Receive the help, keep the sex-life lit and find your village –– this was just an ounce of the knowledge poured at Black Love Summit’s Wives Panel. The wives –– Ryan Michelle Bathe, Khadeen Ellis, Aonika Thomas, Ashley Chea and Vanessa Spencer, all featured on the show Black Love –– gathered in a glowed-up girlfriends’ conversation that got down to the nitty gritty of how life’s been since starting the journey of being a wife.
From dealing with husbands who parent differently, to sexy-time all-the-time, to parenting in today’s political climate, the tea was being poured and served piping hot.
First cup: Parenting. “I’ve decided to take a back-pedal approach to parenting. Whatever happens happens,” Ryan said of her “let go” method. “If they’re alive at the end of the day and haven’t died, they just need to know that they’re loved and there’s some food somewhere for them to eat,” said Ryan. This method was well-received as the wives were transparent about what it has taken for them all to adopt this “let it go” revelation. Ashley related this to she and her husband, Chea’s differing parenting styles. “He doesn’t do anything the way I do it. However, he managed to get through his life the way he’s been doing things. My self-care is letting go and letting him help me so I’m less stressed out. I still have to breathe through it sometimes, but I’m happier that way.”
The most salacious sip of the night came when the subject shifted to sex.
“When it doesn’t all work and I’m overwhelmed, Sean comes to me and says, ‘let me take half of your list and then you meet me at 10:30pm on your knees, and be ready,” Aonika said, erupting the room into laughter. Ashley provided the largest uproar of the panel when sharing about an unexpected break in she and Chea’s sex routine. “We had a healthy sex life –– like every single day for the past 11 years –– until we had our third child, and then we didn’t have sex for like two months straight, and I thought something was wrong with our relationship.”
“You didn’t have a period?” one attendee shouted as most of the audience sat in shock to hear of such a healthy sex-filled marriage. “You don’t have a towel?” Ashley fired back. The entire room howled as Khadeen came in with the realness: “There’s other ways to make it do what it do.”
And we were only 30 minutes into our girl time.
“I’m sorry…I’m just really quick witted.” Ashley continued, “but I actually enjoyed it [the sex break] and I felt like we connected on a different level, because I think a lot of our love language was communicating that way [physically], it was good for us, because it forced us to connect in a fresh way and actually talk and love on each other”.
On the subject of self-care, the wives were honest that the struggle is real, but it’s essential. “Self-care is so important as a Mom and if you don’t have the time to pour into yourself every now and then the kids will notice,” Khadeen passionately stated. Aonika shared on the self care benefits of her new Crossfit regimen: “Go punch bags, drag tires and then go home and be nice to your children.” “Men have an innate way of caring for themselves,” Ryan said. “Something clicks in his brain and he’s like… ‘and I’m out’. I’ve learned it is a very valuable skill. I’ve decided to take a page out of that particular manual with a little more planning to it,” said Ryan.
Okay, so all that sounds nice, but what do you do if hubby has his own schedule and isn’t able to give you that relief you need when you are at the limit with your kids? “Find your village,” said Ryan,
“We are the first generation to do this on our own, multiple children, lives and [we] do it all by ourselves not living near family. We have had to outsource our village.”
Moderator, Vanessa Spencer shifted into the current political climate. “What are the kind of conversations you are having in your household?” she asked the panel. Aonika shared her thoughts on speaking to her children about choosing to participate in social and political statements: “in regards to kneeling during the National Anthem, if you’re going to make such a statement, you need to understand why. It’s information overload nowadays, and finding the right ways to talk about these things with our littles is very hard, but they need to know.” Vanessa added, “When you arm someone with the education as to why they need to or might want to do something, it takes away the negative aspect and empowers them to make the right decision.”
Though every wife had a different perspective that added to the fire of the village, in the end, each one chose joy as their way of contributing to their family. “The most joyful time spent is when we make a conscious effort to be completely disconnected and be fully engaged,” said Khadeen.
And with that, our girls day, I mean, Wives Panel, ended, leaving us refreshed with new ways to honor our family, and ourselves, through our role as a wife. I’ll raise a glass to that.