I was always the class clown, that kid that was a lot for teachers to deal with, and a handful for my hard-working single mother. But I was always happy, making people laugh and enjoying my life. A teacher in middle school once told me I would be an actor when I grew up, and so I did just that.
I've had the most surprising and awesome career ever since, from my start as the "Shave Everywhere" guy, a commercial that went so viral I once met someone in an audition who told me he had dressed up as me for Halloween, to my role as Josh on ABC's "Black-ish." I'm now a professional class clown, and I absolutely love doing what I do.
But for a while it wasn't a profession that always paid the bills or made it easy to raise a family. When my first son was born four years ago, my wife Christy and I split time taking care of the baby while the other would work. Being actors, there was no such thing as consistency.
Once, when our son Jack was three months old, my wife booked a commercial that shot about two hours away from our home. Jack didn't take bottles well, so I drove the two hours with Jack so Christy could breastfeed him during her lunch break and be able to fit into her wardrobe. These were things no one could have prepared us for. I look back on those days and just can't believe the things we pulled off.
Five months ago we welcomed our second son into the world, and things are easier this time around, in no small part because my wife and I, kind of, know how to do this parenting thing now, but also because we're in a better financial situation than we once were. We can afford to take some time off to get to know our new little guy and to make sure he's well cared for when we need to work. Every parent should have that time and peace of mind.
But fewer than 15 percent of Americans have any paid leave, which means they're making crazy decisions to try and figure out how to keep their jobs, make enough money to provide for their families and still have time to spend with their kids. Nearly one out of every four women who gives birth in the United States goes back to work just two weeks later.