David Campbell on parenting, self worth and Stupid Carrots

Oct 19, 2022 | Podcast

You know him from the Today Show, so what’s he like away from the cameras? David Campbell reveals to host Amelia Phillips how dealing with an early trauma has shaped his parenting style, what led him to write Stupid Carrots and how he juggles a public life with raising three kids. 

Below is an unedited transcript of the podcast episode:

I’ve been coming on the Today Show to talk all things health and fitness for close to a decade, and I can distinctly remember when this very good looking, charismatic young performer kept making regular appearances, ending up eventually taking the helm with Sonya Kruger when the show became today extra.

Yes, I’m talking about David Campbell. It was great to get to know him over the months as we swapped newborn baby stories. I think he just had Leo at the time, and then not long after his twins, Betty and Billy, I’ve always wondered how he manages to juggle it all hours of live TV every day. An amazing musical career, a beautiful relationship with his wife and three kids, all while being an all round top bloke.

This is Healthy Her with Amelia Phillips. You’ll know David Campbell or DC from The Today Show, and if you’re lucky, you may have seen him perform in the musical Dream Lover. Well now this super talented, intelligent, insanely kind man can add author to his belt. He’s released his first children’s book called Stupid Carrots about Cheeky Betty the Bunny, who has decided she no longer likes carrots.

Yep. I think we can all relate to that. Having had lots of air chats with David about kids, family, and health, I really wanted to get his perspective on parenthood, the challenges of getting our kids to eat more veggies, and also some of the personal struggles that he’s encountered in his very full life.

DC Welcome to Healthy Her. Hey Mel’s. Good to see ya. It’s actually really, To have you in the hot seat today and me to be asking the questions for once. Well, you really butter me up with that intro. So, you know, I know I’m really relaxed now, so I’m vulnerable. Oh. And you know, having you in that beautiful Hawaiian shirt is just putting me in a great mood.

I just thought, you know, spice things up. Yeah, absolutely. I love it. Now tell me, stupid carrots, great title. Where did it come from When Betty was about three and a half? Um, we were having like a party. Remember those? Yes. And people were at our house. And, uh, she was sort of wandering around and she wanted something and we said, No, you can’t do that.

And uh, she sort of mumbled her way away and just went with stupid carrots, . And we’re like, Was that a swear? But not a swear? And she did it a few more times and we had to say, What are you saying? She goes, Stupid. Carrots all sas, Mike. Who too, I guess we just let it, let it go. And Scholastic, who’s this amazing Australian company, reached out to me and they said, Look, we wanna know if you wanna write a kid’s book.

And I thought, well, that’s a good idea, but I don’t have any ideas. But the only idea I had was the title, Stupid Carrots. Oh, that’s amazing. Most people, the title is the hardest thing to come up with a book. You actually had it the flip side. Well, yeah, and, and that was the hard part was like, well, what does that mean?

So, I sort of said, Well, I’ve got this idea of like, you know, Betty the bunny and, uh, she thinks carrots are stupid and the dilemma is how do we get her to eat carrots cuz it’s dinner time. And then I was a really big fan of, um, I’ve done a lot of therapy over the years. I’ve paid for a lot of boats for, for therapy.

I can imagine. Yes. We all, and we all, and I remember when I first got into it, which was in the early nineties. I also saw the movie Lenny, which is the Dustin Hoffman film on Lenny Bruce, the great sixties comedian. Right. And he did this piece on Kuer Ross’s Breakdown of Grief, which is bargaining, depression, Uh, anger acceptance is another ones like the five stages.

The five of grief. Yeah. And I always thought that was a funny bit. And then, you know, you go through that with different stages of what you are working through. And then when you have a toddler, you realize that that witching hour, you know, before dinner time where they’re hungry, but they’re not allowed to snag.

They’re going through the five stages of hangar. So they’re like, Oh God, can’t we just have, you know, chops? And like, No, you can’t have chops. You’re gonna have dinner. And then they’ll, they’ll go to another parent and they’ll try and play one of them. Oh dad, they won’t let mum, let me have this. And it’s like, well, no dinner’s dinner, and that’s what you’re gonna eat.

