The comedian and Guinness World Record-holding podcaster (for most downloads) is the father of 9-year-old twins. He trash talks tidbits in the book, out May 26 from HarperCollins, on just about all aspects of parenting, from the uselessness of ant farms to this sage observation about young adulthood: "Owning a house will turn you into an a-hole." Only he used the real word.
In time for Father's Day, the 51-year-old talked daddyhood in a recent interview, but he predictably veered off topic, suggesting birthdays morph into Personal Achievement Day, for instance, to avoid that annual milestone for the world's losers and despots.
Carolla has made trips to the bestseller lists with three previous books, including last year's "President Me: The America That's in My Head." The new one offers an often throwback vision of fatherhood, as explained thusly in the introduction:
"It used to be enough to feed, shelter and clothe your kid. ... If my dad had put down his cigar and gotten off the sofa, he would have been a saint. So this is a book for all the other dads out there like me, who yearn for the days of a lower bar. You're welcome."
A conversation about fatherhood with Adam Carolla:
Q: What usually happens for you on Father's Day? Do you get a big Father's Day?
Carolla: No, I'm not a big Father's Day guy. I'm not a big birthday guy. I'm not a big anything guy. I sleep in and get to do what I want for one day, probably.
Q: Why write about parenting? Is that your last frontier?
Carolla: I'm always sort of head on a swivel, ears wide open looking for things to talk about and then you realize having twins, especially, a boy and girl, bringing them home from age 0 to now 9, there's a lot of observations and there's a lot to talk about.
Q: What do you like best about being a father?
Carolla: My favourite part about being a dad is the way my kids feel about me. I've been sort of toying with this idea that I think the moms, at least in my relationship, the mom needs to be there and be hands on, and if they scrape their knee the first thing they want is mom. They need mom full time, emotionally and beyond.
But dad is more of a guy that they need a really good idea of. They know daddy's making money and providing their lifestyle and keeping them safe by getting them a safe car and a safe house and a safe neighbourhood, so they know while mommy is doing her things hands on, daddy's over here working, too, for them but he's just not there as much as mommy, and then when daddy comes home we're going to throw the ball around.
The idea of daddy is much more powerful than the actual day-to-day of daddy. They don't need me there every morning making them breakfast. They need to know that I'm always there as an umbrella that's going to take care of them.
Q: What were some of the surprises when you became a parent?
Carolla: My biggest surprise as a parent is just how these kids are on a trajectory and we're trying to steer this car from the backseat. It's sort of a narcissistic thing to think that we could do that much shaping. My daughter is one personality. My son is a completely different personality. It's not because she got too much attention and he was deprived of attention. They both got the exact same thing: food, diet, whatever, exposure to television.
All the nonsense you hear about, you know, they have to listen to classical music when they're in their prenatal whatever. It doesn't amount to a hill of crap. These kids do what they do. They are who they are. You can screw them up, don't get me wrong. You can neglect them and abuse them and deprive them. You can screw a kid up but as far as, 'Oh, you're going to be an attorney' or 'You're going to be a rock drummer' or 'You're going to be a doctor,' at least in my experience, they are who they are.
Q: Tell me about your own crappy childhood. You've written about it.
Carolla: Yeah, I had a crappy childhood in terms of my parents were just, I don't know, I always kind of wonder why they had kids. They just weren't into it. They weren't into the good stuff or the bad stuff. They just weren't into it. I suppose they were depressed most of the time and just didn't feel like leaving the house or doing anything for anybody.
I made sure that I wasn't going to make that mistake with my kids, so I get up in the morning and I hug them and I go, 'Hey I'm so glad you're here. Isn't this great? I love being your dad. Isn't this awesome?'
My parents were just very laissez-faire so I've overcompensated in that respect and try to be positive and happy.
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