"It's like a journey of stages," Mia McGhee tells me when I ask her what life has been like for the mother of sextuplets in the year since we last spoke. "You get used to one stage and they're just on to the next one. It was the terrible twos, now we're in the really trying threes."
"It's worse than twos," her husband of 14 years, Rozanno McGhee, chimes in. "These kids are talking back, they're telling you, 'no'. At home, they get a little rowdy, but out in public, they turn it up times 10." We're trying to find a quiet table in the lounge of their New York hotel, but there's no such thing as quiet anymore, when you've got six three-year-old children. The adorable tots, four boys and two girls, had been shuffled into the lounge like baby ducks behind their parents, monkey backpacks with leashes strapped on tight. With the help of two young ladies, the kids were distracted with juice and animal crackers while EBONY.com caught up with Mia and Ro to talk about how they keep their romance alive and what we can expect on season two of their reality show, Six Little McGhees, premiering on OWN this Saturday at 10/9c.
EBONY: Your kids are growing up! So now, in this stage, can you see all their individual personalities?
ROZANNO MCGHEE: Big time.
MIA MCGHEE: Before, you never really had to exercise punishment, but now, I don't even know if you can punish them. How do you? Time out? You just need to like give them a break and hopefully they'll chill out. And then try again to reacquaint them with the group.
EBONY: Ro, I heard you saying that three of them are potty trained and the other three are not, so what's that like, juggling them at these different stages?
RO: It's difficult. Right now, you've got to know their personalities you learn their language. Sometimes it's words and sometimes it's non-verbal. They'll pat their bottom and I know what that means. You take them to the potty and they'll show you their potty but you've really got to have control because they'll all try to head for the potty at the same time. Like yesterday, I had two kids behind me wanting to potty and one kid standing right in front of me pooping on the floor. [Laughs] So, it's like, how can I do this? How can I get through this? And we just take it one day at a time. We work together.
MIA: I don't know what I'd do without him.
RO: You know what, I always say this, Mia has the voice. She's like "sit down! Ro, go upstairs!" And I'm like, "All right, here I go." [laughs]
MIA: He's more chill. I'm like very edgy now that I've had the kids. Before, I was a little more relaxed but now with the kids, my stress level is, whew!
RO: I was with her for 10 years before we had the kids and I stay out of her way. So now when it's time for discipline, I say, do your thing. But it's team work. I don't know what I'd do without her. She's an awesome mother, an awesome wife and we just work together. We have a compromise.
EBONY: Last year when I talked with you, you were adjusting to reality television and running the business that you have together and the children, so what has this past year been like for you?
RO: Overwhelming. When it comes to your family, you want your family to be in order and everything to be together, and that's not the case [when you have six children]. So, that's a job in itself and we're first-time parents and we're still mastering it. Like every stage is a different stage. So, we just work together and try to figure it out.
MIA: That's why I just said it's a journey of stages.
RO: When it comes to marriage, she's always been my best friend, my girlfriend my wife without children and now she's a mother. And I'm getting used to that, as well.
MIA: That's something, too. I knew him as Rozanno, my husband, but I didn't know him as a father, so that's a new role, how do you adjust to that? Like I said, before I was a little more laid back, but now I'm a mother and I'm much more on edge.
RO: And I'm like, who is this woman? [Laughs]
EBONY: And how is he different as a father?
MIA: I don't know, he's just, I don't care how bad of a day he's had, I don't care what he's been through, when he sees his kids, he lights up. He loves his boys. Four boys? This is like a dream for him. You can just see, that's like, pride on his face.
RO: It really is. My quiver is full!
MIA: And with the girls, they are his heart. They are his girls. I wish I'd had that growing up.
RO: We prayed for these kids. We waited and we prayed and we're blessed. Our kids are healthy. What more can you ask for?
MIA: It's busy, but it's an excellent quality of life. It's like on this hand you're really busy a lot of challenges but then, it's just a tremendous blessing. Just imagine these years and these memories and them growing and Christmas and holidays [on TV] and when they have their kids, I love that. That's what I've always wanted.
RO: Just going to the ball games, camping, having cookouts together–
MIA: We just went camping–
EBONY: Yeah, what can we look forward to this season?
MIA: Lots! we did swimming, we did a lot of exploration all kinds of things we did this season that you didn't see last season because they were so much younger. Now you can see their personalities. Swimming was awesome!
RO: And watching their little minds develop throughout the episodes. [In one episode] they learned about butterflies and we purchased a butterfly [picture] and hung it up in the house and whenever they see it they're like, "Butterfly!"
MIA: They remember! But you'll see a lot of good stuff and then you'll see us struggle with the day-to-day, with our marriage, our business everything, raising these kids. Which is good. It's really good.
RO: This is our first time being parents first time seeing her as a mother transitioning to owning our own business. Everything. But if I can make it through six kids, I can make it through anything.
