Mother’s Day is more just a Sunday in May when you call your mom or take her to brunch. It’s an opportunity to recall of all the great things she’s done for you — things like teaching you to tie your shoes, bake a pumpkin pie, and put an outfit together. If you have kids, Mother’s Day is also a time to be spoiled by your own children — who, with any luck, will realize how much you’ve done for them. Valerie Bertinelli was very close to her mom when she was alive, and having her own son, Wolfie, has only made her appreciate her upbringing more.
In an exclusive interview with Woman’s World, the 63-year-old actor, TV host, and mom to Wolfgang Van Halen (a.k.a. Wolfie) plus a number of fur babies, spoke about what she appreciates and misses most about her late mother, how their relationship has influenced the bond she maintains with her son, and what she suggests you do to honor your mom this holiday.
Valerie Bertinelli’s Late Mother
Valerie’s mother, Nancy, passed away in 2019 after suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, which impacted her heart and limited her mobility. When Valerie was trying to launch her Hollywood career in her teenage years, Nancy drove her daughter to countless auditions — and it is apparent how grateful the successful actress is for that early support today.
Last August, Bertinelli shared a throwback photo of her mother on Instagram, along with two of her siblings. “I miss you Mom,” Bertinelli wrote in the caption. “I know you did your best. 💕I don’t think you fully understand until you’re a parent yourself (exhales).”
On Not Taking Your Mom For Granted
With the wisdom of distance and time, Bertinelli now sees her late mother as much more than a caretaker. Nancy was also an artist who made oil paintings of English cottages, still-life arrangements, and seascapes. “She never got how special she was,” Bertinelli tells Woman’s World. “So, when I think about my mom, my heart kind of breaks a little bit, because she was so smart. She was an artist and I have these beautiful paintings of hers, and she was a very talented baker and cook, and she never really appreciated it because it was just stuff she did. I know that as a child, I never appreciated it because it was stuff that I was just growing up around. But now that I don’t have her with me anymore, I miss that. I miss soaking up stuff that I didn’t even realize I was soaking up.”
It’s easy to take people for granted, especially when they’re always around. Kids might roll their eyes rather than listen to their parents’ advice — they’re naive enough to assume they know better. But Bertinelli thinks you should pay close attention instead. “If I could suggest to anyone who still has one of their parents or both parents with them, just soak up what you can,” she advises. “Find out what you can from them. Even if you are angry with them sometimes or they annoy you — because they are our parents and we’re going to be annoyed by our parents. I can say that, because I annoy the hell out of my son.”
Why Celebrating Mother’s Day Is So Important
Like the rest of us, Valerie Bertinelli just wants to be valued. “It’s nice to be thought of,” she admits of celebrating Mother’s Day. “I understand that all of these holidays are like… some people get annoyed because, ‘Oh my God, another holiday!’ But you know, moms deserve a special day to ourselves. We do so much that people don’t even realize we’re doing.
“I can only think back to my mom. My mom did so much without complaint. She just felt it was her job to do it and she did it lovingly most of the time — when we weren’t exasperating her. It’s kind of like a hidden person that does all these things that wouldn’t get done without them, so it’s really nice to appreciate them.”
Moms are the unsung heroes of our lives, sacrificing not only their bodies but their time and energy to help their children grow and thrive. In the US, moms statistically spend more time with their children than dads do — especially when their children are young. But sometimes the only way to truly understand your mom’s struggles and experiences is by becoming a mother yourself.
“I know that once I had Wolfie, I super appreciated my mom,” Bertinelli concludes. “I made sure that she felt loved, and when I couldn’t be with her, I sent her flowers. I used to also send her flowers on my birthday; because once I had Wolfie, it was like, ‘Oh yeah! You did all the work.’ Just out of nowhere I would look at my mom and it’s like, ‘You know what? I love you and I appreciate everything you’ve done for me, thank you.’ Just out of nowhere. It doesn’t have to be a special day. I’m telling you, us moms, we appreciate that.”
You heard it here first: You don’t need a national holiday to show your mom some tender recognition. We also love the idea of sending your mother flowers on your own birthday — after all, she’s the one who made your birth (and entire life!) possible.
Additional reporting by Deborah Evans Price.