Black Love: Season 3, Episode 5 “Married While Parenting” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Title Card - Black Love Season 3, Episode 5 “Married While Parenting”
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Parenting is the focus of this episode, and while all have different takes on how-to, it is agreed that it isn’t a one plan works for all topic.


Network
OWN
Director(s) Codie Elaine Oliver
Writer(s) N/A
Air Date 11/8/2019
Introduced This Episode
Himself David A. Arnold
Herself Julie Harkness Arnold
Himself Isa Rahman
Herself Lizzy Mathis

Recap

Becoming Parents: Egypt, Mike, David M., Tamela, Michael, Elisha, David A, Julie

With children being such a huge commitment, naturally, people want to plan. Some, like Mike, like to plan to limit the amount of kids they have, even if their partners want more. Leading to a few issues due to lack of communication and also excitement. However, there are more surprises beyond finding out someone is pregnant.

For example, David Mann, one day a constable let him know he had a five-year-old child, and that forced him to tell his wife, when she got home, she has two new people part of their family. That is the baby and the child’s mother.

Yet, even after the child enters your life, things don’t necessarily get easier. As shown between Michael and Elisha, as well as David Arnold and Julie, kids don’t come into the world ready to take it on. Between heart issues, as Michael and Elisha had with their son, to allergies, among other things, David and Julie had to deal with, the work required to get from pregnant to them being able to express themselves is long and difficult.

David A. Arnold and Julie Harkness Arnold being interviewed.
David A. Arnold and Julie Harkness Arnold

Blended Families: Tommi, LeToya, Elisha, Michael

But there is also the other issue of coming into an established relationship. Take Tommi and LeToya’s situation since she came into the relationship with no kids, and Tommi has fostered a strong relationship with his daughter for 6 years. I’m talking the kind we often hear Black women have with their sons or, to get specific, on the weekends Tommi has his daughter, he formerly would shut out the world and focus on her.

Now, as you can imagine, for a woman who is seeing you, this could feel a bit much. For as much as you want your man to see his child, foster a good relationship, Tommi takes it to the point of their wedding day pretty much became a threesome with a 6-year-old. This led to some counseling for blended families, as noted by Jada Pinkett-Smith on Red Table Talk don’t just happen. There is this new person being integrated, and whether a man or woman, there is a need to adapt. Which isn’t easy for the kid.

Heck, though it isn’t mentioned, you do have to wonder if that person is the same gender, does that play a role? For if Tommi has a new queen in his life, what does that mean to his princess? But, luckily, sometimes things work out better than can be expected. Case in point, Michael’s ex-wife, lives with him and Elisha, and their kids. This helps Elisha since Michael is an actor who travels for months at a time. Heck, at one time, he was gone for 7 months bouncing from country to country, city to city, without much time to assist with rearing kids.

So while it can be awkward, challenging, and sometimes something you got to do for the sake of the children, we’re shown blended families are a challenge worth seeking to overcome.

Setting An Example For The Kids: Isa, Lizzy, Dondré, Salli

Isa Rahman and Lizzy Mathis in a wedding picture.
Isa Rahman and Lizzy Mathis

Moving past the pregnancy, birth, and coming into a kid’s life, there is raising them to be functional adults. This is when things start to be shown as one size not fitting all. Isa and Lizzy, who have three girls, don’t do any sort of gender-normative things in their home. Just as Lizzy can do the girls’ hair, so can Isa. Also, they believing in popping their children. Well, it seems Lizzy finds more use for this, to establish herself as head of the women in the house, while it seems Isa’s voice usually does the trick.

But, we do get an alternative. Dondré and Salli don’t hit their kids. They believe in communicating with them. The alternative, they believe, would teach their kids to pursue violence to solve an issue. Which doesn’t push critical thinking as much as it does quick fixes.

Though, while they differ on that, generally speaking, what all of the parents make clear is the biggest, and best thing to do is set the right example. Be it showing affection to your spouse, even as your kids say, “Ew!” or showing them how married people argue or treat one another. There is especially a strong focus on how fathers show their daughters how a man in their life should be, since I guess a mother showing what their sons should look for isn’t an issue.

Slick comment aside though, it seems the majority have daughters so there wasn’t much of a reason to talk about that.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

[On parenting] It doesn’t get easier. It changes, constantly changes as they get older, and they learn new stuff, or they become more their own person, but I have yet to see it get easier.
— Elisha

Me constantly telling you what to do doesn’t help you because it doesn’t train you hot to think your way through life.
— Dondré

If you don’t want to compromise, then you should stay single.
— Dondré

Review

Highlights

Seeing Multiple Sides & Experience To The Same Topic

What Black Love has consistently tried to do is show there isn’t just one look or way to achieve, maintain and celebrate Black Love. From different rearing techniques, thoughts on children, to sexual orientation, even mixed-race couples early on, the show has covered nearly everything but having people who express diverse religious beliefs and bringing on a more international vibe. But, with us 3 seasons in, and so many couples out there, who is to say that couldn’t be part of the next season? Thus furthering the conversation and seeing what works for different people?

Remembering To Put Your Partner Before Your Kids – Sometimes

When it comes to David A and Julie, there is a joke from him that they stayed together due to the kids, and you can kind of see from other couples why that wouldn’t work for them. After all, once that kid is an adult, beyond just being 18, they are going to leave, and without that crutch, what do you have? A person who you need as a partner to take on the troubles of heartbreak, bad behavior, but now what?

LeToya recounting Tommi trying to bring his daughter with him on their wedding night.

Which is why you have to think about David Mann’s approach of us versus the world. Heck, take note of LeToya and that whole concept of sharing someone with a child. Especially when that relationship has the type of consistency that you morally can’t try to compete with, so you are reliant on your partner to integrate you in.

It reminds me of the last season of Atypical and how two people had each other’s back so well but between having a child with autism, then a second child, the father, Doug, felt he got pushed farther and farther down the priority list until he sought out others to do what his wife once did. This doesn’t mean he cheated, but what made their relationship special, such as his wife, Elsa, cutting his hair, she didn’t do anymore. And it is losing that magic, that time, and putting it all into your kids, which helps you understand why Mike maybe didn’t want Egypt to have a bunch of kids. Sharing one is good, two is okay, but he isn’t planning for a whole bunch perhaps due to the strain he thinks it could put on his marriage.

Communicating Expectations Is Important

Whether it is to your children or spouse, understanding the other person’s needs are important. Take, again, Mike and Egypt, her desiring for multiple children seems to conflict with his plan to limit how many would be in his nuclear family, and that is causing issues. But it isn’t just that but Dondré and Salli, the stars of this season, making sure their kids know how to communicate so instead of lashing out in various situations, maybe with future partners, they understand and can think their way through an issue.

Though let’s not forget LeToya and Tommi. With that situation, it’s like Dondré said, you have to learn to compromise to an acceptable medium. Tommi is likely going to always love his daughter in ways that may make LeToya feel like she is playing the third-wheel sometimes. However, with him knowing she feels that way, and them having counseling, he can catch himself and redirect his attention or decisions.

Conversations About Gender Dynamics

While most of the men exhibit that whole, “I’m the leader” or breadwinner, moneymaker, etc., ideology, you have to appreciate Lizzy and Isa making it clear that doesn’t work in their household. They have three girls, and that is one too many for Lizzy to handle on her own, all the hair and things of that nature, while Isa gets to be the fun dad and handle the finances.

But what I really loved hearing is that, beyond the hair thing, the idea plainly is, where there is a need, the other one understands to fill in. Now, whether that works as regularly as the other would like? Who knows? All that is clear is they have a system that works for their family and perhaps could work for yours?

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