So just how does one celebrity wife and mother of four also balance her family, career and causes that she’s most passionate about? Well, for Holly Robinson-Peete, life is quite the balancing act, and we’re catching it all on the return of “For Peete’s Sake”, the OWN reality series featuring Holly and her husband Rodney Peete, four children and opinionated mother, Dolores.
Now in its 2nd season, Robinson Peete says she’s grateful to OWN for a platform that understands her family and what’s important to them, namely their HollyRod Foundation and advocacy for autism and Parkinson’s disease. “OWN is a network of real integrity and authenticity and I thought you know, if we were going to do a reality project this would be a good place for it,” she said.
In this season, things are shifting dramatically for the Peete’s offspring. While their only daughter Ryan is off to college, her twin brother RJ lands a job with the LA Dodgers, and their two youngest sons Robinson and Roman are being introduced to homeschool.
As many know, Robinson-Peete has been advocating for autism since her son RJ was diagnosed in 2000. Now considered a “go to advocate” for the cause, the “21 Jump Street” actress says she initially struggled with the diagnosis, but feels blessed to share her family’s story.
“I totally embrace that role, especially in the African American community where we have a lot of nuanced issues with our kids with autism,” she said. Some of these issues, Peete says, include interfacing with police and late diagnoses, topics that are brought to the forefront throughout the series, making for substantive, positive television content.
Along these lines, Robinson Peete says while worried, she’s very proud of her son and his steps toward independence and self-sufficiency. “RJ’s story is one of hope and faith and advocacy and intervention and emergence and inclusion,” she said. “I know he’s my son, but I’ve never seen a television character who has been on TV, a young man with autism trying to make his way in the world.
That’s powerful content for a family who’s raising a toddler with autism and feeling hopeless, like we were. So we want to be that example,” Robinson Peete continued.
Speaking of inclusion, the children’s television series “Sesame Street” has recently released its first character with autism, Julia. Robinson Peete described the moment as “ironic” and “full circle”, being that her late father Matt Robinson served as the original “Gordon” and founding contributor to the show. “This idea that Sesame Street is going to have a character with autism is the most groundbreaking and earthshattering thing to happen in the autism community in forever,” she said.
When asked how she’s able to balance her busy schedule, she says the key is staying regimented, organized and not worrying as much when things don’t work out as planned. “I have so many balls in the air at any given moment, and every now and then a ball will drop, but now that I’m over 50, I don’t get stressed about the dropped balls anymore,” Peete said. “Now, I just let life come a little easier,” she continued.
As for what keeps the spark going after 22 years of marriage, Robinson Peete attributes it to the “state of the marriage” meetings that they hold at least once per month. While she says it doesn’t sound very sexy, it definitely works for this dynamic duo.
“It’s managing to create and cultivate that time to talk to each other in a meaningful way. It’s like a board meeting. We’re not a perfect couple, we’re not, by any stretch of the imagination, we fight and fuss just like everybody else, but our goal in the end is to create the best life for ourselves and our children, and it’s been very helpful to continue that method. It works for us,” Robinson Peete declared.
When it comes to finding some alone time in the midst of it all, the actress turned activist says for her it’s a matter of scheduling time to put herself first. “Whether it’s a day at the beach, a spa appointment or a drive up the coast, whatever that moment is, you have to take it, because without you, your whole empire might crumble, so you have to take care of you,” Peete concluded.
Be sure to catch season 2 of “For Peete’s Sake” Saturdays, 10 ET/PT on OWN.