But in her dilemma is she wants to eat anything but carrots. Right. And the parents are like, Where Abbo? We, you had carrots for lunch. You love carrots. This is what we do, and just her stages of going through to acceptance. Having a dinner and going, Oh, that was delicious. I’d like, I love, I love carrots.

I’ve never said I didn’t, you know how kids can be. It is so frustrating when that happens. It’s like, you ate it yesterday. What is different about it today? Yeah. It must be hard for you. Who, as a family, you’ve all transitioned to vegan or do the kids still have a little bit? No, no, just my wife and I have, uh, fully transitioned.

Right. Um, but the kids have a lot of veggies and they have a lot of. Fake meats. Okay. Because we, we supplement with a lot of fake meats as well for bolognas. When you say fake meat, what are you talking about? Well, I’m talking about that like your pulses or anything that’s been converted into, You know, I’m talking about the new stuff, the fake mins.

I’m, I’m talking about that new, the new stuff like your sausages that, you know, have fake, you know, plant based products in them or high soy protein products in them. So they’ll eat that maybe, you know, four or five times a week. And then Burger Night they have burgers, they have chicken in their, you know, pad cus or whatever.

We get takeaway Thai, but, and maybe once a month we might cook them a roast ch or something like that. Yeah. Okay. Um, they’ll have a ham sandwich. Yep. Um, but we’re trying to educate them on. Yeah, animal welfare and, and what it means to, you know, if you’re gonna do this, what, what you’re eating, and let them make their own decisions as opposed to this is a religion and we’re a cult now.

Um, we kind of hate that we, I’ve always called myself a bogan vegan because I, I, when I started doing this, I, how I got into it is, was how am I gonna eat my favorite junk food and be vegan at the same time? Well, what was the very first trigger that made you decide to go down the. Uh, doing the five, two diets.

So we would speak a lot on this on today. Yeah. I kind of feel like I was there as you were transitioning and experimenting. I remember would have a lot of air chats about it. We would, and I was really fascinated by the multiple and I’d never known there was so many diets. Diets. I know. It’s crazy. It was crazy.

And, you know, being a, a, you know, almost a female centric show for a while there before we got more newsy. We were downloading a lot of that information and I was sort of trying to get my head around it, and you are always coming back to. The main argument that you would always say up your fruits and vegetables and make sure that’s really good and at best do Mediterranean.

Yeah. Was always the sort of, Yeah, Mediterranean, it’s always falls back, still does. Almost 10 years later. I just recommended that to my dad, so he was like, Should I go vegan? I’m like, Just go Mediterranean. You know? You don’t need to be so extreme, but with. That. Then I, we interviewed Michael mostly, and it was the first time in any of that dietary stuff that I went, Hey, that’s a good one.

That resonates in my lizard brain somewhere that we shouldn’t be over snacking and doing that. That that’s wrong is he is on the five two diet. Yeah. Yeah. And he said to me, Fair. Hey, be careful when you do this because your taste might change. And I was like, Sure. Mostly give me a break. And it slowly did.

And then I, I got to doing Dream Lover, which I think you mentioned the intro. And Bobby was Bobby. Darren, who’s the title character of that. He was sick for most of his life with a heart condition. Right. Which sort of gave him. A, a real, a real sense of like doing as much as he could in a short amount of time.

He thought he could die at any minute, but he also looked quite skinny on stage, so Suits would hang off him, right? I thought, How am I gonna get that? Do eight shows a week, do the Today Show stuff that I had to do as well and not get sick, and a lot of research.  getting me into like plant based. There was a lot of plant based athletes at the time.

You know, Jock Vich was sort of had come out and so I thought, well that might be a sustainable way of doing it, so I’ll just try it out and see how I feel. It felt good. And then about, you know, then Lisa joined me a couple of months later and then all of a sudden I had this epiphany of like, I’m eating a sentient being, if I eat an animal, Oh, I can’t do that anymore.

And then it was easy. Isn’t that amazing? And I feel like you were almost an early adopter, Like this was before some of those quite dramatic documentaries came out. Yeah. Before there was a lot more publicity about it. But you’ve chosen not to be super vocal about it. I, I love, I love Lisa’s comment that you are now the most punchable man  in Australia when you Right.

