Without the help of family and friends, I don’t think I could survive motherhood. And sure, the added hands to help is a huge part of it, but the wisdom and guidance my kids get from other adults is just as vital. Jeannie Mai Jenkins opened up about why having “a village” of people is crucial to helping her 17-month-old daughter Monaco “identify” herself, and I couldn’t agree more.
Jeannie Mai Jenkins Says ‘Family Is Everything’
In an interview with PEOPLE, the businesswoman and TV personality said, “It really does take a village, and not just to help you but also to help your child just identify themselves with their family and who plays what roles. That’s big for me as a Vietnamese American — family is everything.”
And for her daughter, who she shares with husband Jay “Jeezy” Jenkins, spending time with family can help her understand her mix-raced identity.
“Monaco is a beautiful Black Vietnamese American, and what that means is really understanding what being Black means from your grandfather, what being Black means from your cousin, what being Vietnamese means from your grandmother,” Jenkins said, “because she has a totally different take than what I have as a Vietnamese American.”
This is so important, and something you might not think about if you don’t have a mixed-race child. Encouraging her family members (on both sides!) to spend time with her daughter will teach her invaluable lessons about who she really is.
They Have a Close Family
In the interview, Jenkins also shared how her and Jeezy agree on “family first.”
“When I do have to work, my mom and my brother are so major,” Jenkins told PEOPLE. “My mom and my brother swoop in, they tag team and they just helped me allow myself to be working on my skinny margaritas, to be out here on TV, so they are people that I’m so thankful for.”
The Owl’s Brew chief brand officer continued, “We have no problem calling somebody up to be like we’re dropping her off or coming in 30 minutes.” First of all, that would be amazing to have that kind of a casual relationship where you could drop off your kid with only a 30-minute warning! It speaks to how tight-knit the family truly is.
Jeannie Mai Jenkins ‘Only Speaks Vietnamese’ to Her Daughter
The former The Real co-host also talked about teaching Monaco about her heritage on a recent episode of The Jennifer Hudson Show.
“I think the best thing is learning how to really teach her how to own who she is,” Jenkins said. “She is a beautiful blend of being Black and Vietnamese and I want her to really understand what that means as a powerful woman today.”
She added, “We try to have her spend time with her Southern grandparents in Atlanta all the time in Georgia, and then she goes down to the Bay and she spends time with my Vietnamese grandparents all the time. So she understands both sides.”
“And I only speak Vietnamese to her. And, um, Dad only speaks ‘the South’ to her,” she said, laughing. “So I don’t know what’s going to come out, we’ll see.”
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