friendship

Are you ready for Angelina Jolie's guide to mothering?

Happy birthday Angelina – 39 today! And in her honour, iVillage editor Holly Wainwright reveals one almighty mum crush…

Seriously. I couldn’t love Angelina Jolie more if she were made of chocolate.

I am too old to have a celebrity crush. And I am more than aware that stars make terrible role models.  But if I have one, Angelina is it.

Imagine waking up as her one day. All, “Good morning, Brad. Hello, charming gaggle of impossibly cute children, where are we today? London? Beirut? Nice? Namibia?”

I love that Angelina used to be a crazy, drug-addled swinger (by her own admission). I love that she grew out of that and into another life of extremes – extreme mothering, extreme partnership, extreme travel, extremely high-profile humanitarian work. And I love that she can’t give a boring interview.

I know that my life is nothing like Jolie’s, other than we roughly appear to be the same gender. But after reading her pieces about parenthood, I am prepared to live by the central tenants of Ange’s announcements on mothering, and am planning to possibly have them tattooed on my children, in fetching sanskrit.

Brad and Angelina and almost all of their brood - Vivienne is missing - at the Maleficent premiere last week.Pic: USWeeklyTwitter.

Families are found, not made.

If you are a  female and have ever seen a magazine, you will know that Angelina and Brad have a half-half family of six adopted and biological children. Ange says that it was always going to be thus. "It was very important to me that I came together with a man to whom it didn't matter whether we ever had children, and was completely content only to adopt. And when I saw Brad with our children, and I saw that they really were his children... Then it became clear to me that this was a journey we should go on together, and that is was another way of being parents." She's talking about having a baby. Seriously, who talks like that? Angelina does.

Little babies are a bit boring.

Angelina was never less popular than when she dared to have Brad Pitt's child and suggest that she didn't really love her any more than her (then) two adopted children, Maddox and Zahara. “I think I feel so much more for Madd and Zee because they’re survivors, they came through so much,” she told Elle in 2007. “Shiloh seemed so privileged from the moment she was born. I have less inclination to feel for her…I met my other kids when they were six months old, they came with a personality. A newborn really is this… Yes, a blob! But now she’s starting to have a personality… I’m conscious that I have to make sure I don’t ignore her needs, just because I think the others are more vulnerable.” I'm not touching this one, Ange.

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Let your kids be who are they are...

That gorgeous little blonde person, Shiloh, is now the world's most famous celebrity tom-boy, the target of endless tabloid speculation (aged 8). For daring not to be a pink and fluffy celebrity baby fashion plate, Shiloh gets a lot of grief, but not from her mum. “I think she is fascinating, the choices she is making. And I would never be the kind of parent to force somebody to be something they are not. I think that is just bad parenting.” Me, too, Ange. Me too. We really should have coffee.

"She used to be a drug-addled swinger, by her own admission..." Angelina kisses her brother at the Oscars in 2000.

... As long as they're not actors.

Despite the fact that four of the Jolie-Pitt kids have now had cameos in their parents' movies, Angelina says acting's for crazies, "We're hoping that the kids don't become actors. We want them to be happy and do whatever they're interested in, but I think we're hoping to show them so many other ideas and other options that they won't want to act... I'd like them to do other things with their lives." Good luck with that one.

Wherever they are, they'll be fine as long as you're fine.

Angelina, Brad and co wake up in a different country every day, depending on where in the world needs their superpowers. Routine is not their thing. "Fortunately, my kids love to travel because I do and they're very worldly. What I love is that they can be in New York in a hotel in Manhattan and think it's so cool. But then I can bring them to the middle of Kenya and drop them in a tent with no TV and no nothing and they're just as happy, so I feel like that's what we are trying to do to balance them." Yes, yes, but - hot tip - Peppa Pig still plays on the Ipad in a tent in Kenya.

There is nothing sexier than seeing a man being awesome with his children.

Angelina loves a good dad. “It's such a beautiful and sexy quality in a man when he takes his responsibilities as a father very seriously. I still get very emotional when I watch Brad play with the children - he is so naturally devoted and joyful around them.” I think I'd get emotional watching Brad Pitt grout the bathroom tiles, but I completely get where she's coming from.

Kids need their grandparents. Even if they're annoying.

When your dad is a movie star who abandoned your beloved mother and famously told the press you had "mental problems", it's understandable you might not want him at every family barbecue. But Ange told Fairfax she's playing nice with John Voight these days for the sake of her kids. "We made an agreement, so my children would know him, that we would never speak about the past... It became very simple, that I didn't feel it was right for my kids not to know him and for him not to know them."

Do you have a guilty celebrity crush? 

CLICK THROUGH the gallery to see more photos of Angelina and her family…

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