Gino D’Acampo has shared his frustrations about the pressures put on working parents to spend more time than they have with their children, due to unrealistic pressures from celebrities and social media.
The TV chef, 46, opened up about his style of parenting and why he doesn’t subscribe to the idea that parents must do it all, all the time.
He explained on the Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast with Giovanna Fletcher, that while he likes to get stuck in with his kids, he doesn’t feel guilty about missing part of their childhood in order to go to work and provide for his family.
Gino revealed: ‘I don’t have those kind of regrets that fathers or mums have because they work and they don’t spend enough time [with their children].
‘I come from a generation where I used to see my dad in the evening Monday to Saturday, when we had dinner at the table, for about an hour. And then I used to see him on Sunday for a couple of hours. He used to take us to the park or something like that.
‘I don’t buy into this thing where I have to feel that I have to do things, or society makes me feel that I have to do things all the time with kids.’
Gino believes that a parent providing for their children should not feel bad for spending those hours away from their offspring, or needing to take some time for themselves or their partner.
He added: ‘I think it’s insane when I see a lot of working mums and working dads, you see they’re kind of suffering because they wanted to spend more time with the kids, but probably not because they want to but because they feel that they have to.’
Gino believes people like David Beckham might be to blame, as seeing others on social media puts pressure on parents to do the same.
He explained: ‘It’s because of social media and the things we see. I blame David Beckham – I mean not literally – because before David Beckham dads they used to go to work and they used to see the kids in the evening.
‘Then he came around, or people like him, and we started to have social media, so everybody started to see what other celebrities [were doing].
‘They used to take their kids everywhere, they used to take the kids to school, they used to take the kids to work – it was like “that f**k’s ruined my life, that man, now I have to do the same”.
‘We all felt we had to keep up with this cool parenting where you’re doing things. Dads taking their kids to school? I never remember seeing any dads when I was a boy going to school.
‘This idea of the cool dad and the cool mum is only cr*p.’
Gino also revealed that he worked a lot when his sons, Luciano, 20, and Rocco, 17, were little, but made the decision to only work six months of the year after having daughter Mia, nine, with his wife Jessica.
He added: ‘I’ve always been a very hands on dad, I changed nappies straight away, fed them straight away because one of the things that I’ve always done is to treat children not with bubblewrap all around them. I’ve always treated children like adults.’
Gino admitted he finds it easier to take part in activities once his kids are a bit older as he is ‘not interested’ in the cartoons and colouring younger kids want to do.
He explained: ‘I don’t want to say I don’t like children, because it’s not true, so hear me out here. I don’t like the children when they’re children. Ok, technically you’re right – I don’t like children!
‘I love my girl Mia, she’s my princess, but if she says to me “Would you like to do Lego for half an hour?” the answer is no. “Would you like to watch again Frozen II for an hour and 20 minutes?” No.
‘And I don’t feel that I have to just because she’s my princess. If I say to her “Let’s go shopping”, because I like that, that’s what I do.
‘I like to do different things, but I don’t want to do children things – colouring, all that c**p, glittering, not interested, never been interested, never, ever, ever.’
Gino added: ‘Cooking yes, that’s probably the only thing I would say “Come on, one of you give me a hand”. Cooking, yes.
‘I don’t have patience for kids. For me they can come to me and start to talk to me sensibly after about 13 – they need to be teenagers. I can deal with that although many people say that is the worst time, no – that’s easy.
‘I don’t want to deal with someone that you can’t reason with. That’s the thing, that’s the problem.’