There isn’t one word to describe Shaunie O’Neal, there are a few, but the most important one is “MOTHER.” Being a single mom and holding it down for five children is not easy to do! Shaunie shares what it’s like to be in her shoes and keeping her family grounded… Myles, Shareef, Amirah, Shaqir and Me’arah —- all five of them!
DINNER. TOGETHER. NO MATTER WHAT
“Even if one has football practice and I only have four of them at home. One might have soccer, and we have to go back and pick them up when it’s over. It’s not always set in stone because everyone has different stuff going on, but we do all sit down and have dinner, so we get that family time at some point, every day, regardless,” Shaunie says.
Two days a week, Shaunie’s mom hosts a Thanksgiving-style family dinner for Shaunie and her five kids, her sister and her two children, her brother and dad. Ambitious, no doubt, “but we know on Sundays and usually Wednesdays, we go to my mom’s and we’re going to have dinner. Period. It doesn’t change, and we have to fit that into our schedules every single week,” Shaunie says.
CONTROL WHAT YOU CAN
“If we realized it or not, we all have some type of routine … and you control it. You know you have to be at work for X amount of hours; what you do before or after, that’s the time you take and you control that. You make it what you want it to be or what you have to make it be,” Shaunie says, drawing on her experiences as a working single mom and a stay-at-home one.
Prioritizing for her has meant making sure she’s there for her kids and sacrificing some things. “There are times where I won’t fly and film for the show because I want to be at my kid’s fourth-grade science exhibition,” she says.
KEEP THINGS IN PERSPECTIVE
Basketball wife or not, being a single mom is tough. Shaunie stays in tune with the many facets of single motherhood, and keeps her kids mindful of those who are less fortunate, taking her children to the Los Angeles Mission to serve meals and to help parents pick out gifts for their kids during the holidays. “It’s not just to get that [good] feeling,” she says. “It’s the right thing to do. And now my kids will just be cleaning out the closet like, ‘Okay, when we go down there next week, I’ve got a bag full of stuff,’ and ‘I remember so-and-so needed this.’ It’s become a routine and something that’s really familiar in my house,” she says.
DON’T SLEEP ON THE CROCK POT
“For single parents, crock pots are your friend,” Shaunie says, praising her go-to kitchen accessory and the pot roasts, chilis and whole roasted chickens she’s turned out.