BMWK: Speaking of Kids, What Are Your Parenting Philosophies? Does Good Cop/Bad Cop Exist in Your Household and Who Plays Which Role?
Allison: Marc often asks them who is sterner with them, and it really goes back and forth. One week it’s mommy, and another week it’s daddy, but mostly, it’s me. We try to stay on the same page as far as punishment and the tough lessons go. They are really good girls, so that’s a very rare occasion when we really need to sit down as a family and talk. We truly believe in presenting a united front.
But as far as my philosophy goes, to be completely honest, we live in a very white area. The girls go to school in a very white environment, and I’ve tried to be steadfast in teaching them about their community as African American little women and their responsibilities in making sure they always represent. We try to connect them with children who are in very different environments than we are in. [Because] I want them to know that we are all brothers and sisters regardless of where we live and that they belong to a larger community [even] though they don’t see that when they look around at their friends sometimes. We try to introduce African American clubs, we go to an African American church, and we try to see a family when we can. It’s very important to me they know their history and where they come from.
Marc: Balance with real conversations about pop culture and about race is important. We’re all human beings at the end of the day, but it’s important to us that they have that balance. If you don’t honestly have a conversation about it, it becomes very challenging when you get blindsided by it. So, as parents, we are very much in play with whatever is going on in their lives. If you have a real relationship, you can pretty much sense if something is going on. If there’s space created, that’s when the danger happens. So, we always try to eliminate the space by checking in and talking to them often.
BMWK: What Advice Do You Have On Having Children Early in Your Marriage While Still Being Able to Sustain Demanding Careers and the Bond That You Have?
Allison: It really makes us stronger. We were both 33 years old when we got married, and I think that helped. We were a little bit more mature, so by the time the girls came around, we were ready. One of our strong bonds is laughter. We’re both pretty funny people. At the core of everything—even at the worst moment—there’s always room for a light moment.
When the kids came along, it was a bigger but more serious comedy act. We found joy and laughter. Things never got too hectic and crazy because we were learning this together. As long as you take time for yourself and truly like the person you’re married to, children should only serve to enhance the marriage. I would just tell people: don’t think the children will help to fill some empty spots in your relationship. It will only make those empty spots more glaring in my opinion. But, if your unit is tightly going in, then you should be able to look at the kids and see your love made manifest, and that’s extremely powerful.
Marc: You can tell we really do enjoy our family and each other, and that’s kind of our thing. Not everybody does it that way. Giving advice is tough because it’s really the individual and what’s important to them.