The one lesson I’ve learned? An empty nest is nothing to be sad about because while kids are great they also ruin your life, writes JACK DEE

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  • Jack D is famous for his deadpan delivery, co-writing and starring in the sitcom
  • Admission can’t wait for a day that isn’t wasted by kids at some point
  • Comedian, 60, who lives in London, says he is able to sort himself out

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Famous for his deadpan delivery, 60-year-old comedian Jack D co-wrote and starred in the sitcoms Lead Balloon and Bad Move. He lives in London with his wife, Jane, and has two daughters, 29 and 25, and twin sons, 23.

Kids are the best thing to happen to you, but they ruin your life. The danger of shedding light on that aspect of it is considerable. You can fool your friends and people in the park and say: ‘Isn’t this cute for kids?’ You’re screaming inside.

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But Jen and I found out when we said: ‘Isn’t that hard work?’ There were always parents who would reply: ‘I don’t know what you’re talking about. Casper is such an intelligent and such a good company.’

I liked it when I could sleep and do things that I enjoyed. I remember telling Jane: ‘I can’t wait for the day never to be wasted by children.’ And he said: ‘Yeah, it’s hard isn’t it?’ It sounds harsh, but it’s healthy to admit it. It took the pressure off both of us.

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Jack Dee (pictured), 60, who lives in London, admitted that the empty nest brought him tears of joy as he couldn’t wait for a day the kids didn’t waste any time.

I have friends who sob at the empty nest. But when you have four kids, the tears are of joy. Obviously you love your kids. But we did not hesitate for a moment to say goodbye to him. It was always: ‘Thank God, we have filled the car with duvets and clothes, and they have halls of houses and now they can find food for themselves.’

My parents were a lot: go out and make your own mistakes.

At the age of 18, I moved to Grenoble, France for nine months. My parents took me to the train station in Winchester – then for two weeks there was no answer from me. As my mother told me years later, she thought: ‘I want to know if he’s still alive.’ Of course I finally called my mother. But today it is unimaginable that a mother would let her baby go for two weeks and not worry.

Like some parents, I never track my kids on Facebook. It’s creepy. I am there for them if they need help, but they have to sort things out on their own and are fully capable of doing that.

My tour was canceled during the lockdown, so I wrote a book about the self-help industry as a fake suffering uncle. This is a comic book. If you can find counseling or psychotherapy that works for you, these people can be miracle workers, and I think it’s important that we stop stigmatizing mental health issues. But I also think that there are a lot of cheaters in this area.

That’s why I cover all the major dilemmas – relationships, parenthood, money and, yes, the empty nest. Sometimes tough love can be liberating!

What is your problem? Little Ray of Sleet Grapples with Life’s Major Dilemmas, by Jack Dee (£20, Quercus).

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