Carson Daly says the intense grief he continues to feel over his mother's death last year has impacted his relationship with his three children


Carson Daly was very close to his mother when she died last year, and the intense grief he felt has made him sometimes feel wary of developing a similar relationship with his own children.

On Wednesday, Daly — who shares daughters London Rose, 4, and Etta Jones, 6, plus son Jackson James, 10, with wife Siri — served as guest co-host on the fourth hour of Today, and opened up to Hoda Kotb about how his relationship with his parents has shaped the way he looks at life now.

My parents were overly proud,” he told Kotb. “I sometimes try to love my kids less, almost on purpose because I’m so scared of loving them too much.”

“My mom especially loved me so much. It was almost too much. And I know that now because when she died, the hurt was a transference of the love. It hurt so much because I’m so bummed that that love isn’t there anymore. And that’s a byproduct of her love for me,” he explained. “That’s the greatest gift you can give your kids, but it’s scary. It’s a scary proposition too. I find myself falling in love with my kids and I almost want to put a little bit of a guard there out of fear.”

Changing the subject, Daly added with a laugh, “That’s some deep stuff though. I’m sorry, what was the question?”

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Daly’s mother, Pattie Daly Caruso, died on Sept. 17, 2017, of a heart attack, while his stepfather Richard Caruso died that October after a battle with bone cancer.

Daly previously opened up about how the loss of his parents changed his outlook on life last December, while discussing his New Year’s resolutions with Kotb.

“I don’t want to get morbid, but you know I lost my parents [about] a year and a half ago, so in the new year, I think more macro now,” he said. “I think bigger than just the weight, the food — all that stuff is every day. We all struggle with that, we all do the best we can. My new thing is compartmentalizing.”

“My thing is just 24 hours,” Daly continued. “Now I wake up and I’m like, ‘Thank you God, I got a new day, a fresh day. How can I be the best husband, the best father, the best coworker, the best fellow citizen? I’ve got today. I’ve got right now, in this moment.’ ”

Carson Daly and wife Siri with their kids
| Credit: Siri Daly/Instagram

“When I play with my kid, I play with him every day,” he went on. “Losing my folks, the fragility of life, we [forget] … it’s so crazy. I can’t believe I’m 45. I can’t believe I’ve been in Times Square for 20 years. I can’t believe I’m on the Today show.”

“Life goes by so fast that for me, now, it’s just like, live and marinate in that moment when I’m in a tickle fight. And then when I go to bed, it’s just like, ‘You know what? I hope I did good today and if God gives me another day, I’m just gonna do it again.’ “

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Opening up about their parenting roles, Siri previously told PEOPLE that her husband gets to be “good cop,” while the task of enforcing household rules usually falls to her.

“I don’t consider myself a strict parent. However, I feel like I’m always sort of ‘bad cop’ and that my husband Carson is ‘good cop,’ ” she dished to PEOPLE’s Celeb Parents Get Real. “He gets to be fun dad and I’m the one that probably has to nag them.”

” ‘Did you do your homework? Did you brush your teeth? Eat your food?’ ” Siri continued. “But I don’t think I’m strict. I don’t know.”

Siri sweetly praised Daly’s parenting skills in honor of Father’s Day last year.

“He has many jobs, but does this one best. Happy Father’s Day @carsondaly, we are the luckiest to have you 💙,” she wrote alongside a photo of the proud papa spending time with their children.