The past two years have been an eventful one for pop-culture fans. Robin Thicke’s lyrics, “Don’t be afraid to show it / You know what I mean,” from his 2013 single “Blurred Lines,” set the tone for a year of groundbreaking music that continues today.

Now it’s time for the world to turn its attention to a slightly different side of Tinseltown: parenting. For the first time in a decade, the studios haven’t lined up megastar wedding songs for the summer of 2018 (at least not yet). Moviegoers will instead witness the transformative power of parenthood, as seen through the eyes of a child. But to what extent can movie stars reflect real life?

One of the most famous faces of Hollywood today is father-of-one Robert Pattinson. The actor, who rose to fame as the lead in the Twilight blockbuster series, has spent the last two years adjusting to life as a father. And he’s opened up about the “torture” of parenthood in a major new interview with Vogue Australia. Here, he talks to Liz Kelly about the most challenging aspects of fatherhood and how it’s changed his life.

The Psychological Impact of Parenting

Pattinson’s first child, a son named Jack, was born in 2017. The actor, who also has a daughter, Lily, with his partner, film producer and director, Kate Winslet, has spoken frankly about the difficulties of fatherhood, including insomnia, mood swings, and anxiety. In the Vogue Australia interview, he recounts how difficult parenting can be:

“It’s like trying to teach yourself a new language. It’s like being tortured. I don’t know if that’s the right way to put it, but it’s like trying to figure something out that you’re not sure of, and every night you go to sleep is another night where you might not understand and might not be able to solve the issue. It’s terrible. I wouldn’t wish it on anybody.”

The actor, who has talked openly about his mental health in the past, says he felt he had to confront his anxieties head on. As a result, he took a sabbatical from acting to focus on his family. His decision to step back from the public eye allowed him to recharge and get a fresh start. And after a difficult few months, things are looking up for the family. Pattinson celebrated the birth of his son with Winslet and shared an exhilarating Instagram video of Lily throwing a tantrum.

Pattinson has also spoken proudly about the fact that he chose to become a father before marrying Winslet. In an interview with GQ magazine, he discussed how he prepared for parenthood, explaining that he wanted to be sure he was ready to commit to a lifetime of responsibility and sacrifice:

“I wanted to make sure that I had all the necessary tools to be a good father, that I could handle the stresses and strains of parenthood, that I could commit fully to [my son’s] well-being. So I decided to get a vasectomy.”

While it’s encouraging to see a celebrity speak so candidly about the challenges of fatherhood, it’s still important to remember that these are just the facts. We need more positive role models, especially in light of the fact that the stigma surrounding fatherhood is one of the major issues facing our society today. According to the National Parenting Center, one of the most common parenting stressors is feeling unprepared. To combat this, the center advises new parents to take steps to ensure they’re as prepared as possible for the role, including developing a parenting plan and getting family and friends to help out.

Fortunately, there are many ways stars can support new parents, especially in these first few years. Actors, musicians, and other celebrities can donate their time to mentoring programs that help new parents navigate the unique challenges of fatherhood. They can also speak with children about the responsibilities of parenthood, as well as the fun experiences that come with them.

The Changing Role of Modern Day Fathers

Although the concept of the modern day father has existed since the 1700s, the role has evolved significantly over time. Today, fathers are more involved in their children’s lives than ever before. And, as a result, their responsibilities have increased. According to the American Institute of Stress, fathers today are more likely to feel guilty for not being there physically than they are for not being a good father. This, in turn, can lead to anxiety and depression.

Because of this, it’s more important than ever for fathers to take time out for themselves. As Pattinson states, “I think that all the expectations that society has on men are counterproductive and wrong. Men should be allowed to be men.” In other words, it’s time for modern day fathers to step back, take a load off, and let their kids be kids.

One area where the expectations are particularly high is in the area of financial responsibility. In 2017, fathers spent an average of 2.5 hours per day caring for their children, compared to 1.8 hours per day on household chores. But despite this, the typical household with children spends around $200 per week less than the non-parenting households. This is obviously a significant burden for parents who are now expected to provide not only for their children’s physical needs, but also their emotional and financial ones. While it’s important to be a good parent and ensure your child has the best possible upbringing, it’s also important to remember that parenting is difficult and demanding and it’s not always easy to find time for yourself. We need to stop putting so much pressure on parents and let them focus on what’s most important to them. After all, that’s what’s most important to their child.