Meet Later Mom Jeryl Prescott Gallien

AGE: 56
RESIDENCE: North Hollywood
AGES OF YOUR CHILDREN:  Gave birth to two boys, 17 & 15 years old – I also have four bonus children with my husband of two years – 17, 26, 31 & 34

For details on Jeryl’s background as an actress, visit

What was your road to parenthood like?  I got married at 36, gave birth to my first son at 38 and my youngest two weeks before I turned 41.  I was a late bloomer who spent my 20s and 30s in college (I have a PhD) and working and partying and traveling :). But I always knew I wanted to be a mother.

Do you think it is challenging to balance parenting, a personal life and professional pursuits?  I think it’s useful to consider how the three actually don’t compete. There is a time for everything. When the kids were infants, especially when I was breastfeeding, the order of my priorities was crystal clear: the boys have to eat! I didn’t really feel I was missing anything. No job, no personal desire can interfere with that.  I passed on a couple of acting jobs when the boys were really small.  Then, as they grew, I was able to take them to auditions, travel with them to job locations, and/or appreciate their father making special memories with them while mom was away.  Professionally, the experience of motherhood has enhanced the actor in me and the teacher in me (my previous profession).

What do they think of your career?  Do they want to follow in your footsteps?  Both boys have a couple of acting credits.  Neither has a passion for acting.  They love movies, and they think a few of my projects are “cool.”  That’s pretty much all I’ve gotten out of them – tough audience.   

What do you see as the positives and challenges of having a child at age 35 or over?  I never regretted waiting until after 35 to have my boys until my friends’ kids started graduating from high school and college over the last six or seven years.  These friends are still young and energetic enough to leave that “empty nest” and have a wonderful time exploring the world.  I had a few pangs of jealousy!  Nevertheless, as I prepare to take my oldest to college next week, I still have the energy to plan a getaway or two with my hubby while my youngest has some quality time with his dad.

As an older mother, I’m glad I represented hope and possibility to some younger friends who are actors.  I know of two specifically who questioned me often about my experience when I met them ten or eleven years ago.  Both waited, both are parents now, and both are enjoying being young mothers over 35.

What did you most want to teach your children when they were young?  I wanted to expose them to a wide variety of people and encourage them to embrace diversity.

Any thoughts/wisdom/advice to share for those endeavoring to ease into the transition of parenting an 18 year old or above?  May the good Lord bless you!  Parenting my 17 year old is challenging because, to him, I know less than any living human.  But seriously, I’m loving the experience of watching him become a young man.  I’m trying to listen to him and his anxieties and remind him that he’s young.  So young.  I encourage him to be imminently teachable, coachable – to learn from the wisdom and mistakes of us old heads.

Are you conscious of raising them to be a Mensch (decent, responsible person)?  I am. Particularly, I deliberately surrounded these young African American men with strong females.  We watched documentaries that raised questions about sexual assault.  We followed closely stories of and debates about social injustice in the news and in history.  We have a nondenominational faith community.  I encourage them to talk with me about anything, and I try not to judge.  Their dad and I have always told them to consider waiting until 30 to get married and/or have children.  I remember about six-ish years ago, they were watching some interviews with NBA players and my youngest ran into the kitchen: “Mom, Steph Curry already has a wife and children and he’s only 26! That’s young!”

Do you have any particular memories from your own childhood that inspired you to make memories with your kids?  I grew up in a small, traditional Black Southern church that gave me a lot of support and confidence as a young Black girl.  That experience made me seek out a faith community where they had children’s church and summer experiences.  These days, I often share links to our Pastor’s messages that he posts on YouTube, and we talk about the messages.

I grew up in a family that kept a lot of secrets.  I encourage more openness with my boys.

How do you practice good self care and role model for your family?  The boys know I love to play tennis, I cherish time with friends, and I enjoy watching sports.  The boys love their video games, but they also spend time with friends and time outside.  They watch more movies with their friends than sporting events, and they love eating lots of good food.

What words of wisdom would you like to share for someone contemplating parenthood over age 35?   I expected to be the oldest mother at preschool and kindergarten.  I wasn’t!   I assumed I’d have little in common with the other moms.  Not so.  Try not to worry.  There are many ways to mother and so many kinds of mothers.  Do yourself a favor – find a supportive group of mothers (not a judgmental group) and share your stories, fears, tricks, and concerns.  Share over wine and food.  Hopefully, you’ll discover that there is value in modeling self care, friendship, and kindness for your kids.  And you’ll discover that, despite all of the worrying and self doubt, you’re a damn good mom.

On the subject of pursuing your passions at any age….what is the best advice you can offer a later mom? Acting is my third career, and I’m contemplating a fourth. It is never too late.  As I always tell my boys, “If you don’t like your life, change it.”

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