are filled with tiny tyrants, dirt and food everywhere, epic adventures and sporadic nap times. It’s a full-time job where the pay is long hugs and wet kisses. It’s also a full-time job that we never leave—whether we’re sitting at the table with our family or we’re hundreds of miles away. We are mothers and nothing will ever change that.
The undeniable truth is that it’s hard to be a mother, but we love it because we love our kids. We love every one of those big and little moments we get to have with our babies. Unfortunately, when we also have full-time careers, we miss out on a lot of those moments. We come home from work one day and our baby is suddenly walking. Every moment is precious and we find ourselves losing out on the memories—ones that pictures really just don’t capture.
Celeb moms are no different. Sometimes working a full day for them means leaving before their kid is up for the day and not coming home until days—or even months—later. It’s definitely stressful. For some celeb moms, that’s just not an acceptable way to go through motherhood. It means making the sacrifice—trading the career for being a mom.
16 Shania Twain—Pop Star Gone Nursery Pop Star
Country Pop Queen Shania Twain can do it all. She can sing, dance, write and outperform the best of them. This legendary singer lived in the spotlight, lived on the road and was a household name. It’s no wonder she decided to leave all of that behind with the birth of her son Eja. Leaving Canada and the United States behind, Twain and her husband Robert Lange relocated to Switzerland to give Eja 100% of their attention.
Her days singing country pop songs were readily replaced with nursery songs. We can’t think of a better way to get away from it all! Her retirement from it all didn’t last long as she returned to the music industry six years after being away. Time changed nothing as the Country Pop Queen quickly regained her title.
15 Jenna Fischer—Trading Office Life For Home Life
In 2011, Jenna Fischer—known for her role as Pam Beesly in The Office—took her leave of absence from Hollywood to put all of her focus on raising her son, Weston. The lovely mama isn’t entirely done with offices, yet. Instead, she’s traded up for dentist offices, eye doctors and more as she makes sure she takes the best care of her little boy.
Fischer adorably announced her retirement with a simple tweet that included the tag #andlotsoftimewithmybaby. There’s nothing sweeter than her dedication to him! Retirement was short-lived as she gave Weston enough time to have a fantastic hands-on mommy time for the first few years of life. In 2015, Fischer returned to Hollywood—starring in You, Me, and the Apocalypse—but most assuredly we know she continues to put Weston’s needs ahead of her career!
14 Jamie Lynn Spears—From Zoey 101 To Mom 101
In 2007, Zoey 101 star Jamie Lynn Spears announced the pregnancy of her daughter—Maddie. Being a youthful 16 years old didn’t stop this stunning mama from working her behind off to provide the best life possible for her daughter. To do so, she retired from the limelight and focused on ways to build a better future for her little family.
From college to the Nashville music scene, Spears spent years growing into her role as mom and into the person she wanted to be. It wasn’t until 2013 that Spears walked back into the limelight with the birth of her country music career. We see those days of nursery rhymes, music lessons and soulful searches paid off as she was able to launch a highly successful new career to provide a new life for herself and Maddie.
13 Julia Roberts—Pretty Woman To Pretty Mama
Actress Julia Roberts became an icon with her award-winning performance in Pretty Woman, but this pretty lady separated from the life of Hollywood to take on the role of pretty mama. This leading lady made the choice to walk away from the spotlight to give her children—Hazel, Henry, and Phinnaeus—as normal a life as possible.
New Mexico became their sweet abode as she focused on all the normal parenting things she could. Both her and her husband Danny Moder have openly stated that most of their time is spent transporting their kids between sporting events. That sounds like a great way to spend time to us. While her career hasn’t come to a complete end, Roberts has severely limited the projects she takes on and weighs how they will affect her family.
12 Jessica Biel—The New Mama Promise
In 2015, Jessica Biel—and her husband Justin Timberlake—expanded their family by one. With the birth of their son, Silas, the new mom walked away from her active involvement in Hollywood. The new mom was determined not to miss any of those big milestones and we don’t blame her!
