Friday, January 23, 2015

Exclusive Interview With Daphne Wayans

The Wonderful World of
The New Look of Relationships/Parenting 
By Belinda Trotter James

A momprenuer is a woman who takes care of the home, children, husband and can etch out time to have a career or participate in a glamorous photo shoot for Marisa Kenson without disrupting the harmonious flow of family time.  I have met such a woman who fits the mold of a momprenuer perfectly.  It's so perfect that she teaches others how to do the same.  I won’t keep you in suspense any longer as I reveal the name of the fabulous Daphne Wayans.

Most people know her as the ex-wife of one of the most creative, talented men in Hollywood, Keenan Ivory Wayans.  In this exclusive interview Daphne reveals how she and her five children survived a nasty divorce and is now in a place of harmony, peace and writing for the Huffington Post as a relationship and parenting expert…

When you think about Daphne Wayans, one would say she has everything.  You would be surprised to know that there is one thing she does not have in her house and that’s a television!!!  Thank goodness for neighbors who invite her over to watch some of the reality or award shows. I had to ask myself if I would survive without a television?  The answer would be, ‘Yes’, but don't feel sorry for her because she and the children have Apple devices in the house where they can watch something if they choose to.  "I am fascinated by the shows", says Daphne. “Sometimes I will go to my friends’ house, but I will not have that stuff in my own home.”  Not one of her five children complains about not having a television in the home. “I have a saying”, states Daphne, ‘If it's that important, it will get to me’ and it does. I don't miss out on anything. I don't hear about things that upset my life and I have peace; my home is like a sanctuary and I'm not disturbed by sensationalism. My neighbor has a television and oh, this is the trick… there are six of us in the house and we have 35 Apple devices so TV is not the only way to see things. I just don't have a big thing selling commercials in my house and being obtrusive.” 
“There is no noise in my house; my children read a tremendous amount and we actually commune together. My home is my sanctuary; we treat it like a temple.  We don't wear shoes in the house, the lighting is intimate and it's an intimate place.  It's my nest where I take care of my babies and nurture all the ones that I love. We go to the movies a lot and we have lots of devices so we have access to things. Sometimes the award shows come on and people will ask if we want to see it and I will say, ‘No, we can't; we have somewhere to go’.  My house is very communal in the sense that my kids are always together and it's not like someone is off in their room alone watching television and just away. We are doing things together, living together and sharing our experiences.  Sometimes I will be in the kitchen an embarrassing amount of hours cooking because I love it and it makes me happy. I have these very creative outlets. Sometimes I’m cooking for 15 hours because I don't realize what time it is and I just lose myself in it and they [the children] just come in and out and they talk to each other and they talk to me or they talk to their friends and we're just living, but TV sounds awesome.  Whenever I see all those channels, I watch it like it's my first time seeing the device.”

It seems like her children don't complain or even miss having televisions in the house.  Daphne adds, "Let me just say this… besides the 35 devices we also have my ex-husband that lives down the street from me and it’s like a different world. They have television at his house. I don't mean to glamorize divorce as they say, but I call it the new family and it really works well for us.  We share the time with our children 50-50.  They are one week at one place and one week at the other so we are all constantly changing and it's really nice because we never miss each other. I mean we are always kind of missing each other, but we never get sick of each other.  We never really get sick of each other because we are never really with each other long enough."
Daphne was very young when she met Keenen. We started to talk about their divorce and she lovingly said, “Since we have children, there is no way a couple can be divorced. We are a family with parents who are not married anymore, but we are still a family,” explains Daphne.  “There is no name for it. I want to try to create a name when exes have separated, but are still family. We are not husband and wife anymore, but we're something. It's not cousins, it’s not brother or sister, but we’re something to each other.  We have to coin a new phrase because the word ‘ex’ is something that the relationship was. When you think of a mother and a child, it refers to what the relationship was. I realize that all relationships are friendships and they all have titles just like in the movies. Since I live out here in Los Angeles, I see there are actors and actresses who play roles. So, in life you're all friends and then you have this title. When you become an adult your parents are more like your friends, but you have this history that they were once your mother and father and they did a good job with you and you want to continue the friendship. You don't need your mother and father to do the things as parents that they did when you were a kid like helping you across the street or brushing your teeth.”

