BMWK: What has been your biggest hurdle in your marriage?
Toni: Being a blended family was really one of the hardest things. With my oldest two boys from Griff’s first marriage, their mom is white and they lived a different type of life before they came to live in Atlanta with us. Then my son was in that awkward age of ‘you’re not my daddy’, then we had a 4 year old girl at the time who now had to blend in with all these boys. And then we had a baby together so everybody had to embrace that baby.
Griff: The baby was the most important because she can’t take care of herself so all of y’all shut up [laughs].
BMWK: What are some things that may have helped the situation?
Toni: Honestly, for the very first time that we decided to reconnect with each other and decided to go on a date (I was a single mom of two and he was divorced with his sons), we went on a family date. We wanted everybody to kind of feel one another out. We went into it with open eyes about parenting. When we became serious, he told his boys he didn’t want to ever hear them tell me that I wasn’t their mom. And he told my son that he didn’t want to hear that because he wasn’t trying to be his dad but that we were parents.
One of the things we try not to do is let our kids see us get upset in each other’s face. We try to go behind closed doors when we have an issue to discuss, so we always try to make a front. It’s hard raising teenagers so we realized that sticking together makes it easier and reminds us that it’s about the kids and not always about us.