Meryl Streep is always the ''bad cop'' with her kids.

The 'Silkwood' actress admits her husband Donald gets away with spoiling their four grown-up children Henry, Mamie, Grace and Louisa, while she is left to be the villain.

Quizzed about who the boss is at home, she told France's Madame Figaro magazine: ''I have to pay tribute to Donald, my husband! Before he left home, my older son was the one who had power over his sisters. But normally it's pretty balanced.

''We try and share everything, my husband and I, but like always, I'm cast as the villain, I'm the bad cop who punishes whereas the father says yes and consoles.''

Meryl is appreciative that her acting career has allowed her to spend more quality time at home with her family than most women's jobs.

She said: ''Being an actress isn't really the problem because it's a job that makes you more available than many others. If I had been an architect or a journalist, I would have been a lot less available. Many of my friends only have one week's holiday at Christmas and two in summer.

''Very often I work for four months then I have about five at home. My kids never knew exactly when I would be there, but I often was! I was an unpredictable mother, which meant they were always on high alert, a very good thing! The real problem is celebrity. It's very unstabilizing.''