2nd October 2006 Kate Winslet playing a mother in her new film and with husband Sam Mendes and their two-year-old son Joe On the face of it, Kate Winslet seems to have found the perfect balance between stardom and family life. She is continually photographed with her two children having fun, looking relaxed and dressed casually, yet she is equally at home on the red carpet in a glamorous designer gown, looking every inch the film star. But now Kate has decided to give up making movies for a while to concentrate solely on being a mum. She reached the decision after her latest role in a film called Little Children, in which she stars as Sarah Pierce, a mother who is entirely disconnected, both emotionally and physically, from her child. "It was very trying to play a mother who basically couldn't feel close to or look after the needs of her child," says Kate. "It was disturbing to put myself into that woman's head and it made me all the more aware of my own responsibilities as a mother. "It was such a cathartic experience to portray somebody who can't cope with her life that it reminded me how much I need my own children. "That's why I've decided to take a year off to be with the kids and watch them grow and just enjoy the feeling of being very motherly." It is going to be a big change for Kate, who celebrates her 31st birthday this week. She has made three films in the past year and is continually being offered new roles but Winslet is convinced that she is making the right decision - and that she will have no problem returning to work. "I've done enough good work in my career not to be worried or torn about not working," says Winslet, who has previously received four Oscar nominations. "My life is very good and I need to switch off from movies and just be a parent for a while." Kate has two children - Mia Honey, five, from her marriage to director Jim Threapleton (the couple divorced in 2001), and Joe Alfie, two, with her Oscar-winning director husband Sam Mendes.