When it comes to raising her two sons, Phaedra Parks is not afraid to ask for help. After she separated from their father Apollo Nida (who is currently serving an 8-year sentence for fraud and identity theft) in October 2014, she knew that in order for Ayden and Dylan to grow up to be strong men she'd have to surround them with folks who can help her teach them right from wrong.
"Life happens and you never can predict what's going to happen. And, of course, everyone gets married for love and everyone gets married with the expectation that it's going to be forever. But unfortunately that is not always the reality," Phaedra told The Daily Dish. "Unfortunately he is not here and I can't sulk about it. I'm very independent. I've always been independent. I'm a very smart woman, very understanding that, OK these are young boys, African-American children, and so I make it a point to try and engage good role models."
According to Phaedra, Judge Greg Mathis, Pastor Jamal Bryant, Reverend Jesse Jackson, and Louis Farrakhan are among the men who serve as mentors to her two sons. "They all reach out to me and they are very strong men of color and they give me great tips because the reality is a woman cannot raise a man," she said. "I will never understand what it's like to be a man because I was born a woman. And so i want to put them in the room with men who have done wonderful things and understand what they will go through so that they can help me guide them."
Seeing Ayden and Dylan grow up on The Real Housewives of Atlanta has been a unique experience that Phaedra will cherish for years to come. "It's gonna be an incredible way for them to document their growth as adults when they get to go back and see themselves being born because they've got footage," she said. "That will be the best memory book of all. That's their norm, but they're very good boys and I love being a mom."
And while it might be easy for Ayden and Dylan to grow accustomed to cameras and atention, Phaedra makes sure to teach them that not everyone is as privileged as they are. "I'm trying to raise good children who are well rounded and civil-minded and that will be viable citizens and really be in a position to help others," she said. "Reality is that we are in a very interesting world right now. There's a lot of social issues that are happening to young, black men; to women; terrorists. It's just a lot going on right now and I don't want my children to be blind to social issues and [I want them] to recognize that we could have been born in a different country, the situation could have been totally different."
Check out some adorable photos of Ayden and Dylan through the years, below.