Eva Mendes on parenting with Ryan Gosling and why she ‘enjoys the struggle’: ‘I feel like a better mum’

Eva Mendes is celebrating McHappy Day in the best possible way – with an early visit to a Ronald McDonald House, wearing a pair of Silly Socks strapped in under her platform heels.

The Hitch actress, 48, tells 9Honey Celebrity about the morning she’s had, speaking with families and meeting their children, adding she’s grown quite fond of her McHappy Day socks.

“They’re kind of cool, I’m feeling them,” she jokes, glancing at her ankles.

McHappy Day is tomorrow, Saturday, November 19, but in anticipation of Ronald McDonald House‘s biggest event of the year, their 2022 ambassador has spent her day visiting children.

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Eva Mendes rocks some Silly Socks at Ronald McDonald House, Westmead to celebrate McHappy Day 2022. The Hollywood actress is the ambassador for McHappy Day 2022.
Eva Mendes rocks some Silly Socks at Ronald McDonald House, Westmead to celebrate McHappy Day 2022. (McHappy Day)

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Mendes explains that the charity is close to her heart, thanks to an experience that happened within her family. 

“My cousin’s little baby had neuroblastoma when he was one, he’s in remission now. He’s doing great, but those years of treatment were beyond difficult, they were hell,” she says.

“Ronald McDonald Houses, they kept my cousin and her family together, they provided her with a support system, and I saw how important that was for her.”

Mendes is a mother of two herself, sharing daughters Esmeralda, eight, and Amada, six, with partner Ryan Gosling. The family has temporarily moved to Sydney while the actor films his next movie, The Fall Guy.

Eva Mendes, McHappy Day 2020, interview, Ryan Gosling, The Place Beyond The Pines, premiere, Toronto International Film Festival, 2012
Mendes and Gosling share two daughters, and have temporarily moved to Sydney while he films his upcoming film, The Fall Guy. (Getty)

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Mendes admits the move hasn’t been the easiest, and she and Gosling, like most parents, are still trying to figure it out.

“I definitely haven’t figured out a balance yet. It’s kind of a day-to-day thing. I ask people for advice all the time,” she says.

“I would like to be a bit more balanced, but right now, especially now that we’re living in Sydney, I notice things like, I don’t have my sister here, I don’t have his sister, I don’t have his mum, I don’t have my mum, so the work is falling on us completely,” she says.

“It’s definitely a bit more stressful, but at the same time, it’s like ‘Look, we’re here, we’re making some really fun memories.'”

When asked how she gets through those difficult times when Gosling might be off on long shooting days and she’s feeling overwhelmed juggling the kids, plus her own business ventures – like her kitchen sponge business, Skura Style – Mendes says something quite shocking.

“How do I say this? I like the struggle, because I feel the growth afterwards,” she says.

Eva Mendes at Ronald McDonald House, Westmead to celebrate McHappy Day 2022. The Hollywood actress is the ambassador for McHappy Day 2022.
“How do I say this? I like the struggle, because I feel the growth afterwards.” (McHappy Day)

“If one of the kids is sick and Ryan’s working, then it’s me with them up all night, but if Ryan’s home, and one of them is sick, then he’s the one up all night. Those times are hard, but we do it together, and I think there’s a beauty in the struggle.

“Maybe at that moment, at 4am with no sleep, maybe I’m not enjoying it that second, but I do, in hindsight, go, ‘Oh wow, I really grew from that, I feel like a better mum because of that.”

Mendes also opened up about the outlook she has now, as a mother.

“Well, my respect for my mother just went through the roof, ” she says candidly.

“I didn’t think I could respect her any more, but the fact that she did what she did at the time that I was growing up, amazes me.

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“We didn’t have any money, and we were raised paycheck to paycheck, so how she raised us, whilst still being a fun mum, I have no idea.”

The actress says over the last few years, she has learnt to really respect self-care and taking time for her mind.

“For me, I realise I’m the best version of a mum when I’m taking care of myself, sometimes it feels like, ‘I can’t make my therapy session because of this’, or ‘Amada’s sick’, you know, you have legit reasons,” she says.

“But I realise when I start cancelling those things, or even gym sessions, that I’m not the best version of myself for them.”

Eva Mendes visits families at Ronald McDonald House, Westmead to celebrate McHappy Day 2022. The Hollywood actress is the ambassador for McHappy Day 2022.
Mendes visited numerous families at Ronald McDonald House ahead of McHappy Day on Saturday, November 19. (McHappy Day)

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This isn’t the first time Mendes has supported Ronald McDonald House. She took on the same role as ambassador in 2020 but admits this year, things are a little better.

“When I was ambassador in 2020, I was only able to meet the families via Zoom,” she explains, “So now, being here physically, it’s so much better.”

In fact, Mendes reveals she had quite an emotional visit at the start of her day.

“I got to meet two kids who I actually first met via Zoom in 2020. Their names are Conor and Lola, Conor is only five, and pretty much his whole life he’s been dealing with an illness and treatment,” she says.

“To have the chance to actually be with him, and Lola today – it was really emotional.”

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