Mia and Rozonno McGhee first inspired a collective aww from across the country when a photo of them with their adorable sextuplets went viral in 2011. Now the couple, who appeared on Oprah’s talk show in 2011, are gearing up to star in Six Little McGhees, which follows the family’s life raising their six toddlers in Columbus, Ohio. They spoke with ESSENCE.com about juggling their large family, working together in their family business and their enormous grocery bill.
ESSENCE.com: You two are raising sextuplets and running your own business together. How do you find balance?
Rozonno: It’s a lot of sacrifice.
Mia: I’m know when enough is enough and when to back off. Sometimes he’ll work from home or I’ll try to get away. We give each other space, but, ultimately, the kids and the business are something we wanted.
ESSENCE.com: Mia, on the show we find out you suffered a miscarriage prior to giving birth to your sextuplets.
Mia: That was my very first pregnancy ever. I was 29 then and had been married for 10 years. I was devastated.
ESSENCE.com: And you look up and get six…
Mia: I was really in a slump after the loss of my first twins. I didn’t want to try again. I was so upset, but my husband encouraged me to go do it again, and here we are today. It was almost like it was planned—like this is what my destiny should be. Had it happened the other way, where I got pregnant with multiples the first time, I may have considered reducing the number. But after losing the first twins, having multiples made me extra passionate.
Rozonno: It’s so funny, because after the miscarriage Mia was like, ‘Okay Rozonna, we can try again, have a child and after that I’m getting my tubes tied.’ So picture me standing there when the doctors told me we’re having seven. [One of the babies was stillborn.]
ESSENCE.com: Did you guys want a big family?
Rozonno: I grew up with four brothers so I always pictured myself having the perfect family—two boys, two girls.
Mia: Same here. I never thought six. Maybe one or three, but six was not a part of the plan at all.
ESSENCE.com: Rozonno, there’s a part on the show where you say, ‘Did I pray too much?’
Rozonno: [Laughs] I came to the realization that God has a strong personality. He’s really funny.
ESSENCE.com: So when did everyone start showing their little personalities?
Rozonno: Right at the womb. It was amazing, but it’s really hard to explain. Our parenting instincts kicked in as soon as we saw them.
Mia: When I first met the babies I noticed the different cries. Even to this day I can tell who’s crying. But even their personalities were immediately obvious. Like Rozonno, Jr. was always the laid back one, and Josiah can get very feisty.
ESSENCE.com: What is your grocery bill like?
Mia: [Laughs] Oh, my goodness, Lord have mercy. We try to spend no more than $800. But then we have diapers. It comes to about $1400.
Rozonno: Then I go out later on, and that’s another couple hundred dollars.
ESSENCE.com: What’s it like to have six kids going through terrible twos.
Rozonno: Man. it’s like them against us.
Mia: And they know we’re outnumbered. What really scares me is potty training. I’m fearful.
ESSENCE.com: What have you two learned about community from this experience?
Mia: Oh, my goodness. We were blown away by the support from so many people in our community and across the States. People have sent us gifts from across the country. Quilts, diapers, blankets, teddy bears, even money. We are shocked. We just never expected everybody to step up the way they did, especially with the economy the way it is. We thought nobody had anything to give.
Rozonno: This really made me think about how much I love America. The humanity of people just makes me think God bless America.
ESSENCE.com: One thing people will walk away from the show with is how much you two are a team. The situation could be a little stressful for someone else, but you two seem so happy.
Rozonno: [Laughs] Oh, we’re stressed all right. We have our moments.
Mia: It’s not always happy, but we love each other, and this is what we wanted.
Check out a special sneak peek of Six Little Mcghees below. The OWN reality show premieres this Saturday, December 15 at 10pm.