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33 Amazing Quotes About Fatherhood Only Dads Will Truly Understand

"A man that doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."

Trying to explain what being a father is like to somebody who's never experienced it firsthand is virtually impossible. Yes, there's the immense and unconditional love for your children—which comes with an intensity you never anticipated—but it's more complex than that. Being a dad brings highs and lows, frustrations and unfathomable joys, and moments that you couldn't possibly understand until you've been a parent yourself. Fatherhood is the ultimate "you had to be there to get it" life experience.

Here are 33 quotes from famous dads about the weird, wild ride of fatherhood that only those who've been in the trenches of parenting will truly appreciate.

Jim Gaffigan

jim gaffigan press photo, father quotes

"I don't know what's more exhausting about parenting: the getting up early or the acting like you know what you are doing." (via Dad Is Fat)

Jon Stewart

jon stewart press photos, father quotes
Ovidiu Hrubaru/Shutterstock

"It's so rare you get a chance to ruin someone from scratch." (via 2013 Stand Up for Heroes concert)

Chris Rock

Chris Rock relationship advice

"Nobody appreciates daddy. Nobody ever says, 'Hey, daddy, thanks for knocking out this rent!' 'Hey, daddy, I sure love this hot water!' 'Hey, daddy, it's easy to read with all this light!'" (via YouTube)

Ryan Reynolds

ryan reynolds press photo, father quotes

"Nothing's better than spending an entire morning staring into my baby daughter's eyes, whispering, 'I can't do this.'" (via Twitter)

Neil Patrick Harris

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Everett Collection/Shutterstock

"You have to be adaptable because [your kids] constantly keep changing. They'll do something that blows your mind and then they'll spit all their food out on the carpet." (via a 2013 interview)

Jason Sudeikis

jason sudeikis press photos, father quotes

"Having a boy, I have a better understanding of how I'm going to screw him up." (via People)

Lin Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton

"Good parenting means investing in your child's future, which is why I am saving to buy mine a hoverboard someday." (via Twitter)

Conan O'Brien

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"My son asked me where babies come from, and to distract him I said, 'Someday we're all going to die.'" (via Twitter)

Stephen Colbert

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"A father has to be a provider, a teacher, a role model, but most importantly, a distant authority figure who can never be pleased. Otherwise, how will children ever understand the concept of God?" (via I Am America)

Taye Diggs

taye diggs press photos, father quotes
s_bukley / Shutterstock

"Someone asked my son what his father does for a living. He said, 'He plays basketball and changes his shorts.'" (via Twitter)

James Van Der Beek

James Van Der Beek press photos, father quotes

"Some people can play the piano like Mozart. I can find a sharp corner in a room without even looking for it." (via 2014 interview)

Tom Baker (played by Steve Martin)

Steve Martin

"Hey, every dad is entitled to one hideous shirt, and one horrible sweater. It's part of the dad code!" (via Cheaper By the Dozen 2)

Homer Simpson

homer simpson, the simpsons episode, father quotes
IMDB/20th Century Fox Television

"The key to parenting is don't overthink it. Because overthinking leads to … what were talking about?" (via The Simpsons, "Insane Clown Poppy")

Nick Hornby

nick horby author of fever pitch, father quotes

"There must be many fathers around the country who have experienced the cruelest, most crushing rejection of all: Their children have ended up supporting the wrong team." (via Fever Pitch)

Andy Richter

andy richter press photos, father quotes

"When my kids and I have a water fight it still takes me at least two full minutes to remember to not ruthlessly dominate." (via Twitter)

Kurt Vonnegut

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"Advice my father gave me: never take liquor into the bedroom. Don't stick anything in your ears. Be anything but an architect." (via Kurt Vonnegut: Letters)

Rob Delaney

rob delaney press photo, father quotes

"Parenting Tip: If your child is crying, hold it close and whisper, 'You don't have a clue what horrors this world holds.'" (via Twitter)

Seth Meyers

seth meyers press photos, father quotes

"Most noticeable difference since becoming a dad: I've cried hard TWICE at America's Got Talent this season." (via Twitter)

Don Corleone

marlon brando as don corleone in the godfather, father quotes
IMDB/Paramount Pictures

"A man that doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man." (via The Godfather)

Paul Rudd

paul rudd celebrity anti aging tips

"If I can walk around in my underwear and pull it up super high so it's just gross-looking and then try and be very serious with them. I like to do that … pretend to be very mad and have my underwear hiked up … really high." (via a 2011 interview)

Stephen King

Stephen King Famous People Who Used to be Teachers

"My father had taught me—mostly by example—that if a man wanted to be in charge of his life, he had to be in charge of his problems." (via Joyland)

Jerry Seinfeld

jerry seinfeld press photos, father quotes

"When the kids are laughing that dad doesn't know what is going on, you've arrived. If kids think dad is cool, something has gone terribly wrong." (via 2016 Los Angeles Fatherhood Lunch speech)

James Breakwell

james breakwell book cover

"Don't ask me if I've seen a new movie. I have four little girls. If there wasn't a singing princess in it, the answer is no." (via Twitter)

Umberto Eco

Foucault's Pendulum book cover, father quotes

"I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren't trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom." (via Foucault's Pendulum)

Brian A. Klems

oh boy you're having a girl book cover, father quotes

"Sometimes your role as a dad is just to listen. Listen to sounds, music, those amazingly annoying Wonder Pets, whose voices are the real reason God invented Advil." (via Oh Boy, You're Having a Girl)

Harmon Killebrew

harmon killebrew statue in minnesota, father quotes

"We used to play a lot of ball out in the front yard, and my mother would say, 'You're tearing up the grass and digging holes in the front yard?' And my father would say, 'We're not raising grass here, we're raising boys.'" (via Hall of Fame induction speech)

John Cheever

john cheever book, father quotes

"Some part of loving one's children is to part with them." (via The Journals of John Cheever)

Jonathan Safran Foer

extremely loud and incredibly close book cover, father quotes

"He promised us that everything would be okay. I was a child, but I knew that everything would not be okay. That did not make my father a liar. It made him my father." (via Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

Markus Zusak

the book thief book cover, father quotes

"Sometimes I think my papa is an accordion. When he looks at me and smiles and breathes, I hear the notes." (via The Book Thief)

John Updike

rabbit run book cover, father quotes

"You know how it is with fathers, you never escape the idea that maybe after all they're right." (via Rabbit, Run)

Christopher Hitchens

hitch, a memoir book cover, father quotes

"Nothing can make one so happily exhilarated or so frightened: it's a solid lesson in the limitations of self to realize that your heart is running around inside someone else's body." (via Hitch 22: A Memoir)

Dan Pearce

single dad laughing book cover, father quotes

"Saturday mornings, I've learned, are a great opportunity for kids to sneak into your bed, fall back asleep, and kick you in the face." (via Single Dad Laughing)

Ernest Hemingway

ernest hemingway photo, father quotes

"In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing, he felt quite sure that he would never die." (via "Indian Camp") And for more amazing fatherhood advice, learn about these 20 Easy Ways to Be a (Much) Better Father.

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