Parenting

Earnest Quotes About Parenthood From Matthew McConaughey

The actor and his wife, Camila Alves, have two sons and a daughter.
McConaughey and his family attend the 2019 Texas Medal Of Arts Awards at the Long Center for the Performing Arts on February 27, 2019, in Austin, Texas.
McConaughey and his family attend the 2019 Texas Medal Of Arts Awards at the Long Center for the Performing Arts on February 27, 2019, in Austin, Texas.

For Matthew McConaughey, fatherhood is a mix of discipline and “alright alright alright.”

The actor and his wife, Camila Alves, have a daughter, Vida, and two sons, Levi and Livingston. Since becoming a dad in 2008, he’s opened up about his approach to raising kids, work-life balance, family nights and more.

In honor of his birthday, here are 13 quotes about parenthood from McConaughey.

On Becoming A Father

“The only thing I’ve ever known I’ve wanted to be, since I was eight years old, 100 per cent knew it, clear, natural law, was to be a dad. I always knew I wanted to be a dad. I’ve always revered that as the greatest thing a man can do, be a father. It’s the greatest privilege and the greatest responsibility.”

On Discipline

“[I’m] a fan of discipline, I’m a fan of responsibility and I’m a fan of consequences to prepare [my kids] for when they’re out of our house at 18. Because [in] the real world, you can do the same deed and it doesn’t just give you a demerit, you can end up in jail or worse.”

On Marriage And Co-Parenting

“Best thing you could probably do as a father is make sure they see how you love their mother. The secret to being a husband? Look, I’ll say this: Neither one of us have really tried to change the other one. We got into our relationship because we really admired and were turned on by who the other person was before we met them, before we got together. And we do not try to change each other. If anything, she pushes me to be more of myself and I hope I do the same for her.”

On Playtime

“If the sun is shining, you need to be outside, just like my mother told us as kids ... I mean, [we do] a lot of outside play if the weather is good. My son [Levi] is really into piano right now. My daughter is really into drawing and making things. Anybody who’s got kids knows you can go to Toys ‘R’ Us and spend $100, but sometimes that cardboard box or that pile of dirt outside is the best gift, and it’ll last for months, and they go back to it and back to it.”

On Friday Nights At Home

“Friday night’s the no-curfew night. It’s pizza night, it’s a movie night, it’s ‘all the kids can sleep with Mama and Papa night.’ That night can go late. Sometimes we have to lie about the time and say it’s midnight when it’s really 10 ’cause we can tell it’s gonna go to 2.”

On His Kids’ Education

“I hope they’ll get a general education in humanities. I know liberal arts school was important for me. It’s sort of the furniture that goes on in the world and then you get to choose what you want to specifically go into. I needed liberal arts in my first two years of college ’cause I didn’t know what I wanted to do, and I don’t think most kids know what they want to do, and you shouldn’t. Don’t feel the pressure to know what you want to do even going into college. Look, there’s a lot of tests I passed in school. And I remember I had this joke with a friend, ‘Hey man, how’d the Liberty Bell crack?’ and he goes, ‘I don’t know but I passed that test.’”

On Raising Individuals

“We mix the ‘alright, alright, alright’ into the discipline. The main thing is that my wife and I, Camila, we have a similar moral bottom line. And as you learn, if you have kids, every day they get older, you realize how much more it’s really DNA. We can nudge ’em and shepherd ’em, et cetera et cetera, but they are who they are. And right now, I’m just happy to say we have three healthy ones and they’re very much individuals.”

On Priorities

“When you’ve got family, you have to pick your extracurriculars. Whoever has kids knows that, man. You have to pick and choose and go ‘wait, which is the one I really want to do because I ain’t watching all the Saturday’s football and I’m not watching all of Sunday’s. I’m not going to be a kayaker, a snow skier and a marathon runner.’ No, you gotta zero in when you got kids and a family.”

On His Favorite Family Moments

“It usually involves a lot of cooking. We stay home, we cook a lot. And then music. It really gets nice when it turns into, after the movie, into a bit of a dance party. That’s when we’re really rockin’.”

On Sticking To Acting While His Kids Are Young

“I’m really enjoying being an actor for hire. I’ve been offered to produce some things and I’ve said, ‘No thank you.’ I’m really enjoying my time getting ready for a role, my man, my characters, going to work, doing my best to nail it, finishing work and going, ‘That was a beautiful time. Thank you. See you down the road. I’m going back to my family.’”

On Birthdays

“Levi wanted to go see BTS for his birthday. They’re South Korean, and my son is walking around the house months before he wants to go to this concert, and he knows all the songs. He was rapping Korean ... We had a blast. We got out of our seats. We got right down in the pit, and we broke a sweat dancing.”

On His Youngest

“He’s a literal handful, meaning he’s the comedian as well as the bruiser. He sometimes doesn’t like to use his words enough to get his point across.”

On Balance

“Early on, Camila said she’d love to have kids but there was one deal, ‘You go, we go’, which is a dream for me. So if I’m working, that’s part of my deal. I come with the family, so ... They’re always with me at work.”