Jim Gaffigan Says 'Parenting Is All About Making Mistakes and Dealing with a Certain Level of Guilt'
"I have five [kids] because I'm secretly starting my own nationality," the actor and comedian jokes to PEOPLE
And in real life, the actor and comedian is no different, admitting he can’t even choose one parenting moment he’d do over if he could because there are so many.
“Parenting is all about making mistakes and dealing with a certain level of guilt,” the father of five, 50, tells PEOPLE as his younger daughter, 7-year-old Katie Louise, joins him.
“Right, Katie? It is Katie, right?” he asks his daughter. “That’s called a dad joke.”
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After seeing his wife Jeannie give birth to five babies, it seems like Gaffigan — who gained notoriety for his 2006 stand-up set Beyond the Pale and has acted in mostly comedic roles since — knows what a woman who just experienced labor and childbirth really wants deep down.
“After that baby comes, make sure you have food,” he tells PEOPLE of the one piece of advice he’d give to a pregnant woman. “After a woman gives birth, there’s a hunger I always found fascinating.
“That’s the advice I usually give new dads,” he adds. ” ‘When the baby comes, there’s gonna come a moment where your wife or girlfriend’s gonna be like, “I’m starving.” ‘ ”
Gaffigan has had plenty of practice in parenting — aside from Katie, he’s also dad to sons Patrick, 3, Michael, 5, and Jack, 10, as well as 12-year-old daughter Marre — but he admits he owes a lot of his success as a father to his own parents.
“There’s a work ethic I got from them that I probably really resented growing up, but [that] I’m grateful for now,” he says.
When asked what his greatest wish for his children is, Jack — who obviously inherited his dad’s humor — can be heard in the background saying, “To move out.”
Gaffigan laughs heartily, then answers, “My greatest wish is that they find a job that they enjoy.”
“Well, I have that in mind,” says Katie, who responds “No!” when her dad asks if that career is a veterinarian.
The deadpan-loving comedian and author jokes that he doesn’t want his kids “to know that he has real emotions” and that “men don’t cry,” but in all seriousness he has had teary moments and just doesn’t want to share them with his children in the room.
And in true funnyman fashion, he says other parents can be a little bit scary.
“When you don’t have kids and someone talks about the positive sides of it, you feel like they’re in a cult and they’re trying to lure you in,” he jokes. “I have five because I’m secretly starting my own nationality.”
— Jen Juneau