In April 2017, Actor Ashton Kutcher was awarded the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award, and apparently, when it comes to parenting and building good character, he’s learned a lot from his wife, Mila Kunis.
The award goes to “individuals who demonstrate good character and provide leadership and inspiration to meet our mission,” according to The Ray Awards website. And this year, the recipient was Kutcher. But he admits that Kunis has helped him become the man he is today.
In his acceptance speech, he thanked his wife for teaching him about what it means to be a parent and to exhibit good character each and every day.
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“I’m telling you, this morning, I woke up, and she kicked my ass on character,” Kutcher said about his wife. “I thought I was awesome because I got up early and helped with the kids before she woke up, and I let her sleep a little bit and then she’s like, ‘Well, now you’re gonna act tired? I do it every day.’ But it was a character moment, right? Because she’s right!”
He continued, “That’s a kind of jerk way to give something to someone. ‘Oh, I worked so hard to give you this gift,'” he said. “She kicks my ass on [character] every single day and she’s the best for it.”
Parenting is a partnership. Taking care of small children requires relentless, exhausting work day in and day out—and there isn’t a whole lot of praise or thanks involved with the job. (It’s the ultimate character-building experience, if you ask us!)
While the division of childcare and household duties has become more equal in recent years, women still put in more in those areas than men, despite 70 percent of all women with children under age 18 being employed or “looking for work,” according to the 2016 labor statistics.
It’s no wonder that a 2016 study found that moms “report less happiness, more stress and greater fatigue than fathers.” The study, How Parents Fare: Mothers’ and Fathers’ Subjective Well-Being in Time with Children, documented that moms do more solo parenting and bear more of the burden of responsibility for childcare, cleaning and cooking, and have less free time, while dads spend more time with children in low-stress activities like family leisure time.
If an Instagram share from April showing him working on a refrigerator is any indication, it does seem that Ashton helps out at home! His caption read: “Work really begins the moment you get home. Fix the refrigerator ✔”
In addition to acknowledging his realization that parenting is an equal partnership, Kutcher explains exactly how becoming a parent has taught him so much about love and being a good person.
“The greatest, greatest lesson in character in my life are my kids,” he said. “When I had these kids, my wife and I had these kids, and we got to share that amazing, amazing, amazing honor, my first response was, I wanted to call my parents and say, ‘I’m sorry, because I never knew how much you loved me.'”
Of course, Kunis has been known to gush about her husband, as well. In 2014, she told W Magazine, “We all get movie star crushes. I’m marrying mine.”