MIA: If I can make it through that pregnancy, I can make it through anything! [Laughs]
RO: We are truly blessed to have good people around us. That's the goal. Staying positive, keeping good people around you, it gets you through the day. My wife is my motivator. She gets me through the day. I'll tell you: the secret to our relationship: we always wake up in the morning and kiss each other. That's the catalyst of having a good day.
MIA: That's our foundation.
RO: We have another little secret we do. We always sneak in dances. That's how we get our romance. We love dancing it makes us happy. I won't say we be 'twerking,' [laughs] we don't get down like that, but we do, we get our groove on and that's how we operate.
MIA: Outside of all the chaos we still try to have fun. Whenever you get a break we take a break, even if it's just a night away, we just see a movie, get a hotel. We have to remember what brought us together, our friendship.
RO: We might leave go to the movie but we never get away, because we're talking about six different personalities and we're talking about Elijah or Isaac or Olivia, it just keeps us in tact with our kids. Elijah is so sensitive he loves hugging and kissing you. I grab his cheeks and I kiss his cheeks. He'll walk up to me and grab my cheeks both sides. That's just who he is. And Olivia is the princess. She loves for me to kiss her hand she loves posing and acting. This is what we talk about when we're out. Ro, he's so cocky and so strong and macho, it's hard to break him. His favorite word is no. It's, like, dangerous. I see my personality in each one of my boys. Isaac loves to dance and loves dancing. Josiah is the trickster and he's the fireball he'll yell and scream he's the smallest but he's the mightiest. This is just who I am. And I love seeing myself in them. The girls, Maddie loves to help. She's the little momma. She likes to have order. Both of them are my wife's personality. God truly blessed us to be able to see our children and to give us everything.
MIA: And then some. I think we just planned for a boy and a girl. God has truly blessed us.
EBONY: Mia, earlier you said that watching Ro with your children reminded you of what you wished that you had as a little girl growing up without a father and I spoke to both of you last year about the impact that not having a father present had on you. So do you find yourselves feeling that absence even more now?
MIA: When I have time, I do. That's why I do cherish my husband because he is such — Some people would say that's your job, but some people don't fulfill that. But just to see how they interact, I love it. And he loves them and me. You don't see men like that.
RO: Because she loves me.
MIA: I mean I'm not a perfect woman. I can be very complicated.
RO: And I am far from a perfect man.
MIA: Just to see that he loves me and to see how he loves them and how the girls take to him, I love it. Because I didn’t have that, I knew I wanted my kids to have it.
RO: In my community I'd never really seen a father, I'd never seen my friends with a father. When I was a kid, I used to walk down to the park and I'd see a father playing with his kids and I'd say to myself, "That's what I want to do; that's who I want to become. And I've just always tried to be that man that I'd seen in the park, there with his kids, loving his kids, playing with his kids. Just seeing that I never forgot. My father had never been there in my life and I said to myself I'm going to get married I will never ever cheat on her I'm gonna always try to be the provider and be there emotionally for my wife because I always want to see that and I try to be there every day, no matter what I'm going to always be there because whatever my kids see, I'm their hero, they're going to want to be just like me. So, I'm going to teach [my sons] to be a good father, stand by your wife no matter what. Don't get jealous because she is strong in a certain area if God blessed her to be like that. Love their wife, treat their wife, Be her friend. Me and my wife were friends before we were dating. Learn to enjoy your wife for who she is, enjoy her conversation and they're going to say wow my mom and father been together ever since high school. But, I don't want them to — [laughs]
EBONY: Start early?
MIA: No, no, no! That was a lot of struggles because we weren't guided, like, "You go to college, you do this." We had to make that map for ourselves and we still are. We never ever owned a business. How do you do it? We read books but, you can take some principals out but it's not clear cut directions .
RO: We learned that the best teacher is failing. We made so many mistakes but those mistakes were essential for our business. We wrote it down: Never, ever do this again. It's a lot. That was just the way we learned. Don't go and buy these nice pair of shoes and don't pay your rent.
MIA: We were so young! I was 18, he was 19.
EBONY: Last year, I talked to you about what you hoped for your kids and I was wondering. if you have any new hopes for them.
MIA: For me, I still want the kids to love and know God like we love and know God. Because we're not always gonna be around. They have to be anchored in God, in something greater than this world. That's important to me.
RO: To us.
MIA: You'll see that this season, too, us trying to find a church that fits the family. Before, we had a church that fits us as a couple. Everything changes when you have kids. The church we went to doesn't have kids programs. I never even paid attention to that.
RO: It starts at home. For me, I'm the priest of my household. I pray for my wife. When I'm playing with my kids I pick them up and I'm praying for them and they don't even know it. Sometimes, when I'm out walking with my wife, I grab her hand and we're walking and I am praying for her, she doesn't even know it. That's who I am. Being that kind of father it makes me feel like I'm doing my job. So church has to have the same values we have in our household. And I just want the kids to grow up and be good citizens. In our house, I'm the king, she's the queen, and the kids have to know that and respect that and understand order.