On Sunday, October 7th, couples and singles alike convened on Los Angeles, California at the W Hotel Hollywood for the first ever Black Love Summit. The couple that created the BLACK LOVE series on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) invited experts, celebrities and couples featured on the show to dig deeper into their personal stories and fellowship on fostering healthy relationships. Below are some of the highlights from this inaugural event.
Married While Parenting with Chris & Vanessa Spencer | Moderator: Codie Elaine Oliver
The balance of being married while parenting might already sound like a bit extra on a plate in our fast-paced society, but imagine if one spouse has a consistent traveling schedule and you have two babies under two? That’s exactly what writer and comedian Chris Spencer and his wife Vanessa dove into during their talk at The Black Love Summit. The couple, whose children are now teenagers, spoke openly on how they have navigated the balance of being married while raising children.
Vanessa weighed in on her perspective of running the household while Chris was on the road.
“I would talk to him and he would say, ‘Oh I’m so tired.’ Oh yeah…you’re tired traveling from island to island having fun covering events and playing golf in your down time,” she said in reference to Chris’s work trips that sometimes lasted 10 days. “I’ll tell you tired,” she continued. “I have two kids 16 months apart. One just went to sleep, the other needs a diaper change. I felt like he was just out having fun and I was home all alone.”
“I had a lot of guilt, and when I’d come home it was like trying to double-dutch with jump ropes on fire…like how do I get in? Where do I fit in?” Chris said in reference to trying to find his way back into the parenting routine that Vanessa had developed every time he was away. The Spencers spoke on navigating the tension during this fast-paced season in their lives and how to communicate effectively with each other ensuring, to the best of their ability, that each spouse comes out on top at the end of conflict. “I really try to lean in when in conflict because I never want the other person to be walking away feeling like they weren’t whole or heard,” Vanessa said. “We are in this together.”