In a 2022 essay for Mother.ly, Nicole described the impossibility of keeping it together 24/7 during lockdown, making it more important than ever for she and Michael to pass the baton back and forth, ensuring the other could come up for air when need be.
“So we worked as a team,” the former Miss California USA explained, “trading off time with the kids for ‘me’ time, workouts in the gym, or catching up with a friend or therapist.”
They also took the opportunity to share some of Daddy’s coping mechanisms with the boys, such as the tension-releasing lion’s breath.
“It’s just a deep breath,” Michael said on TODAY in January 2021. “And at times, if they’re feeling super-high anxiety or if they’re frustrated, you let out a gigantic roar. You know, there is a lot of roaring in the house at times.”
He and Nicole have been honest with their boys about what depression means, not wanting them to misinterpret whatever might be going on with their father if he needs a mental health timeout. Or, as he has put it, he can’t fill his family’s cup if his is only half-full.