Ben Affleck knows the bottom-line truth about being a dad

It’s great to hear famous moms sharing their fears and insecurities about parenthood. At the very least, it makes us all feel a little better about the moments we all have when we feel like we’re getting everything wrong. The same goes for all moms, of course, but the famous ones have a pretty big platform from which to reach the rest of us.

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What we need is more celebrity dads to talk openly about the tough aspects of fatherhood. Step forward, Ben Affleck. The actor was at a press conference to promote his latest movie, The Accountant, last week and spoke frankly about being a dad to his three kids — Violet, 10, Seraphina, 7, and Samuel, 4.

In The Accountant, Affleck plays an autistic math genius whose strict father pushes him to battle his way through conflict. The actor admitted he could relate to the character’s parenting style, saying, “That’s what I thought was the most heartbreaking thing about the story, and it was definitely moving to me as a parent. I face dilemmas that we all do every day about what’s the right way to raise children, what’s the right thing to teach them. Every moment there comes a crossroad.”

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Affleck, currently separated from wife Jennifer Garner after 10 years of marriage, also said he tries to do his best to make good choices for his children: “When you have kids… what’s that expression? ‘Your heart is outside your body.’ All of a sudden you feel so vulnerable, and this fear of a child being vulnerable is very, very powerful… It’s not easy.”

Most parents will readily admit to going through parenthood with an undercurrent of vulnerability. Even when you think you’re doing the right thing by your kids, there’s still the overwhelming realization that their happiness and safety lie solely on your shoulders. The potential to mess it all up is huge, because life is complicated and difficult, and things don’t always go as planned.

Parenthood can be just as difficult for dads as it is for moms. You don’t need to experience chafed nipples or post-childbirth pain or all-night breastfeeding sessions or postpartum depression to experience the vulnerability that goes hand in hand with being a parent.

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