Yeah. Cause I’m sober and vegan and it’s just like she’s. Could you be any less relatable for someone who’s on tv ? No, but I love that because I think it’s really important people there. There are, as you mentioned, so many diets out there. You don’t wanna feel like you are polarizing people because Yeah.

And you know, vegan is one style, but there is also. Being plant based and maybe have the occasional roast chill That’s right. Or something like that. So I think that that’s what I’m loving and I’m seeing a lot more of these days is people are being a bit more flexitarian. Yeah. I mean doing 80% vegan and being Mediterranean on the weekends or Yeah.

If you do go to a restaurant, you eat fish or seafood. That’s better for their environment. And as you would know, long, long term better for your own health than just eating meat two or three times a day. So what would some of your tips be for moms or families who are thinking of upping their fruits and veggies and just slowly moving towards a more plant based or maybe just a plant first diet?

Uh, I think the, the best way of doing it, if you do have young kids, it’s the Betty Bunny syndrome, is that actually pushing through the fact that. They push back at you, which we didn’t do with Leo as much. Leo does not have a sweet tooth, so, um, He’s your oldest? He’s my oldest, yeah. He’s 10 and a half and he is very fruit adverse.

So I’ve finally in the last year got him onto apples, but even as a young b. Boy, it’s a baby As a toddler, he didn’t have a sweet tooth. Isn’t that interesting? He doesn’t really eat. He might have ice cream. Yep. He might have chocolate, but he’s not like fing for it. Whereas Betty’s got a huge sweet tooth and, But Betty and Billy also love fruit.

And they love vegetables. But Leo always ate his vegetables. He love broccoli, he love carrots, he loves capskin, he loves all that sort of stuff. So you find the things they like and you just make it a routine, which is the best thing to do. So their favorite dishes, It’s, you have to be part of it. And then really it’s like anything, it’s enforcing it.

You know, like even every once in a while with our kids, like, I don’t wanna eat my broccoli. He’s like, Eat your broccoli. You’re not, you’re not having dessert without, you’re having anything else until you, No, you’re not leaving the table until eat broccoli. I don’t care if you don’t finish your rice or your your chicken, but eat your broccoli and then you can leave.

So you just sort of like making them go like it’s a habit and that we always put in crunch and sip. There’s always a fruit or vegetable and that, I mean, most parents are doing this now. I. Compared to our generation. Yeah. I think parents are doing great with this. I really do. I think parents are so much more attuned.

Crunch and sip. You gotta have something in there. Yeah. And look, the statistics are showing it too, like obesity levels amongst kids has actually stabilized since 2014. Yeah. And I think that’s really encouraging. I think that we’re all getting the healthy message, but you are so right. Kids go through the five stages of grief and I feel like as a parent, we just have to hang on for dear life to let them go through that.

And then hopefully the next time, the battle won’t be so hard. I mean, you don’t want them to melt, that it, you can’t be an issue, but you. I think there’s a great, I mean, I was brought up by my grandmother, but there’s a great thing of just like, That’s a hard no, and when a kid knows they can’t get past that wall of, No, it doesn’t have to be like a no.

It’s just like, No, it’s your vegetables, and then you move on. If you don’t make a big deal of it, they’re like, Oh, just eat this really quickly and then I’ll go play video games or whatever. Yeah. I like that idea of not making it a big deal. Yeah. If you make it a big deal, kids would be like, This is the energy.

This is the energy I’ll go to every time and I can make a drama out of this. And trust me, I have dramatic kids. I try to avoid that energy a lot. Well, the performance gene does run through your family. You’ve had, I must say, a bit of a tumultuous upbringing when you look back, your dad, Jimmy Barnes.

Mm-hmm.  left when you were really young. He, he was never in my life. Never from the very beginning. No, no, no. Okay. He was 16. Him and my mother were 16 when they got pregnant. 17 when I was born. Wow. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Those are the days. So you were raised by your grandmother? Mm-hmm. , who you thought was your mom.

Mm-hmm.  until one day you discovered that your sister was actually your mom, and your mother was your grandmother, which is the same story as Bobby. Darren, No way. And Jack Nicholson. So it’s actually more common than you would think, and I think it’s more common. Uh, then we give it credit for because of, we used to, I guess sisters would go away to the country for nine months and come back and there’d be a new cousin.

