'It's been very difficult.'
Lauryn "Pumpkin" Shannon is discussing her and her sister, Alana "Honey Boo Boo" Shannon's, complicated relationship with their mom, Mama June Shannon. ET's Lauren Zima spoke to the reality star via Zoom, and she called her and Alana's relationship with their mom "very emotional."
"My mom has four kids. Three of us are grown and can take care of ourselves and can cook for ourselves and we all pay our own bills. But at the end of the day, Alana's still 14 and she needs her mom," Pumpkin explained of Alana, who currently lives with her, her husband, Joshua Efrid, and their 2-year-old daughter, Ella.
"... It's been very difficult because... she is younger and she needs her mom. So it's been very hard for both me and her to adjust to me being her 'sister mom,'" she added. "And then of course her not being around her mom. She's lived with her mom her entire life and now she had to uproot and move out of that home and move in with us."
Though she's happy to have Alana living with her, Pumpkin admitted that it has been "really stressful."
"It's been really good. It's obviously been a crazy experience because we went basically from raising a 2-year-old overnight to now raising a 2-year-old and a 14-year-old. So it's two different age groups right there," she said. "It's stressful. It's really stressful. It puts a lot on a person because of the age difference."
Pumpkin and Alana's complicated relationship with Mama June stems from her drug use and relationship with her boyfriend, Geno Doak. The elder sister said she was initially "blindsided" by "how bad" things had gotten with her mom.
"We had moved out, gotten our own apartment, and things like that. So we weren't around as much. We weren't living physically in the home to see how bad things had gotten," she explained. "So of course to eventually see how bad things had gotten, it was rough. It was a rough process to see her like that."
"... She's always told us, 'I'll never let a man come between us.' And here we are," Pumpkin added.
Pumpkin also noted that, when Alana first moved in with her, she had to console her little sister "a couple of times."
"In the beginning it was hard on all of us, especially [Alana] because that was her best friend," Pumpkin explained. "They were so close and they'd done the pageants and stuff together, that was their thing. Everybody knew them for that and they knew how close they were. So that was very hard for her."
"And then for Mama to just kind of fall off the face of the Earth from us, that does a lot of damage to a kid. She shut down," she continued. "We're trying to get the communication, but we'll see how that goes throughout the season."
As for her own relationship with her mom, Pumpkin described it as "an on-and-off thing."
"We don't talk every day, but when she does call me I answer and we'll have a five, 10 minute conversation that's not about very much. It's just more of I'm checking in to make sure she's OK," she shared. "And then she usually tries to text me every other day just to check in with me and Alana, of course. But other than that I haven't physically seen her in a couple of months."
Despite all the challenges, Pumpkin said she is hopeful that she and Alana can repair their relationship with Mama June.
"Of course at the end of the day that's her mom. I do love her. I do miss her. I do hope that she gets better. And I hope that eventually one day we can be where we once were," she said. "I don't think that things will ever be the exact same because of so much damage that has been done, but I do hope for us to all reunite as a family, of course. I've always wanted that from the jump."
"I think that it can happen... It's going to take her will and want to do it. We tried doing the whole forcing thing and we clearly know that's not the way to approach this kind of situation," Pumpkin continued. "So at the end of the day, Mama is grown. She's gonna do what she wants to do. So...[she needs] to woman up and go get help and fix herself, before she tries to fix what she's done here with us. I think then that will be a big step for us."
The fourth season of Mama June: Family Crisis airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET/PT on WE TV.
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