Parenting

Funny And Earnest Parenting Quotes From Steve Carell

The "Office" star and his wife, Nancy, are parents to Elisabeth and John.

Steve Carell does not shy away from discussing parenthood.

The actor and his wife, Nancy, have a teenage son and daughter, John and Elisabeth. Over the years, he’s opened up about the wild journey of fatherhood, from funny kid gifts to folding tiny clothes to the good cop-bad cop balancing act.

The Carell family at the premiere of "Beautiful Boy" on Oct. 8, 2018.
The Carell family at the premiere of "Beautiful Boy" on Oct. 8, 2018.

In honor of his birthday, here are 19 parenting quotes from Carell.

On Becoming A Dad

“When we had kids, my career completely changed. I’ll never forget the first audition after my daughter was born. I nailed it because I didn’t care anymore. Before that, I hadn’t had great success auditioning for TV shows, it was spotty at best, but for that audition, it wasn’t a life or death thing. All I wanted to do was get home to my baby, and it changed my perspective on my career and on the world, on who I was. The world was so much bigger than me or any of my concerns, and so much richer, too. Having children is by far the most important and best thing that we ever did.”

On Good Cop vs. Bad Cop

“I try to be a hybrid. You walk a fine line there. You want your kids to have respect; you don’t want to coddle them. You don’t want to be their buddy — but you do. You want to have that connection, but you also want them to respect you when you need to draw the line because kids need a sense of structure.”

On The Hard Part Of Parenting

“The most challenging part of being a dad is not succumbing to your kids’ cuteness all the time. That can set a dangerous precedent. You’re so in love with your children that you’d do anything for them; that’s not necessarily the best thing.”

On The Wonder Of Children

“Children are very smart, in their own stupid way. A child’s brain is like a sponge, and you know how smart sponges are. My children are like little processors. They pick up all kinds of things, then process that into information. And what is knowledge, really, but processed information? We must always strive to be overly processed, like our children.”

On Dealing With Sneaky Kids

“We try to present a unified front as parents. The toughest thing is that they will play one of you against the other. Kids are very cagey. They’ll ask, ‘May I have a cupcake?’ ‘No, we’re having dinner in 45 minutes.’ And then they go to the other parent … there’s been no communication between us; the other parent says, ‘Sure, that’s fine.’ So the key is to have that communication.”

On Funny Gifts From Kids

“The one I got last year was a mug that says, ‘Coffee makes me poop.’ That was from my son and he just loved ― he could not wait for me to open it.”

On Chores

“The chore I really hate is folding laundry. Folding little kids’ underwear is mind-numbing because there’s no fabric to fold — how do you even do it? And how about a fitted sheet? It takes me about 45 minutes and ends up looking like a sleeping bag.”

On Work/Life Balance

“I’ve done a couple of movies out of town and I hope I won’t have to again, because to be home while your kids are little — you don’t get that back. The other day, my daughter was over at a friend’s house at a sleepover, and I walked by her door and she wasn’t there … it kind of shakes up your world. Like, wow, not too many years from now, that’s going to be the case. You need to soak it up while you can. Especially that first year and a half of your child’s life when you’re not prepared and don’t know what to expect, and you’re catching an hour of sleep every now and then … You’re completely bonding with them. They’re putting you through the ringer for a reason.”

On Changing As A Parent

“It didn’t change me at all. You know, people say being a parent changes you [but] it’s the same. It’s like, if you were a jerk before you had kids, you’re still a jerk. If you were a nice person, you actually might be a jerk.”

On Doing The Gru Voice For His Kids

“It’s kind of a cool dad thing. When they have friends over, they say, ‘Dad, do the voice! Do the voice for our friends!’ [I say,] ‘Hi guys, what’s going on? Come in!’ It’s a very easy way to impress the kids’ friends. As soon as you start to try to converse with them about the music they like, or dance the way they’re dancing, you are immediately not cool at all. Just as long as you’re a dad, I think that’s the coolest.”

On Father’s Day

“Father’s Day is coming up so I’m very excited and I really ― I start months in advance giving them lists of things that I want. They let me sleep in, so I usually get up about 8 in the morning [on that day]. And I get breakfast in bed, which is usually pancakes and bacon.”

On First Kid vs. Second Kid

“With our first child, we babyproofed till you could bounce across our home without hitting a hard edge. With baby number two, we were more reasonable.”

On New Parenthood

“I find myself withholding information with new parents because I think you don’t want to hear it from me. You have to find this out on your own. All the books you read, all the advice you get is wonderful and supportive, but, ultimately, you are making your own path with your kids. And that exploration and that discovery is, I think, what’s so precious about it.”

On Playing A Father In ‘Beautiful Boy’

“Being a father really gave context to my approach. Specifically, my love for my own children gave context to how I was approaching this guy, which isn’t too far from how I would imagine trying to navigate this experience if it was something that fell into my life. A week before we started shooting, my son, who was 11 or 12 at the time, out of the blue asked whether marijuana is a gateway drug. This was on the way home from school; it’s clearly something that they’d been discussing. We’d had vague conversations about the dangers of drugs, but not a more adult conversation about it. It’s terrifying on even such a simple level having that discussion. I didn’t want to make a wrong turn. I assume David went through many of the same things, wanting to do everything right but realizing there is no right or wrong path.”

On Raising Respectful Kids

“My wife’s from a family of six kids, and everybody didn’t get everything they wanted. That’s OK; that’s life. You’re doing your kids a disservice if they do get everything they want because that’s not the way life’s going to go and I think kids have to have some reality. My children don’t expect to get everything and I think our greatest achievement so far is that they respect us and listen to us. I don’t see that in all of their friends.”

On Being A Famous Dad

“My job doesn’t define my kids in any way. When we go to places, it’s about them and it’s about us as a family. I think they’re proud of me, but I’m just Dad.”

On His Parents

“I saw how hard they worked for the money that they earned. They spoiled us in terms of their devotion to us. I wanted to play ice hockey and it required a lot of equipment, but they made it happen. Beyond all that, Dad would wake up at 5 a.m. and drive me to hockey practice before school and sit there reading a book while I practiced. I learned a lot about raising children from them, because they were committed to their kids, they would do anything to expand our horizons. I don’t think I appreciated it at the time, but I do now.”

On Reading To Prepare For Parenthood

“If we were meant to read for enjoyment, would God have created television? Read as it was intended — for exercise. The more you read, the more you expand your — what’s the word I’m looking for? — your stockpile of words. You must have a stockpile of words that you can pass along to your children for their stockpile.”

On His Parenting Advice

“The best advice to give a new parent is that there is no advice, it’s going to be different for every parent out there.”