Parents have faced a variety of challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. For New England Patriots quarterback Cam Newton, the hardest part was trying to be a present dad from afar during the NFL season.
“It was challenging being away from my children because they didn’t travel with me to Boston,” he told HuffPost while promoting his partnership with Downy.
“Also having the mental fortitude to stay focused on a FaceTime call ― it’s not the easiest to talk to a 2-year-old, a 3-year-old, a 5-year-old, and even the teenagers get over it after about two or three minutes,” the football star quipped. “You ask, ‘How was your day at school today?’ ‘Good.’ ‘Well how was this?’ ‘Good.’ ‘What are you eating?’ And then they put the phone down and try to hand it off. That’s probably been the most difficult thing.”
Newton has described himself as a “proud father of seven.” He has four children ― Chosen, Sovereign-Dior, Camidas and Cashmere ― with ex-girlfriend Kia Proctor and is a father figure to Shakira, Proctor’s daughter from a previous relationship. He also has a son, Casear, with La Reina Shaw and embraces Jaden, her first child from a past relationship, as a son as well.
The pandemic has required some major schedule shuffling for all families, including his own, said Newton.
“Normally, a parent has those hours of breathing time to get themselves together while their kids are at school, but they’re not able to do that because of COVID and schools being closed and classes on Zoom calls,” he noted.
Newton has made headlines for his sartorial choices. He told HuffPost his passion for fashion began in his early years growing up in a Pentecostal church community with a bishop father.
“It stemmed from putting on your Easter’s finest, ironing your khakis, your outfits prior to going to church on Sundays, making sure that your shoes were polished, polishing my father’s shoes too,” he recalled. “I took pride in those things. And looking through different magazines, I dreamed of one day having the ability to afford expensive clothes or just clothes that could hold.”
The Heisman Trophy winner said he was always intrigued by the different patterns and colors that could go together in an outfit ― an interest that is clear in his style choices.
“I’ve always been into the details of fashion ― the extra cuffing of your pants or jeans, different colors of socks that go with the colors of your shirt, having the additions from lapel pins to pocket squares to adding a feather in your hat ― any little niche you can add to an outfit, I’m all for. If it matches, doesn’t matter.”
Newton said his younger kids are still figuring out how to put on their clothes by themselves but are starting to show an interest in what they wear.
“If it were up to Chosen, he’d wear his jersey every single day,” he joked about his 5-year-old, adding that the older ones have more of a sense of style. Lately, 13-year-old Shakira has been wearing a lot of boots and black and darker colors, which he supports.
“I try to have her embrace that style because you never know if it’s just a phase or if it’s something that’s gonna spark some type of ventures later on down in life,” he said. “I’m never gonna negate a broader theory you may have for yourself, no matter what age you are.”
This is the kind of approach to style and creativity he encourages in his children and all young people who may be exploring their personal interests.
“I’m always talking to people, always talking to myself, always trying to push the pendulum of being unique, being your own self, and not allowing another person’s approval to dictate your happiness,” Newton explained. “When you have that type of understanding of yourself and understanding why you’re doing certain things, it makes everything easier.”
“Because the truth of the matter is we’re living in a day and age when everybody’s not going to like you, everybody’s not going to like your picture, everybody’s not going to approve of your outfit, approve of your shoes, approve of how you’re wearing a certain type of fit, let alone the type of person you are,” he added. “So you’re better off trying to approve of yourself as you come into your own.”