Single mother of Riley Burruss, 10 – star of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “The Kandi Factory” both on Bravo.
I schedule time with my family and my daughter the same way I schedule doing business meetings. I try not to miss any of my daughter’s events. When I put a meeting with my business partner on the schedule, I put all my daughter’s basketball games on my schedule. I just don’t ever want her to feel that I was never there. So I try to go to everything. I don’t sleep a lot because I work and sometimes I’m up late doing things but I get up early every morning to take my daughter to school everyday. I just do what I’m supposed to do. I don’t want to miss those moments. If somebody else pcks her up from school, she’s like “Why didn’t you pick me up from school?” I try to never be away from home more than a few days at a time.
It can be challenging, but I definitely have a lot of help from my close friends and my family. But sometimes when you’re a single parent, you have to co-parent with someone. Whether your child’s father is in or out of the picture, you need to get a friend who’s also a single parent so you can switch off days. One of my girlfriends is a doctor now but when she was in medical school, certain weekends, she would come and get my daughter and my daughter and her daughter would play together and they would go places and do things together or I would go and get her daughter and take them places. So they were always occupied, always busy and they never felt like they were needing attention. They had all the attention in the world, so they didn’t miss as much.
Sometimes I feel guilty just because I hired somebody to work with me day to day to help Riley with homework and stuff like that. Some moms are able to do all those things like being the class mom and stuff like that. But I have to work and make things happen for my child. I’m a single mom so me and my daughter talk about things. She understands that this is Mommy’s business but all of these things allow you to do the fun stuff that you want to be able to do. And sometimes she’ll say to me you need to go to work because I want this (laughs). At first, Riley did not like our life being part of television but now she’s iike “I want to be on the show more.”
Sometimes we do overcompensate with gifts to make up for the fact that I wasn’t at home yesterday or whatever. But she’s on an earning system. If she gets straight A’s, I might say maybe one “B.” But she better not ever bring a “C” around me. Everything gets taken away. Phones are taken away, no going to your friends house just like any other parent. I have my thing that I am very harsh about and that’s the grades. My daughter can be a a little sassy at the mouth sometimes and my friends are like you need to check her. My daughter is around a lot of adults so she’s never talked like a baby. Sometimes she may question an adult and back in the day we never questioned an adult. So things like that, I could be a little harsher on. But for me, as long as she’s getting good grades and being respectful in other ways and acting like a child, as far as not being so boy crazy, then she’s fine. ‘My daughter has no extra time. As soon as she comes from school, she’s going to basketball. You have to keep your kids occupied. Keep them in something to keep them out of trouble.
Kids know more than we think they know. If they don’t hear it from us, they hear it from their friends, and I’d rather my daughter hear it from me. So we have had that conversation about “Bedroom Kandi” and I told her we have our own toys that are just for adults. I told her with that being said ,that this is a very lucrative business and someday when you get older, you’ll be able to take over the business. She was like “Is this nasty?” And I was like “It’s not nasty. It’s toys that are for adults and not for kids.”
Burrus is engaged to TV producer Todd Tucker, who also has a teenage daughter.
For me, it took me years to figure out [dating as a single parent] because when I was a kid, I was also raised in a single parent household. I was like If my kid doesn’t like the person, I won’t be with the person. I had to let Riley feel [Todd] out for a while. We did a few things together – just simple stuff – go to movies, play basketball at the house. With his daughter, she’s older, so I think that helps, too, because they both have their own friends. So it’s pretty cool.