In almost three years, she’s slowly disappeared from our sight—only making the occasional Instagram post to honor her husband or son. She certainly seems to have a fantastic life and is definitely enjoying every minute of it. Her stay-at-home mom title includes setting a phenomenal example for Silas as she continues to be actively involved in charitable causes. Their son is certain to grow up knowing the importance of making a difference in the lives of others. There’s no better way to start instilling those humble values.
11 Demi Moore—The Demanding Diva’s Small-Town Life
Demanding diva Demi Moore has a reputation of being hard to work with. From awards to leading roles, her limelight life only added to her attitude. However, in 1988, this leading lady traded the diva role for a much humbler one as she left Hollywood for Hailey, Idaho. With her husband Bruce Willis, she started a simple, down-home country life, where filming was minimal and paparazzi couldn’t find them.
The choice started with the birth of their oldest daughter and benefited all three of their daughters—Rumer, Tallulah and Scout. Choosing the simpler life, Moore was able to keep her daughters out of the limelight to give them a quiet, normal childhood. It’s a choice we absolutely love. As her daughters grew older, Moore gave herself the chance to become actively involved in the movie industry again.
10 Lauren Ambrose—Agent Einstein Steps Back
In 2012, Lauren Ambrose introduced the world to her son—Orson Handel. Since then, the actress famous for her role as Agent Einstein decided it was time her career was put on the back burner. Motherhood was the role she wanted to put all of her focus on and inadvertently the role gave right back to her.
She’s openly said that being a mother has made her a better actress. Life as a mother definitely proved to be hectic, but this mama found she thrives in the fast pace. We wish we had a bit of what keeps her going! From nursing while reading scripts to relaxing weekends as a family, Ambrose has worked hard to make sure her son knows he’s the front and center of her happy little life.
9 Poppy Montgomery—Not Gone Without A Trace
Trading in her days chasing down missing persons for days spent chasing down her children, Poppy Montgomery—star of CBS’s Without a Trace—opted out of Hollywood in favor of her son. When her son was born, she had worked hard to maintain the balance of acting and home life.
Unfortunately, she missed out on a good portion of his first year of life thanks to 20-hour days on set. In a bold move, she left acting behind to pursue the full-time mommy career and we commend her for it! Describing mommy-hood as intense, she’s only stated that she loves being at home to take care of her children—Jackson and Violet. Her hiatus was a brief four years before she was back and ready to build on her career again.
8 Phoebe Cates—Switching Out Gremlins
Movie star and dream girl Phoebe Cates made a name for herself in the ’80s films such as Gremlins and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. This ’80s queen disappeared from the big screen in 1994 for the big switch to full-time motherhood. With her husband Kevin Kline, Cates makes sure that her little gremlins—Owen and Frankie—were raised with someone always at home.
As they grew up, she set forth to live her entrepreneurship dream and opened up her own boutique while simultaneously setting a fantastic example for her kids. Even with both children grown, Cates has no intention of returning to acting. Her final appearance on the big screen was in 2001 for a single movie—done as a favor to her best friend Jennifer Jason Leigh.
7 Candace Cameron Bure—Building A New Full House
We know her as DJ from Full House, but Candace Cameron Bure opted for the new title of mom when she left Hollywood in 2001. Her life has been one big full house of its own as she raises her three children—Natasha, Lev and Maksim. While she has stated it was hard to leave her acting career behind, Bure made the best out of motherhood and fell in love with her new job.
We’re sure her children were thrilled to have her at home to balance the chaos of a big household! After 10 years away, Bure ended her hiatus and took on the new challenge of balancing older children and her thriving acting career. Much to our happiness, she hasn’t strayed far from the home life as she recently reprised her role as DJ in Fuller House.
