Balancing the Juggling Act of Love, Marriage and Kids
by Christine Racheal



July 28, 2019


9 Minute Read


Balancing the Juggling Act of Love, Marriage and Kids

Kenny & Jessica Burns and Egypt Sherrod & DJ Fadelf talk “Married While Parenting” at the 2019 Black Love Summit.

Marriage and parenting: Two full-time jobs with no monetary benefit. You may enter the institution with a girlfriend, hot sex life, and plenty of time to concentrate on each other, only to find yourself later with a new roommate — your child — and suddenly no time, energy, or effort towards anything, or anyone, else.  

Related: Sex, Laughs and Lasting Love at the 2019 Black Love Summit

So how do we balance potty training, PTA meetings, and consistent adult play? (I should have led with the latter.) I tuned into the Married While Parenting panel at the 2019 Black Love Summit with Codie Elaine Oliver, Kenny & Jessica Burns, and Egypt Sherrod & DJ Fadelf to find out. From disciplining children to a shelfed sex life to lingering on the edge of divorce, these couples held nothing back when it comes to that juggle of the babies and the bae. 

You must be friends. 

2019 Black Love Summit

We underestimate the power of a foundation of friendship, but that is what these married couples stood upon when intimacy took a backseat to caring for children and the household. One of the major shifts in the marriage relationship after having children is the inability to have uninhibited sex with your partner. “We’re sneaking to have sex…and in the weirdest places, and then there are knocks on the door,” Egypt said drawing near DJ Fadelf as they joked about the kids’ intrusion. “That’s when you realize you have to be friends so you can laugh at those moments.” 

DJ Fadelf and Egypt were also open about the events that nearly led to the couple permanently parting ways — Egypt’s struggle with postpartum depression.

“I didn’t realize I had become a monster,” Egypt shared.  

“We stopped being friends,” DJ Fadelf recalled. “What’s going wrong? What are we doing that’s not right? I knew this was the woman I wanted in my life forever, so I had to discover what we needed to do to get past it.” 

DJ Fadelf wanted his friend back as much as his wife, and the two worked together to repair the relationship.

Ask for help. 

Why is it that men and women hold back from discussing their needs with their partners, yet are incredibly critical when he or she fails to meet their unacknowledged (and unspoken) desires? These couples didn’t force each other to read between the lines. 

“Men are not mind readers, but for a long time, I thought they should be.  We have to be fair. Men process things very differently.” 

“Men are not mind readers, but for a long time, I thought they should be,” Egypt said. “We have to be fair. Men process things very differently.” 

Related: How to Argue Like a Pro

“Say what you want and need,” Jessica suggested. She noted that often with other relationships — at work, with friends, people do speak their minds. It is important to bring that direct openness and honesty into your home with your spouse.   

Identify your village. 

The adage “It takes a village to raise a child” will never diminish to some ancient concept. DJ Fadelf said, “There is never going to be a balance. You have to integrate the lifestyle with a support system and the kids.” It is imperative that couples surround their family with like-minded individuals who will support and instill values within their children. 

Discipline is necessary.

Concerned about her child’s inability to see her as the “fun” parent, an audience member asked the panel how to tip the scales in her favor and be perceived as more than a disciplinarian. Kenny responded, “I am the disciplinarian in my house. Don’t worry about it.” 

Kenny described an incident with his son that literally left the boy walking a few blocks home after his rude behavior pushed his father’s buttons. After a physical altercation, Kenny was confident that the message was clear to his son. “You’re building them up to be real, productive humans,” he said. “They can never disrespect you. If they do, they will go out into the world with people who don’t care as much about them and disrespect them too.” 

Egypt’s daughter is also not exempt from being disciplined when she steps out of bounds. “I need her to have the fear of God in her,” she said.

Responsibility is 100/100 

When the couples were asked about the roles they play in the relationship as it pertains to caring for the kids and home, Jessica stated, “We’re the Cleavers. We set priorities… What are the needs that need to be met?” By setting priorities, roles go out the window and the family’s needs step into the forefront. 

By setting priorities, roles go out the window and the family’s needs step into the forefront.

“If you were a single man as a parent, you would do everything yourself anyway, so why divide roles because you’re married—cooking, cleaning, being silly. It should be 100/100,” DJ Fadelf offered. 

Hold on. It gets better. 

The changes that occur when your twosome is interrupted by an attention-seeking, super dependent third wheel is undeniable. “You lose your wife for a little while. It becomes about the kids,” Kenny said, his frustration apparent. “My sons are 15 and 18 and I’m so ready to get my girlfriend back and fuck whenever I want to.” The audience appreciated his sincerity, and his statements got down to the root of most parents’ irritation — the loss of the girlfriend or boyfriend. Date nights and freaky play in the sheets (or any other place) shift from spontaneous to planned. 

Related: Why This Married Mom Schedules Sex With Her Husband

Passion is no longer the driving force, but instead the availability of your partner and the possibility of privacy. 

After 19 years of marriage, and teenagers nearing the age of independence, the Burns are eager to complete the final stretch of dependent-child parenting. No matter where you are on the timeline of “please get out so we can screw”, know that the day will come for you two to fully enjoy each other without concern for the presence of others.  

“Never let your expectations exceed your effort.” 

This statement for Kenny concluded the segment and rang in the audience’s ears as we contemplated how our personal efforts in the relationship aligned with what we expected. “We poured our whole selves into our relationship. The only way we’re going to be our best is to show up,” Egypt said. 

“We poured our whole selves into our relationship. The only way we’re going to be our best is to show up.” 

There is no cookie-cutter method to parenting and maintaining balance in your relationship. Stick to being your authentic selves, build a friendship, ask for help, identify your village, take responsibility for yourself and your effort, and hold on, it gets better. In all, never lose sight of why you chose your partner. Underneath a thick layer of new, daunting responsibilities is the man or woman you fell in love with.