She continues to say, “My mother hasn't had to mother me for a very long time.  She hasn't had to wipe my nose or make sure I'm enrolled in school or feed me good food for very, very long time. The further away we get from that time, the less she will have to mother me and in turn she becomes more of a friend. We have that history that she is my mother and got me to a good place so that I could take over my life to make my own decisions, but right now she's much more my friend even though I still call her mom. And every time I call her my mom I'm reminded of the time we had when I was little. I don't need her to mother me anymore; that's just the name of the role she played in my younger life.”
“With my children I really try not to treat them as items.  They are not my purse, my shoes or my things; they are my children. I want them to make decisions and I want to put them in a safe environment and be a good example as well as put good examples around them.”  Being human involves many different layers.  As Daphne explained how relationships start out as one thing and end up being another she hoped it all made sense.  At that moment we just couldn't figure out a name that would acknowledge parents who are not together anymore, but are still partners in raising their children together. Sometimes divorce and the titles we give ourselves don’t fit the makeup of the relationship.

"I went through a nasty divorce,” reveals Daphne.  “What I found out was that the divorce was indicative of a deeply loving marriage and it was just time for that to change because we've been together for a really long time. It was just time to change just like a mother changes from treating her baby like a little baby and letting a young man be a young man.  It's a similar kind of thing and it could be a little struggle in that change in reorganizing the family structure.  So in my marriage what remained was a friendship.  That's what was there after all the kicking and screaming. Divorce isn’t the right title to use especially when you have children. Maybe you can divorce if you don't have children, but when you have five children, there's no such thing. We’re not a couple anymore, but we are definitely partners."

When partners do decide to separate and dissolve the marriage and there are children involved, what do you say to those faces that you brought into the world… into your world?  Daphne explains, "I just kept telling them it's going to be different. I just communicated with them fully and truthfully. I have heard children say, ‘My parents divorced because of me’, my children never said that and they never wanted to be in the middle of it. So it was very good and easy. They felt, ‘This is between the both of you guys.  We love both of our parents’ and they didn't want to hear anything about it. They got to experience their parents on their own, individually".

For some divorce can look really crazy for all parties however, children of divorce are forced into a situation which allows them to experience one parent at a time.  It kind of strengthens the bond because the other parent isn't there to pick up the slack. Now dads truly know what it is to take care of a child full-time and can no longer say, ‘Go to your mother or go ask your mother.’ Now dad has to figure it out all by himself and mothers may have to pick up some of the responsibilities of the father as well. "They had to figure it out for themselves,” remembers Daphne.  “They were four little girls that needed their hair done and other girl stuff.  I think we both grew to have a greater appreciation of the other like, ‘Oh wow! This is what you do?’ And then I felt the same about him, like, ‘Wow!  You pay a lot of bills’ and he felt, Wow; you do all of this every morning to get them ready for school?’ So we had a greater appreciation for each other.”

The question that everyone should ask themselves is can couples realistically feel they can have it all… the 24-hour careers, traveling, kids, quality family time, being a good wife/husband, living a luxurious lifestyle… Can you have it all?   "Of course… You just do it.  You make your reality,” says Daphne.   “You make it per you and don’t get involved in the ‘what you're supposed to do’. When you involve yourself in ‘What am I supposed to do?, You're supposed to do this, you’re supposed to do that…’ when that’s your thinking process, then it's a wrap and that's where you go wrong and get in a little trouble.”

Yesteryear the word divorce was like a horrible, horrible disease that seemed to strip vital resources and happiness from a family. Today's modern family of divorce has changed 360°. It is no longer the death of a family unit. As you can see it works very, very well for Daphne, Keenen and their children.  "It's not a bad thing; it's just a transformation of the family." says Daphne. "It's like anything else where you add parts and reconfigure. So when you reconfigure, you're still mom and dad. Divorce never speaks to what happens to the family. You say to yourself, 'Damn we're divorced, but what should we do about being mom and dad. It's like a misnomer".  On Daphne’s blog she goes into detail about the subject of divorce in a piece she calls, The New Divorce And How It Affects The Modern Family. It definitely gives insight into what happens in a divorce to the family unit.

In speaking with Daphne she definitely practices what she preaches because you can feel that her spirit is harmonious and at peace with her life as it is in this moment in time with her divorce and the relationship she has with her children as well as her ex husband, Keenen. It is definitely a blessing to be at peace with where you are in life because some women cannot get past the resentment and feeling that they should be reaping the rewards of the foundation that was built in the beginning of the friendship/relationship/marriage.  Many women don’t know how to move forward? Daphne advises, “The way out of the fire is to go through it. Just be willing to go through it.  The more you lie down and pretend like you're dead or you try to go around it, under it, on top of it… it's still there. You have got to go through it because through it you come out stronger, bigger, better, more enlightened and that's where the wisdom is. The wisdom comes when you go through it. That's where you build your character and you build who you are. It’s an opportunity to come out on the other side greater than where you came in.  In it there is a phase of anger, sadness, disappointment and all the phases of what seems like a death.   Until you come out of that crescendo that’s when you will look in the mirror and see how you got yourself in that position.  How did you get yourself in the position to not have what you want after you built it? If you built something, you built a marriage, you built a man and you created him to make him great… what did you do after that?”