6 Rhea Wahlberg—From Model To Model Mom
From Elle to Marie Claire to Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows, Rhea Durham—now Wahlberg—was a model to envy. She had the looks, she had the boyfriend and her career was thriving. However, after a decade of dating her then-boyfriend Mark Wahlberg, she got married and transformed her life.
Together, the Wahlbergs have four children—Michael, Brendan, Ella and Grace. Trading in stilettos for sneakers, Wahlberg dedicated to life as a stay-at-home mom in 2006 with the kind of grace we all definitely envy. Her life is filled with sports games, vacations and building the perfect home for their kids. Over 10 years later, she’s still enjoying her stay-at-home mom life. She has started dabbling in a bit of reality TV as she’s made an appearance on her husband’s show Wahlburgers.
5 Kellie Shanygne Williams—Family Matters
Kellie Shanygne Williams—best known for her role as Laura Lee Winslow in Family Matters—built her life on a lavish acting career. However, after marrying Hannibal Jackson, Williams traded out her acting career for another version of Family Matters—the built at home kind. With the birth of her first child, she retired in 2011 to make sure their children had all the attention they required.
The trend continues as family is the center of her life. Her days are spent chasing after her two children—Hannah and John. The former actress has stayed out of the limelight to assure her entire focus is on making the most out of her family time. It’s a dedication we strongly admire and hope Williams is enjoying every moment of her new life.
4 Debra Winger—Best Actress Becomes Best Mama
Oscar-winning actress Debra Winger was at the height of her acting career when she left it all in a drastic change of pace in 1995. Winger traded the high life for the mama life as she put her focus on raising her two children—Gideon and Noah. Her simple life included days with her children, hours spent teaching, the occasional indie project and she even published her own book.
The simple life suited her, and she was able to give her kids the best life she could imagine outside of Hollywood. After years away, she returned to her acting career when she felt it better suited her family’s needs. This award-winning actress still manages to balance family, career and more in a way we wish we could get pointers on!
3 Robin Wright—House Of Kids
House of Cards, The Princess Bride and Wonder Woman actress Robin Wright and her then-husband, Sean Penn, realized that the eclectic culture of Hollywood just wasn’t the right recipe for their children. While still maintaining the balance of work and home life, the two relocated to northern California for a quieter life.
The move didn’t just benefit their children—it was something they felt would benefit the two of them as well. Working hard, she showcased a strong balance of values for her children—Dylan and Hopper—to assure they would grow up and know how to balance the fame Hollywood brings with a normal lifestyle. It’s something we greatly admire in a celeb mom. The values Wright instilled by example were well needed as both children are following in their parents’ footsteps.
2 Meg Tilly—The Leave It To Beaver Mom
Known for her eclectically bold appearances in The Big Chill and Agnes of God, Meg Tilly has made a huge impression on us. This impression made her sudden leave from Hollywood sting. Tilly decided that giving up her career to stay at home and raise her three children—Emily, David and Will—was the right move for her. It was a sad realization after she worked the first few years of her life and moved her kids around with her.
The decision caused her daughter to lose her best friend and broke her daughter’s heart—something we completely feel with her. The change suited her as she aimed to become a Leave it to Beaver mom with a hot breakfast on the table every morning and fresh cookies after school.
1 Leelee Sobieski—All American Mom
American actress Leelee Sobieski—best known for her role in Never Been Kissed—has been in the Hollywood spotlight since she was a teenager. A first-generation American, she readily took advantage of the creative industry and all it had to offer.
However, Sobieski retired from acting in 2012. Loving mother to her two children Louisianna and Martin, she felt the pull of Hollywood distracted her from her ability to be the best mom possible. Her focus just wasn’t there, which bothered her.
With husband Adam Kimmel, she spends her days chasing after her kids and keeping busy—from learning to ride a bike to outdoor adventures. Her leave was short-lived as she came back in 2016 for a single film, The Last Film Festival. Since then, she enjoys the perks of being just a mom.