You know, there was. Sort of game that we played when we weren’t as, uh, openly the, when we didn’t talk about our problems, when we, you know, kept a stiff up a lip and tried to keep the family unit closed off. That this is actually not as uncommon as you think. How do you think that upbringing has shaped the way you parent and coming into being a father?

How has that impacted you? A lot. A lot. I think about it constantly. It’s, it’s really. At the forefront of my mind. I, I’m very much a mindful parent. I don’t really go for, um, All of the things that we say parents are, they’re helicopter parents, they’re bulldozed parents. Mm-hmm. . I think you can be a combination of all those things and it’s okay.

As long as it’s, you know, you’re not doing one major thing. Yeah. Um, but I’m very mindful about how engaged I am with my kids because I didn’t have a father. For a long time. I’m very mindful of the fact that, you know, I was brought up by a woman who came from a completely different generation to me.

She’d already raised kids in the sixties and seventies by the time she’d had me. Yeah, right. Um, I’m, I’m really aware of modern technologies and all that sort of stuff and, and what, what I think we, uh, now know to try and keep your kids aware, to communicate with them, to, uh, nurture them when they need to be nurtured to actually, But some of that old school disciplinarian stuff that my Nan had not.

Like hitting or anything like that. And I’m not an advocate at that, but having strength no means no. So when you kids Yeah, I can hear that in what you’re saying. You know, the hard no, hard no. Yeah. And, and they know not to, you know, if they go to, you know, Lisa or they come to me that, Oh, can I try this?

What a mums at? If she said, No, it’s a no. Like we’re never gonna be, you know, dis bandit on this front.

How do you think it affected your self-confidence kind of spending part of your c. With your whole family unit being a certain way, and then suddenly realizing that that whole foundation had been rocked, how did that affect you to the core, your self confidence, your self-worth? I struggle with self-worth issues more than anything else.

That has run my life with anxiety that has run my career with in anxiety, that has run past relationships, business, personal, um, that has caused self sabotaging, that has caused, uh, binge drinking, binge eating, um, that has caused overcompensating with ego. On stage or in performances, uh, or how I’ve behaved, um, that has caused a lack of humility because I don’t want anyone to see that I’m vulnerable.

Um, you know, over the years I’ve really struggled with that and I’m getting, as I’m now maturing and getting older, I can see the path of it all. Now, it’s sort of, now I’ve compartmentalized it more. I can see the damage it’s done, and I can see why it’s happened, but, You know, the fact that, and it upsets some people on, on my mother’s side of the family, but the fact that I was ostensibly lied to as a child and then told, Oh, by the way, here’s the truth.

And because there was no therapy, and it’s not their fault, it’s not their fault, But there was no therapy, there was no talk of, should we go to a counselor? There was 1983, for goodness sake. Um, That was really damaging and because my instinct was to, as a 10 year old, to shut down and go, I don’t want anything to change.

And I can’t imagine sitting Leo down and saying, Honey, listen, everything you thought was wrong, um, what do you wanna do? That was what was asked of me as a 10 year old. Yeah. They didn’t know any better. I’m not of that, but that set a course in my life of. Mistrust of low self-esteem, of n not feeling like I was worth anything.

And then you put on top of that this incredible career of my dad’s, which is nothing short of legendary. And I should be in a way, a statistic of like, eh, he tried . It was good times. Um, but it was really hard, especially when I started to sing. And get more famous in my own right as a singer, like what does that mean now compared to him, you had the double whammy of living up to that expectation.

It wasn’t my own career, it was everybody going. Jimmy’s son’s really great too. It’s like, ah, how do I deal with this? And that’s also wonderful cuz I’m now so grateful that that heritage is my heritage. It’s my family’s heritage and I sort of. Model that with my kids. So, you know, when my kids, when they’re quite young, we sort of, when Leo and the twins in the last year or so we’ve had, when they go, Oh, you are really famous.

Rather, they’d say, No, I’m not. I interview famous people. I make people happy, but you know who’s really famous? Duh. So when you know, he’s the legend and we are just here having a normal lives. And I wish somebody had told me about that when I. 15, But I have to play devil’s advocate here because you. Have had the most incredible career.

