Charlize Theron is getting candid about motherhood, and reflecting on how much she has changed since becoming a parent.
The Mad Max: Fury Road actress first became a mom back in 2012, when she adopted daughter Jackson, 11, followed by her second daughter August, seven, both from her native South Africa.
Her daughters' adoption came five years after she founded the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project in 2007, which partners with varying community organizations to support African youth, and she credits her decision to adopt to her early exposure to orphanages.
Speaking with People at at Town & Country's 10th Annual Philanthropy Summit, Charlize opened up about how her daughters have changed her worldview, and even her own relationship with her mother.
"[Being] a parent in general is a nice hard," she explained, adding: "When you're in it, you're like, 'I'm never going to survive this.' And then you get to the other side, you're like, 'Oh my God, this is amazing. I can't believe I did that.'"
She also noted it's the philanthropic work that she has done in South Africa and beyond, and the strength of the African youth that inspires her through challenging moments, saying: "When it gets hard, you have to just remember that you can survive this because some of these young people have survived so much… That's the thing that drives me when it gets really dark and I just go, 'Why are we doing this? Does this really matter?'"
Charlize continued: "You just think to yourself, if they can have that fire in their belly living in these circumstances, then God damn it, we should have a tenth of that," maintaining: "It makes you realize that happiness and enjoying this precious life that we have takes very little."
Further giving insight into her role as mom, she said: "Everything about them comes first – what they need, who they are," continuing: "Outside of [work], I'm an Uber driver. I drive all my kids all day, all night, to all their activities," before joking: "In the moment, I'm like, 'I hope you guys remember this.' They're like, 'Remember what?' I'm like, 'Exactly.'"
The doting mom also credited her daughters for teaching her things not only about the world but about herself too, and as she recalled her daughters showing her their latest findings from a National Geographic issue, she said: "In the moment, you're like, 'Oh, that's funny,'" before adding: "When you think about it, there's actually real power in the innocence of what that is for them, and we lose that the older we get, so it's great to have these two nuggets."
Plus, she maintained: "I've always wanted to have an open conversation with my kids and I want them to feel like they can come and talk to me about anything.
"When they have brought up something that is inappropriate, I always think, 'Don't be stern. Just be cool because they're bringing this to you. They feel safe enough to bring this to you,' and I want to keep that going."
Charlize added that her daughters have also made her reflect about her own relationship with her mom, noting: "When you're actually in [parenthood] and you're experiencing it, the evidence is right there, explaining: "You understand how you could have been so much better as a child."
Get the lowdown on the biggest, hottest celebrity news, features and profiles coming out of the U.S. Sign up to our HELLO! Hollywood newsletterand get them delivered straight to your inbox.