Bill Murray is a veritable fount of parenting wisdom.
The actor and comedian has six sons ― 35-year-old Homer, 32-year-old Luke, 24-year-old Cal, 21-year-old Jackson, 20-year-old Cooper and 16-year-old Lincoln.
In honor of his birthday on Thursday, we’ve rounded up some of his best parenting tips and musings.
On his approach to parenting:
“If you bite on everything they throw at you, they will grind you down. You have to ignore a certain amount of stuff. The thing I keep saying to them lately is: ‘I have to love you, and I have the right to ignore you.’ When my kids ask what I want for my birthday or Christmas or whatever, I use the same answer my father did: ‘Peace and quiet.’ That was never a satisfactory answer to me as a kid — I wanted an answer like ‘A pipe.’ But now I see the wisdom of it: All I want is you at your best — you making this an easier home to live in, you thinking of others.”
On his kids’ humor:
“For many years I was a tough laugh, but lately I’ve been giving it up. I appreciate when they’re trying to be funny, you know? I think they feel like they have to be funny, that I’ve got some standard of humor that they have to come to. But funny is funny, and there’s no denying funny.”
On welcoming your first child:
“People only talk about what a joyous experience it is, but there is terror: Your life, as you know it, is over. It’s over the day that child is born. It’s over, and something completely new starts.”
On how to deal with baby gas:
“When the kid first eats solid food, which usually happens around 6 months, sort of when you’re at the bottom of fatigue alley, they get gas and they don’t know what it is. They scream uncontrollably, it’s horrifying. Somehow I learned that peppermint breaks up gas, I went and got a candy and you just stick it in the kids mouth and you go back to sleep.”
On getting a baby to sleep:
“You just pump their legs, and then you do their arms, and they laugh very hard, and then the kid passes out.”
On his relationship with his older sons post-divorce:
“As much as the divorce was very hard, the fallout of it has been really great. I ended up much closer to my guys than I ever would have been.”
On not finding the great love of his life:
“I’m not sure what I am getting done here. I do have kids. I have children that I am responsible for and I enjoy that very much. And that wouldn’t have happened without women.”
On being a celebrity and a dad:
“There’s only a couple times when fame is ever helpful. Sometimes you can get into a restaurant where the kitchen is just closing. Sometimes you can avoid a traffic violation. But the only time it really matters is in the emergency room with your kids. That’s when you want to be noticed, because it’s very easy to get forgotten in an ER. It’s the only time when I would ever say, ‘Thank God. Thank God.’ There’s no other time.”
On parenting advice:
“I don’t know very much but I talk a lot about what I do know.”