Love, marriage and divorce are topics that can go on forever in a million directions and as a writer for the Huffington Post she tackles all those topics and more.  "I write for them and it was something my publicist was able to arrange for me, but I wanted to write for them because it felt like they needed me and I needed them.  It was very mutual and it's a broad audience so it just made sense.  I get a lot of feedback from everywhere because when I do something once it's published, I disperse it throughout my social media world so I hear from everyone”, says Daphne.

She has become an expert in her own right by having five children and knowing what it takes to have a friendship, be married and then divorced from your partner.  Her experience has allowed her to start writing two books at the same damn time on relationships and parenting.  She is the type of writer who can dig deep within to pull up some very insightful views on the human experience when it comes to relationships. I'm not saying she has extra superpowers, but when you have no television in the house, your other senses get 100 times more powerful. 

With her Huffington Post gig having a large audience along with her social media followers who look to her for advice she says, “To be honest I really don't like to advise people on their situations because a person knows what they should do and it's their perspective. I never want anyone to say, ‘She told me to do this.’ I want people to take responsibility for their lives and decide what they should do by looking at it because they have to live with it. I don't even tell my own children what to do. I use a few tools and I say, ‘How would you feel if that was you? How would that make you feel? Just be that other person for a minute.’ This really gives them the skill set to think about their own life. So for the most part I try not to advise people. I just say, ‘When I was in that position, this is the way that I handled it.’ I'm not that person and that person has to live with the consequences of a decision made good or bad. Usually when things don't turn out well they want to blame someone else for the bad decision made; so I really do try to avoid being in that position.  I just really try to guide them toward their own knowingness. Usually a person knows the answer; they just want approval.”

Daphne loves the parenting part of her life, but don’t give her your kids to parent.  Reality TV has produced shows that allow us to look into the world of parents who have no control over their own children.  An expert had to come in and incorporate parenting techniques to the home. What would Daphne do?  "That doesn't help a parent to fix it,” she replies.  “Obviously it brings some calm to the scene, but it doesn't establish a rapport between the child and the parent.  Sometimes there are some very lazy parents who don't want to be the bad guy. In that case they don't want to be responsible for anything and they'll ask someone else to do it. I get asked all the time to parent someone else's kids and I have to say, ‘No, this is your child and you have to take responsibility for this kid and put them in a safe environment.’  For example, there are some things you wouldn't tolerate from a friend. I would never let my friend talk to me that way or let a stranger talk to me like that. Nothing warrants having a rude or impolite disposition. My kids and I see kids that are just rude. It's rude the way some kids speak to their parents."  Some parents or mothers also get into trouble in their relationship when extreme mothering gets to the point where nothing else matters including their marriage and everything becomes secondary or ignored. Daphne adds, "Yeah they don't have a life of their own. They learn the hard way."

In her spare time Daphne loves helping other people and often volunteers to lend a hand to The Way To Happiness Foundation, which also has a book with the same name.  "It's a wonderful book of precepts of all the spiritual books put into one book regarding the names of the Gods and religious figures,” says Daphne.  “I love it so much and I try to use it in my every day life and it doesn't get in the way of religious beliefs. So when I say to you I don't tell my children what to do, I just find general rules of life. The same rules that apply to children apply to adults. A child has responsibilities just like an adult.” Daphne also helps out with the Keep A Child Alive Foundation. “That's Alicia Keys organization,” explains Daphne. “She is so active in that and I love it.  She is one of my sister friends. All of the efforts of the organization go towards keeping a child alive in Africa. She had T-shirts made up that said, ‘Drug Dealer’ because they provide medicine to the children in Africa.”
 In her spare, spare time Daphne is busy on Instagram… “I am mentoring 40 women on how to be a mompreneur,” reveals Daphne.   “It’s a new area I am exploring so that moms can stay at home and be with their children and they can also be at home with their husbands and really take care of the home and at the same time bring in a little income by having their own businesses where the home life isn't compromised. It's pretty awesome."

What’s awesome is Daphne Wayans!  Check out her e-boutique and buy something nice for yourself on her website at On the site you can see her celebrity photo shoot video for clothing designer Marisa Kenson who makes the most stylist clothes for women.  There are more surprises coming from the house of Wayans.  Stay tuned on her Twitter pages for daily updates


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