John Krasinski is learning the ropes of fatherhood.
The actor and his wife, Emily Blunt, have two daughters, 3-year-old Hazel and 1-year-old Violet. Since becoming a dad, Krasinski has opened up about how having children changed his outlook on work, family and more.
In honor of his birthday, we rounded up some of his sweetest and funniest quotes about parenthood.
On his life pre-kids:
“I think the biggest question I have is, what did I do with my life before this? What did I do with all the time that I had on my hands? I think it’s certainly a full-on job, and something that I enjoy so much, but I really do look back and think, was I just the dude who ate potato chips and movies all day?”
On how parenthood changes you:
“I think having kids totally changes your perception of family and where you’re from. I think you realize first and foremost how it’s really hard to be a great parent and you’re just trying. There’s no perfection. There’s no school. There’s no defined way to go about it; you’re just learning. And I think that there’s such a long period of time when you’re a kid that you see your parents as superheroes; they can do no wrong. But you realize they figured everything out by trial and error too, and there’s something very humbling about that. I really connected to my parents even more, thinking of them as young parents, as I am now. I think you look back and realize what an incredible job they did and how dedicated they’ve been to you.”
On baby names:
“I didn’t consider any crazy baby names. We were pretty set on the two names we chose. We’re big fans of old lady names, so when we looked up both, I think the last time their names were popular was 1890. That was perfect for us; that’s what we were going for.”
On wishing people were honest about parenthood:
“I’m a big fan of being open about the truth and how you really feel, and not putting on a pretty face for everybody. No one really tells you that it’s hard and there are sleepless nights. Kids get sick, kids fall down and get hurt, and all these things are really intense and really emotionally difficult and you hurt for them more than you hurt for yourself. And one of the best things I ever heard from one of my friends who just had a kid was, ‘It’s so amazing, it’s the best thing that could happen’ and I said ‘That’s so great.’ And he said ‘And it’s really, really hard,’ and I said ‘Thank you so much for being honest.’ I think there’s a sense of relief hearing that it’s hard for other people, because you’re all in this fight together.”
On taking care of babies as a team:
“When they’re really young, my job is just being my wife’s personal assistant. I change diapers, get bottles, get breast pumps. I know how to do it all.”
On the priceless sibling moments:
“I mean when a 2-and-a-half-year-old hugs a newborn baby it’s one of the cutest things you will ever see.”
“When I became a dad, I think that I was unprepared for all of it. I think the great misconception is that you think you’re prepared. You can read all the books you want, and I certainly thought I was prepared because I had such amazing parents growing up. I just figured, I’ll just do exactly what they did. And then you realize that moment to moment, you don’t know what they did because there is no manual; there’s no exact way to go about things.”
On the existential crisis of fatherhood:
“I was never scared to have a kid; I was actually always looking forward to it. One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was be a dad. But in this existential way, there’s a giant mirror held up to you, whether you like it or not, and you start questioning yourself: ‘Are you ready to be a dad? Are you a good enough man to be a dad?’”
On going from one kid to two:
“I think the biggest difference is when you have one and you want to take a break or are tired, you get to pass the baby off. And now when you have two, if you pass one off, you get another one right back.”
“I find myself feeling more and more confident as days go on and you actually start, you just start feeling really proud of yourself in a way that you haven’t before, because you’re actually being responsible for someone and getting through the day and you definitely feel like a more fully formed person — at least I did.”
On an unexpected benefit of having kids:
“It’s a great inspiration to stay in shape. Hazel is the perfect example — [even] in the last two years, it’s harder and harder to pick her up ... I don’t want to pick up my kids and throw my back out. It’s nice to stay in shape because it allows me to keep up with them.”
On how kids change your perception of family:
“All the clichés of parenting are true and you feel all sort of new things. It was really this new existential magnet that you feel draw to your family ... and you understand your parents more, you understand your brothers’ relationships more, you understand even your family’s name. That you are from somewhere.”
On the magic of parenthood:
“I truly ― every single night ― say, ‘I can’t believe these two amazing girls are mine.’”
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.