‘Fast & Furious’ star Tyrese and singer Ne-Yo have both opened up to HollywoodLife about their upcoming plans for Father’s Day with their children. Some…
THE LIFE of full-time working parents with young children is like a Formula 1 race car: a highly engineered and very expensive machine barreling through space at unwise speeds, every nut and bolt rattling under the pressure of traveling faster than cars should go.
You take the turn a little fast, you clip the car ahead of you, you hit the brakes too hard, and—boom!—you’re cartwheeling into the barrier and exploding in a big fiery ball.
There’s your family, a roadside pyre, with those dudes in orange vests hosing you down with that flame-retardant stuff that looks like fake snow.
Being full-time working parents requires fanatical organization. Many pieces have to fit together and function at a high level, from the most mundane (cooking breakfast, brushing teeth, finding a missing shoe) to the most sophisticated (screen sharing three separate PowerPoint presentations while your boss stares at your unshaven face and wonders why you own only one collared shirt). If one of these pieces fails: big fiery ball.
And that was before Covid-19. Being full-time working parents with young children in a pandemic is like Formula 1 racing Mad Max–style, with assassins camped out on the shoulder of the racetrack trying to kill you—a whole tent city of roadside killers licking their pierced lips, brandishing futuristic weapons, and slapping extra gel in their Mohawks as they prepare to tear you limb from limb.
The problem is, I’m a dad of action. I can change a diaper, pack a lunch, organize a playdate, and defuse a tantrum with the best of them. It’s not in my nature to sit idly by while the car I spent countless hours building, tuning up, and racing goes careering off the track.
However, a recent pandemic fireball forced me to reassess all of that. It began with our kids’ nanny flying home last-minute to visit her dying mother. The next day, one of my son’s kindergarten teachers tested positive for Covid, sending the entire class into quarantine for two weeks.
Hours later, my wife, a physician, got called into emergency surgery. I myself was staring down two script deadlines, which were approaching quicker than Ayrton Senna down the final stretch of the Monaco Grand Prix. The wheels were flying off the car. The barrier was coming up fast. Mohawks were getting gelled.
So I decided: Screw it. Screw my deadlines. Screw our routines. Screw this overly expensive, overly engineered life we’re convinced is so necessary. I’m taking my children and we’re running away. Those Mad Max motherfuckers may have us surrounded, but they’ve failed to consider one thing: my eject button.
I leave the Legos on the floor, the dirty dishes in the sink, the emails in the in-box. I throw the kids in the (non-metaphorical) car and we drive three hours to a cabin in the mountains. Just the three of us. As we head into the pines, me and my two beautiful children, I wonder why I need a moment of crisis to do this. Maybe it’s good to crash once in a while.
The kids and I spend the rest of the week in the mountains. It’s one of the best times we’ve had together. Yes, there are tantrums, leaky diapers, fights. And yes, those things are harder to manage when you’re a solo dad. But for the first time in a long while, I wasn’t trying to keep the Ferrari in racing shape. I was just getting up each day and hanging out with my kids.
When we descended from the hills, I wish I could say I traded in the Ferrari for a pickup. But I didn’t. I fired that low-slung, cherry-red speed demon right back up and hit the track at ungodly RPMs.
Except now my finger’s on the eject button—and I can’t wait to push it again.
This article originally appeared in the May 2021 issue of Men’s Health.
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