12/14/2009 at 01:00 AM EST
Is motherhood different in your 40s than when Isabella and Connor [her teenage children with ex-husband Tom Cruise
] were babies?
It's different. At 25, I was traveling all around the world. Now we're based in Tennessee. It is a quieter life.
What do you love most about being a mom?
The selflessness. I love watching them become who they are. Sunday Rose says, "Mama, Dada." People don't believe this, but she touches her heart for "love you." That brought us to our knees. It still does.
Do you and Keith hope to have another baby?
We always say, "If it's God's plan."
How do you handle female fans screaming for your husband?
I love him so much, so to see that other people love him and appreciate him ... I feel like I love them back.
What is one mistake women make in love?
San Jose, Calif.
Losing their identity. It's important to still have a strong sense of who you are. Easier said than done.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE NEW THING THAT SUNDAY ROSE HAS LEARNED?
AMANDA MUSTARD Brunner, Ont.
She now points at anything and goes, "Bug!" There was a little sprinkler up in the corner of the hotel room, and she kept pointing and going, "Bug!" Keith had to hold her up and prove that it wasn't a bug.
IS KEITH ROMANTIC?
CHRISTY KRAUS Riverton, Wyo.
Deeply—that's what brought us together. He still sends me flowers and asks me out. I do my little things too—giving notes and little presents, taking him out to dinner.
Which of your characters is most like yourself?
Ada in Cold Mountain
—[because] of her shyness. And the awkwardness and the intensity of her love. When I fall in love, that's it, I'm gone. I'll always be a romantic.
Do you ever do mundane chores?
ANNA MARIE PUGH
I love grocery shopping. Sunday sits in the cart and points. At Target she chose her Halloween outfit [a leopard].
Do you like to cook?
I'm a terrible cook! I cook chicken for Keith, and it's always dry. I'm a much better person to cook for. I will eat almost anything.
What is your biggest quirk?
I will order a cappuccino and say, "All foam and very little coffee." Keith and I love to get up early [5:30 a.m.], which is strange for a musician.
Has motherhood had an impact on your humanitarian work?
Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
It stretches your heart. The women who [are victims] of violence are scared to speak out—they feel there is nowhere to go, no one to protect them. So that's why I want to be a voice.
If you could tell your 20-year-old self anything, what would you say?
"Don't worry." There are sleepless nights when you wake up worried about the future. All those things are inconsequential in the big picture.
IS SUNDAY ROSE CLOSE WITH YOUR OLDER CHILDREN ISABELLA AND CONNOR?
JANA STAGNER San Antonio
Yeah, we are actually going to be having Thanksgiving together. Sunday Rose now wears Bella Jane's pearl bracelet—a tiny seed pearl bracelet that Bella had when she was 18 months. I [tell her], "That's your big sister Bella's bracelet." She holds it up and says, "Bracelet!"