Emo and Michelle Adams, a South African powerhouse couple in their personal and business life, talk to BABY’S & BEYOND about growing stronger together and raising children in a multi-racial and multi-cultural family.
How did you first meet and how did you know that each other was ‘the one’?
We met at a beauty pageant where Emo was the performer, and I was a contestant. It took a year before we were able to go on a first date. I didn’t have ‘the one’ moment but I did have a moment pretty early on that always stuck with me. Emo attended a charity event with me for under-privileged children and I remember watching him interact with the children. He had time for all of them and showed them so much love and care and I remember saying to my mom, “I’m going to marry this man”.
What is the key to keeping your marriage strong?
We have been married for seven years and have been together for 14 years. I think the key to a strong relationship is compromise, always consider the other person’s feelings, remember to have fun with each other and never stop communicating.
Since becoming parents, what have been the major changes and key lessons?
Since becoming parents, I think the biggest changes have been our priorities. Right now the most important thing is being able to provide our children with everything they need, but also all the love and time that we have to give. Our first and last thought in the day is always the boys. They have taught us patience, unconditional love and understanding and how to really enjoy the little things and moments.
There are more and more children being raised in multiracial/cultural families. How does coming from different backgrounds guide your parenting style and what is the impact on the children?
Raising kids in a multi-racial and multicultural family has allowed us to teach our children the importance of acceptance. We are raising boys who are able to respect and understand everyone they meet. They are able to befriend anyone, even if they don’t look the same or pray to the same God as them. They are mindful and respectful towards all races and cultures. Our parenting style is rather simple; treat everyone, including your parents, with respect. Our children also know that they can ask us anything at any time and we will explain things to them honestly and openly. Sometimes they may be confused about a custom or a tradition, but they know they can ask, and we will give them the answers they need. I think most importantly though, we have taught them that love is what really matters.
What are some of the highlights of being part of a multi-cultural family?
All the celebrations and family. I love watching the boys adjust between the Christian holidays and the Islamic traditions. Additionally, the constant learning that takes place. We certainly live with very open hearts.
What is the highlight of parenting four boys?
Four times the fun, four times the stories, four times the amount of love. Boys are an adventure, and we are certainly enjoying the process of watching them grow and find themselves. What is the most challenging part of raising four boys? Four boys, four different personalities but ALL always very hungry! I think any parent will understand that parenting multiple kids comes with challenges. They all have a variety of interests and that comes with a massive scheduling challenge. I think we also have this constant reminder that we are potentially raising four husbands or partners, potentially four fathers, and you want them to be good, kind men one day – we want to raise them strong but also gentle. It’s a massive responsibility and we certainly don’t take it lightly.
What would you say is the greatest lesson you want to impart to your sons?
“To work hard for what they want; nothing comes without hard work…”
To be understanding and respect everyone they meet. To work hard for what they want; nothing comes without hard work and just because your parents are potentially able to provide, it doesn’t mean that they won’t be working for it. Have a good work ethic and love without limitations.
Michelle, tell us a bit about the series “Letters to her boys”.
It wasn’t ever a planned thing but after the first one I realised that it’s a release for me and that it helps the women who read it. I also like knowing that one day my boys will have access to these letters, and I hope that it’s able to provide them with answers they are looking for. I also want them to know that before they were even able to understand or comprehend, that they were on my mind and that everything I do, I do to teach them and make this life and world better for them.
Tell us a bit about your joint coffee venture – how is it working together?
We have always worked well together. Many of our businesses are joint ventures; it’s just not always known. My Koffi brew is a passion project that has turned into a business that we hope to leave to our sons one day. As parents we understand the absolute necessity of a good coffee and what began as a passion and absolute need has now become a need to the many people that buy coffee from us on a daily basis.
With busy schedules in the entertainment industry and business, how do you both manage to juggle the responsibilities of being partners, parents, celebrities and business owners?
We definitely try and split home and parental responsibilities. Some days one takes on more than the other, but we have excellent communication skills and know what each other’s strong points are, so we are able to manage. Emo is incredible at running the home when I’m away and I’m really good at making lists – and he loves a list. Emo’s career keeps him away from home more often than mine, but I am able to manage it all because I have a really supportive partner. We compromise so we are able to have a full life. We also value each other’s respective careers and that plays a big role.
What does the future hold for the Adams family?
No more kids! (lol)… We hope to continue growing our businesses and building a legacy that we can pass on to the boys one day. We will continue to work hard and turn our passions into business ventures. Our boys have big dreams, and we would like to help them fulfil these, so we need to remain hustling.
Snapshot with Emo and Michelle Adams
A typical day in the Adams household: coffee, chaos, school drops, work, school runs and extra-curricular, dinner and chill.
- The neat freak: Emo & Michelle
- The chef: Michelle
- The adventurer: Michelle
- The romantic: Emo
- The panic mechanic: Michelle
- The joker/prankster: Emo
- The fixer: Michelle