And, and, and I will challenge and say, no doubt, you are famous and you have forged a very unique and independent path. Sure. I’m not telling my on your own . Um, your experiences have shaped that person that you’ve become and you’ve gone on to do amazing and wonderful things. And so, you know, I hear you talk negatively.

You know, some of those experiences and that it’s challenged your self worth, but at the same time, it’s also helped you build the person that you are and achieved the things that you’ve achieved. And you’ve gotta give yourself credit for that. I do. I think that there’s a, an interesting way of how I’ve used self worth as a driving mechanism.

Uh, almost like to, to fill the of self worth through achievements, through career. Cause I do think it’s interesting, and this is also not uncommon that some of. The most public facing people will have the lowest self-worth or self esteem and be the highest self critics and I, I think you know, when you’re lacking in self-confidence and self-worth, why are you putting yourself in front of?

150,000 people. Yeah. . It’s, it’s crazy. It is, isn’t it? Yeah. But there is, uh, it is also like, and you’re right and you, and you’re right to pick me up on the fact that I still have that negative voice can control me. Yeah. Like it’s made you who you are. Yeah. Own it. And that’s a thing, Part of me is now trying to accept that that’s what drives me.

You know? Um, I remember being in New York. Being at the rainbow room and following Rosemary, cleaning in. And then we were selling out and people would walk past me, we’d stay at the front door and I thought, These people are walking past me cuz they don’t know who I am. They just read about me in a newspaper.

and going, All right, well, I’m gonna have to really show them now. And just like, yeah, that’s sort of like, I guess the, the Americans would call it Moxi or you know, you know, TPO or something like that. But there is a way of using that in a positive, but it can also have a damaging effect. Personally. How are you taking all these lessons and you know, all, all this self work and.

Passing on the bits you wanna pass on to your children and trying to keep the other bits separate. Cuz that’s what we all do, don’t we? We all have our demons, we all have our superpowers. I just wanna give my kids my superpower. Yeah. And keep the demons at Bay . Well, I think that we have, I mean, I ha I was brought up with a lot of Oversharers mm-hmm.

because of, you know, they were, uh, they were a working class family, no pun intended in Adelaide, but they’re also. Um, emotionally vulnerable, so they would tell me everything. I, I knew a lot of adult talk when I was very young. Too much in my opinion, right. You know, I think raising a child is not a deposition.

You don’t need to tell your children everything. Yeah. You know, I just age appropriate. I also think some stuff is just never any of their business. Yeah. You know, I just think that way. It’s the same with relationships. I think that’s a dance savage thing. Relationship’s not a deposition. You don’t have to go through every past thing to be the person you are.

So for me, when I sat down, I mean last night I literally had an issue with Leo, who he’s about, you know, he’s doing his last year of year four. And he’s like, already, he was like upset about, it was just late night anxiety that kids sometimes get and he was like, I. I’m worried about, you know, doing the hsc and then what about university?

I’m like, Hey, hey, relax, relax. You’re year four. I had to say to him, Do you know what? You’re gonna be fine. We’re gonna get you through that and you’ve got heaps of time. Have fun. And let me tell you something, hsc. You’ll get through it, you’ll, you’ll do much better than me. I failed it. I told him, I said I failed it.

Um, and I said, You know what? I speak to prime ministers, vice presidents. I’ve met the queen. Do I look like I’m suffering? He goes, No. I said, No, because it’s all relative. You’ll make this journey, whatever you are, and we will be here for you no matter what. And so that’s what I’m trying to model is the sort.

How can you spin this? How can you make life work to your advantage and cut your own path? Because I don’t want my kids necessarily to be just like me or my dad or my sisters or whatever. They will be their own thing. And the great joy of having Lisa as a partner and her being so confident, and so mindful, and so creative, and so.

Uh, also socially forward thinking is that these kids are like super confident, you know, they are not like meek kids at all. And so I think that’s a good start because I was terribly meek as a child. Were you? Yeah, I was really insecure and meek probably because of what was happening in the conflict.

Then I tried to overcompensate in my teens and that started that trajectory. So if we can build that confidence now where they can speak in front of their class and, you know, look people in the eye when we used to be able to shake hands, shake hands, uh, with an adult. That for me is the most important thing.

