09/19/2008 at 01:00 PM EDT
As a loving mother to her three children with husband Will Smith
– Trey, Jaden and Willow – Jada Pinkett Smith
can draw from her experience for her role as a strong single mom on the TNT drama pilot, which she is also executive producing, Time Heals
Pinkett Smith will play Nancy Hawthorne, which the network describes as the strong but caring director of a nursing hospital in North Carolina, a single mother who places the pain of others first.
In terms of her role off-screen, Pinkett Smith, 37, acknowledges that neither she nor Will exerts a particularly heavy hand.
"We're not strict but we definitely believe it's a very important component for rearing children," she told PEOPLE last month. "It creates safety for them. They understand that they need guidance."
Still, if a member of their brood wants to sneak an extra sweet, Pinkett Smith acknowledges with a laugh that her husband is the more lenient one.
"He's so lenient on that stuff," she says with a sigh. "Daddy tends to [say], 'Yeah! Have chocolate cake for dinner! It’s all right with me.' I'll come home and it's just, 'Has anyone had lunch?' 'Yeah, I had some Frosted Flakes!' "
1998: Inside Will & Jada's ultrasecret wedding!
Jada balances film and family time