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The touring life is not always as glamorous as it seems. The movies make it look like it's a dream to rock on stage at night and party the day away on a bus. But particularly for those passing through city after city for weeks and months on end, all those days and nights on the road start to weigh on one's soul. And it weighs heavily on families, too. That's the case for Backstreet Boys' AJ McLean and his very lonely six-year-old daughter, Ava.
Here's the cute and heartbreaking way McLean explained things:
My oldest, about five days ago, had Mommy send Daddy a text saying, ‘Can you stop being a Backstreet Boy and just be my dad?’ So take [my heart] out, step on it, stab it, burn it and then do it again!
Between the released of Backstreet Boys' latest album DNA and their most recent tour, along with his work on his own solo record Long Road, AJ McLean has certainly kept himself busy these last few years. But the musician is also a family man, and when he's making albums or touring on the road, this intensive work keeps him away from his responsibilities as a parent.
As he explained in heartfelt detail to Entertainment Tonight, the life of a famous musician certainly has its perks, but it can also provide a heavy burden when it means he's not spending ample time with his wife and kids. AJ McLean and his wife, Rochelle, share two children together: the aforementioned Ava and 2-year-old Lyric. When you are the parent of young children, you want to be there for your kids. These are pivotal ages for the little ones, and if you are absent for large swaths of time, that can prove irreversible.
AJ McLean is aware of that; this isn't necessarily a "Cats in the Cradle" situation. At least, not in full. But as the musician explained at the 54th Academy of Country Music Awards on Sunday night, he is caught between wanting to work and provide his music for his fans and then also being there for his family. It's a tough balance, and it sounds like it's one that McLean hasn't quite mastered yet. And obviously, the clock is ticking away.
Mommy gets to be home, which I try to explain to my girls — ‘Be thankful Mommy and Daddy are both not working.' Mommy gets to be there, but Daddy always, always comes home.
Being a parent is practically a full-time job, as any caregiver will likely tell you. It takes a lot of hard work and it can be challenging, but the reward is exponential. But if you're not there for your children, that can also prove to be immensely challenging — not merely for you, but for the children as well. AJ McLean has channeled those frustrations into his music, fittingly enough.
A couple of his songs on his new album, including "Night Visions "and "Give You Away," are personal reflections for the musician. They talk about these difficulties that haunt him.
There are no easy answers here, and AJ McLean will continue to battle these struggles in the future. But it's clear that, despite all its pleasures and the joys that come from being with your fans, the life on the road is not without its downsides.