And you know, manners, you know, for Lisa and I is really important. I wanna talk about some dadism. Go on. I need you to just help me out with a few things here because there’s certain dad’s behavior that I just don’t get. Okay. And I’m hoping being a dad, you’ll be able to help me with it. I’m a very unusual dad, but Sure, I’ll try.

Okay. Do you r the kids up before bed? Because every night Tim uses our bed like a crash mat and, Oh, just when it’s after a brush teeth and I’m trying to get everyone into their right beds and ready for story time. He picks the kids up like they, I don’t know. Like a slam ball? Yeah. Throws them in the air and slams down on the bed.

It’s WrestleMania time. Why? Why do you, why did dads do that? I don’t do that because we struggled. What of our kids sleeping. Ah, so with with Billy and trouble sleeping, we got, we got hammers, we had twins and one of them didn’t sleep so well, so I didn’t do that so much. But we were really mindful and maybe it was too much TV or whatever, but we used to love giggle and hoot.

And so and so that would train the kids to sort of slow down and we notice it had the little story that has a little bedtime. Little hoo slow by. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. But before that was in the night garden where they all would go to bed. Yeah. So Leo used to go say goodnight to all of his toys and then he’d sit the Hertz lubi and then he’d go to bed.

I’m like, that’s the way to do it. You don’t wind them down. Alright, Tim, if you’re listening, Tim, take note, Tim. Okay. Discipline in the family. Yeah. Are you Mr. Discipline or are you captain? Fun time. No, Lisa and I totally swapped those roles. Oh, that’s good. Um, we tag in and tag out. Most of the time, only one of us likes to discipline.

The hardest time for us with the kids is the car. For some reason, that wind up that you hear is my kids in the back seat of a car. Oh, right. In a five minute trip, in a five hour trip. It doesn’t matter. And it’s never necessarily fighting. They just try and top each other with loudness until we know someone’s gonna cry or someone’s gonna go stop it.

And, and so, or, and I, this is maybe years of gigging, but I can’t stand, um, loud noises. So if we were in a room together talking Yeah. Like at a, an event. Yeah. And you were like, Let’s have a talk. I’d be. I’d have to really come close to you and focus on you because of just audio. As I’m getting older, getting difficult.

You best days, I’m getting, Come on. I can hear that. Give voice. Yeah. But so when that happens in the car and I’m driving, I’m like, You guys are gotta be quiet. And I get Really? And then you start screaming, Stop screaming. Yeah. And I’m not really, I’m not at first because I was brought up by a screamer as well.

I’m not adverse to sort of being like, Hey, just a good solid. Militant stop. And we’ve done that on, cuz you know you’re on roads with toddlers like, and I’ve, Lisa tells this great story that she was going down the main road at Pots Point and I’m gonna say it’s probably Billy cuz he’s the fastest. He broke away from the pack and ran towards the, the street and how old.

Oh, two or three. Yep. And probably he wanted to press the button. Yeah. But there’s nothing worse than in the toddler heading straight for a busy road. And so her thing was to, you know, always she’s got a big, she was a theater trained, uh, person too, so she was like, stop, you know, one of those, her things.

And she did that. And the woman in front of her stopped, like, like mid-air and Billy stopped turn. Lisa sort of walked past woman. I said sorry, And it was lil and Chin. Oh, you’re joking. So she who’s also very well trained. Lil and chin from by parents. She had good parents, obviously she stopped. Yeah.

That’s great. What about the birds and the bees? Have you had that conversation yet? Have the kids started asking you those questions or have you prompted it? No, we are not. Um, we’re an anatomically correct. So we talk about the anatomy as no wieners. There’s no wieners. It’s like, don’t leave penis alone.

No, it’s your vagina. You know, it’s the stuff you bought, whatever. But with Leo, I had to have the start of the puberty talk the other day. How did that go? It was, um, it wasn’t birds and beads. It was more like, your body’s gonna change, so, Okay. You know, he’s a, he. Basically nearly your height, size seven shoe.

He’s 10 years old. Um, so I had to say, Mate, you know, let’s go for a drive and we’ll, we’ll go buy some, you know, music or whatever. And I said, Look, you know, body’s going through some stuff. I thought this kid was gonna climb out the window of my car, . I just got a bit squirmy when you started saying, It’s so squirmy though.

