Eva Mendes was not interested in motherhood until she met the love of her life. As she tells Women’s Health, meeting Ryan Gosling changed her path in more ways than she could have ever imagined.

“Ryan Gosling happened,” Mendes, 45, said. “I mean, falling in love with him. Then it made sense for me to have … not kids, but his kids. It was very specific to him.”

The pair now share two daughters, Esmerelda, 4, and Amada, 2. She adds that her “amazing support group” of family members who help out make everything easier.

“Ryan’s mom, my mom, Ryan’s and my sisters. It’s a village that helped us,” Mendes shared. “My heart goes out to women who do this alone. I basically come from a single-parent household; although I love my dad, my mom mostly raised four of us on her own.”

And while her life as a Hollywood glamazon is inevitably filled with luxury, she tries to not accentuate that side of her persona.

“What I try to emphasize is that I don’t let them see me put attention to how I dress. They’ve never seen me get ready for something; they’ve never seen me at work. Which is fine, for whoever wants to do it that way, but the way I keep it normal is by not letting them see me in these situations. I’m just Mom. And I’m more than happy to just be Mom,” she explained.

She says she and Gosling are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel in terms of baby-toddler craziness. “We’re just starting to get out of survival mode,” Mendes shared. “I’m starting to feel like a person again.”