Bambi On Not Being Able To Watch Her Divorce Play Out On TV And Explaining It To Their Kids

Geeno Mizelle

In her years on reality television, from Basketball Wives LA to Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, Adi B. Richardson, otherwise known as Bambi or “The Bam,” has seen and been through a lot. She’s fallen in love, had children, made great friendships, fallen out with people, laughed, cried and everything in between. Still, nothing could have prepared her for the gut punch of watching her marriage to rapper Darryl Richardson, also known as Scrappy, come to an end in front of cameras after more than six years together.

“I try not to watch it after it’s recorded, after we film,” she tells ESSENCE of the the aftermath of her breakup and the issues that played out on the show. “I’m just like, ‘I don’t want to deal with it anymore. I don’t want to relive it or replay it.’” And as she’s gone through this major life change, seeing the man who was once her beloved husband as her co-worker at this point, her focus has been on their three children: Breland, Xylo and Cali. In an effort to help them understand what’s happening, as the kids are all under five, she was inspired to write a children’s book that would help.

Called Mommy, I Want to Go Home and released in August, it’s for parents trying to figure out how to explain separation, divorce and divided homes to toddlers in way that they can understand. “The book is definitely inspired by the conversations I had with my kids,” she says. “When they would go to sleep, or the times that they would be at their dad’s house, instead of me going out or just enjoying myself, I was literally at home kind of rehearsing what I was going to say to them.”

This season has certainly brought a great deal of change for Bambi, but it’s also come with great insight, from how to not send mixed messages when co-parenting, to the importance of her getting her thoughts and feelings on paper to initiate her healing. We talked with “The Bam” about all of those things and more as she navigates a new normal, on screen and off.

ESSENCE: I know this has been a crazy year for you and you’ve gone through a public divorce. How are you feeling?

Bambi: I think I’m feeling good. I’m getting used to our new normal and just having to wrap my mind more so around how things are going to look for my kids. So I think me focusing on them and what’s best for them is allowing me to be able to navigate through this in a way that’s like, I’m not just thinking about myself.

And what would you say has been maybe the hardest part of this… What’s the word that I’m trying to use? This shift, now that it’s you leading your home by yourself and like you said, adjusting to this new normal. What has been kind of the hardest part of that for you?

I think the hardest part is having my kids readjust whenever they come from spending time with their dad. So, it takes a little while for them to readjust to what’s going on at Mom’s house, opposed to being at Dad’s house. So, just keeping that structure for them, which I feel is really important because they’re so small, has been difficult.

Got you. With that said, with this last season of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta, I wanted to ask you what it was like watching the dissolution of your marriage taking place and you trying to find a healthy dynamic with Scrappy in that time? Because I can’t imagine working with someone and having to see them, and we’re trying to end our relationship — our marriage at that. So what was that like for you?

Yeah. It was really difficult, him being basically a coworker during that time. But again, it was just one of those things, it’s like, “Okay, I signed up for this, so now I have to just thug it out,” in a sense, and I don’t watch it back. So after it’s done, for me, it’s just done. But, of course, we do interviews, and I’ll see clips randomly on social media, so those clips are just kind of cringey to me. I’m just like, “Oh my God, I don’t want to see this.”

And would you say you’re both in a good place presently?

I think so. I can only truly be responsible for the space that I’m in and just be consistent with how I interact with him. And so I feel like I’m just working on myself at this time and just working on being consistent in how I deal with him. I just noticed in relationships where people have to co-parent, it’s like you want to be extra friendly one day, then the next day you have a conflict. And so for me, just staying kind of monotone works best for me because it’s like, we don’t want to blur any lines or give anybody any thoughts, hope, or anything like that. So I just kind of stay in the same space, and it works for me.

Good points. What made you, with all that in mind, want to create Mommy, I Want To Go Home, and how did your own conversations with your kids inspire how you put that together?

It was really, really tough for them in the beginning because when their dad would bring them home, they would be like, “Okay, where are you going? Are you coming in?” So it was just hard for them to understand what was going on. I spent a lot of time trying to create ways to communicate that with them in their language. So that’s where the idea of the book came from.

And how have you been able to, as a mother of three now, taking care of them, working, managed to maintain your well-being during this complicated time? I know you created a healing journal, so how has that kind of helped you?

So the journal definitely is one of the most important things. It was my way of just kind of releasing everything that was going on and really dealing with my own feelings, and it made me feel better. I didn’t have to call people and vent and just lash out in different ways. I was really releasing everything through this journal. Everything started to flow once I started to write down my thoughts. And I had a plan for the day and a plan for the week, and it just turned into me creating structure for myself. So just making it a point to say, “Okay, when I wake up in the morning, I’m going to take care of myself first, my mind,” and it’s just going to set the tone for the day with the children. So I think what a lot of mothers don’t realize is that by us taking care of ourselves or giving ourselves that time, that allows us to be better parents. So that’s what the journal did for me.

If you don’t mind me asking, I know a part of the book is kind of discussing blended families and sibling relationships. I was wondering, now that you guys are divorced, are you able to maintain the relationship that you had with your stepdaughter? And how do you facilitate that relationship that she might have with her siblings?

Well, I think she’s in college now, and I haven’t really spoken with her, but I know she spends time with her dad. He gets the kids regularly, so it doesn’t affect her relationship with her siblings. They’re always accessible if she ever wants to see them outside of them being with their dad. I’m always open to that. I would never have a problem. I have siblings from my dad that aren’t my mom’s kids. So I know how important it is for me to maintain relationships with my other siblings. I would never get in the way of that. In fact, I encourage it.

Okay. Nice, nice. You have your book, I know you have your journal. What is up for you next? What’s the road forward for Bambi in this new state of life? Are you open to dating?

I’ve gone on a few dates, but it’s just, I don’t know, that’s not really my focus right now. My children truly are, and I feel like it may sound a little cliche, like, “Oh, I’m focusing on my kids,” but I really, really, really want to make sure I give them the best of me right now. These are really important years for them. And because my time with them is a little less than it was before, I feel like I have to just take advantage of all the time I get with them. So if they’re gone for three days, when they come back, I’m going to spend every single one of those days with them.

Okay, cool. And lastly, you said a great thing about keeping every interaction with your ex very much the same so there’s no mixed messaging, nothing. What would you say is your best tip for other people who are trying to navigate a new normal and co-parent with someone whom they’ve had years together with?

It’s a different journey for everyone, but just do what feels right for you. Don’t let anyone or society’s idea of what co-parenting is try to pressure you into being in a space that you’re not ready to be in. Because for me specifically, I felt like I was hurt in my relationship and it’s just going to take time for me to be able to be in a different space with this person. So I just feel like people need to go at their own pace and do what works for them as long as they are doing what’s in the best interest of the children. And that’s truly all that matters. Your feelings when it comes to that other person do not matter at all when it comes to the big picture.

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