How do you have the conversation? I can’t, I’m a few years off it yet, so I’m trying to learn the pearls of wisdom. I kept it. And this is a Georgie Gardner, so if you take him in the car and you are looking forward, They’re looking forward. Yeah. It’s like the psychologist. You lay on the couch. You’re not it yet.

It’s not confrontation. Yeah. Okay. It’s just like, let’s have a talk and the D and the doors are locked and the doors are locked and you can’t get out. And I’m not stopping. We’re on a freeway . But it was, It was good because I sort of said, Hey, you mate, your body’s gonna start changing. You need to sort of be a bit more private about your bathroom times.

You’re gonna get hair, it’s gonna be weird, uh, you know, things gonna happen at nighttime. All that sort of stuff. I started there and I said, Look, you can’t get weird about this. No one spoke to me about this. I had to find out myself. So let me know. Anything that you feel like is, is like, what the hell is this?

And I’ll tell you what it is and I won’t lie to you. Because we need to talk about other things too later on. So let’s start here. I’m not gonna throw the whole, you know, the whole yachty di out at you now. I said let’s just start here and then I’m gonna have to have the sex talk. And then after that I’m gonna have the porn talk.

So I’m gonna stagger at it. Oh wow. You actually said that? No, not with him. Oh, right, okay. No, I just said, let’s just have this one out. Cause we need to have more. Right. Okay. So I want him to sort of, So it was good last night when he said, I need to talk to dad about how I’m feeling about the future and stuff.

So I was like, Okay, good. Do you think that was as a result of. The squirmy car conversation. Do you think even though it was squirmy, it actually kind of got in? Maybe. I don’t know, but I did say Lisa say, let say yes, let’s just say it was great parenting moment. I said to Lisa, though, I’ll handle the boys.

But you are handling, you’re handling getting, Cause I don’t, I don’t wanna go down that road. Yeah. I mean I’ve got two of each and Yeah. Said exactly what Same, just divided evenly. Yeah. Fine. Yeah, I know. I’ve heard you say how important it is to spend time with your kids, and I see how devoted you are as a dad, but how do you actually do it all when you have such a public and full work life?

I mean, do you have any rituals or habits that you do on a daily basis? Uh, no, and I should do more. Um, I think that I’m on my phone too much, but this has been. A dumpster fire every year. Yeah. And you know, we’ve had to keep up with so much and because I’ve still been working, it’s been my job, but Lisa and I are very aware of that.

I, I don’t wanna speak for her too much, but I know that she also is something, someone that struggles with, that she. Runs a theater company. She casts major productions and she’s doing, you know, being a parent as well. So we definitely co-parent. I’ll take the weight of kids in the, in one afternoon, she’ll do it another afternoon.

You know, we really do feel like we take back and forth and when we are connected as a family, that’s really important to us. Um, we we’re more aware of, we don’t let our kids have screens. That much. That’s great. Um, what are your screen rules? Do you have set ones? Well, we have tv, which, you know, as I’m Remi, I was reminded by, so she goes, That’s a big screen.

But I’m like, well, we had that and that’s popular culture and that’s fine, but no YouTube. Yeah. You know, um, so they can do screens, they can do, you know, lots of music they can play. Um, they have, I broke down and let my son have an Nintendo. But not on the internet. But then I will buy them family games. So they all play games together, but they don’t, they’re not obsessed with it.

But I am mindful. I don’t think I’m perfect at it. And, And when you’re a performer and I’m sort of a high energy performer too, I do have lows. Yeah. And I do feel like sometimes I’m not the greatest dad in the world and I’m sort of at peace with that, as opposed to beating myself up. I just sort of go. So what?

I had a bad day and if I have a bad day, Lisa and I are very mindful. If we barked at the kids for no reason, we’ll sit them down and say, Sorry, I yelled. And often if I yell, even if I’m telling them off, I’ll sit them down and say, I’m sorry I yelled. But that’s not acceptable behavior. Um, but I shouldn’t have yelled and think, Think it’s really good to be accountable for your actions.

Apology goes a long way. It does with kids. Final question. Sure. Or. Us parents that are working hard. We’re trying hard to raise healthy, happy kids. We’re trying hard to keep our relationships alive, afloat. What’s one ritual that you guys as a family do that you think helps boost your relationship, both with Lisa and just as a family?

Lisa and I, you know, when we could go on date nights, we would do that once a week. Um, but as a family, we do things like, we have traditions. They, they go to do karate together or they go to beach soccer together and we all go. Um, and then if we, you know, we tend to walk the dog. That’s been really good for the kids.

You know, having Scully has been amazing, turning off the TV and just playing music. Uh, allowing sometimes with the kids to watch TV at dinner time and then other times, I just play music from my phone and we talk, you know, it’s little things. It’s not, and bedtime is always the same time. We don’t compromise bedtime.

The twins are at 6 45, Leo’s at seven 30, but they get a story before bed. Leo’s allowed to have his own TV time before bed, but then it’s like, quiet time, go to sleep, and that’s it. Those rules have to stay in shape and they, they never bend from that. But really it’s about. Trying to have as much fun as possible.

I mean, my kids do make a lot of fun. Yeah, they make a lot of noise in between the screaming, the meltdowns. They’re actually fun, aren’t they? Yeah. And it’s really good. I, I, I often catch myself and go watch this moment because you will cry about this moment in five years time. Yes. Um, or don’t just take a photo of it.

Just sit there and watch them. And sometimes we’ll just sit there and watch them. Watching tv, my kids will watch TV on the couch, all cram together with their heads on each other. Oh, that’s so beautiful. How much longer will this last? Don’t touch them, let them What? I don’t want magic. Is it SpongeBob? Let let this keep happening.

I know. You just have to slow down for those moments, don’t you? Yeah. Just cherish those moments. And if you, I think if you do that and. Lisa and I are constantly checking in on each other. I mean, I’ll let you know, I had a panic attack yesterday. Did you? Just outta nowhere. And you know what was hilarious about it?

Lisa wrote me a list of things at the shops to go get and she said, There’s only four things. It was like this, this, this, this. And she goes, I’m gonna put the tofu on there too. You’ll forget the tofu because you’ll get crazy. And I had to say, Leo Mass Club had the twins with me. I’d been, I had busy day and the twins just got to the woos and it was just one of those days, they just.

Those ways. Both. Both different ways, opposite directions. And they were like, Look at this over here and look at this over here. And then I got home and I forgot the tofu and I, Lisa got home and I just was like, I can’t believe it. Of all the things. And it was just a straw. And she sat there and, and I said to my friend, I, This is a really nerdy thing, but she said, I said to my buddy, um, she basically did, um, Skylar Johansen to the Hulk and the Avengers.

It’s okay, big guy. The sun’s going down. Oh my goodness, it’s gonna be fine. And I was like, just, and I, and I could feel the energy raising and I was like, I just don’t know why I’m crying over tofu all of a sudden. And then she’s like, It’s fine, It’s fine. Have a cup of tea. I’m like, Holy cup of tea. She goes, Let’s order in.

It’s okay. And I’m like, I think that’ll be best. And it was just like, Oh, that’s a good wife. And it was just like, But then I’ve had to do that with her as well. Yeah. And it’s just, it’s, And I have to, and I felt really bad. And then I thought, it’s okay. It’s okay. It, and it was within 15 minutes, I was fine, but I have to acknowledge the fact that I’m not a perfect dad.

It looks a certain way, but I’m just not. But I’m a perfect dad for these kids, and that’ll be fine. And you know, I did a great episode with a beautiful educator called Kaylene Harry, and I remember she said to me that you only have to be good 30% of the time. Yeah. And I loved that. I thought she was gonna say 80% or 90%.

I might, That’s really good. I can do 30, I can do 30. If I can avoid two out of my three kids doing extensive therapy later in life, I’m fine with that. . Oh, David, it’s been great. I can’t. To read stupid carrots to my kids and have them draped all over me and them as we sit there and go through the book. I hope they eat their carrots.

Oh, I’ll make sure they do other. It’s a hard, no. You cannot leave that table until you eat those stupid carrots. That’s the way you do it, . Thanks dc. Thanks.


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