Alex McCord - 8 Questions for a Real Housewife of New York

Filed under: Celeb Parents

"Real Housewives of New York" star Alex McCord and hubby Simon van Kempen are penning a new parenting book, "The Urban Parent: Tales From a Real House in New York City," expected to hit the shelves by the end of 2009. Despite those that say the aspiring Brooklyn socialite, mother of two and racy Internet phenom has no business preaching parenting skills, McCord defends herself to ParentDish: "If it were a requirement to be a perfect parent in order to write a parenting book, there would be no books on the subject."

Reality TV Moms

    Alex McCord
    "Ultimately there's not a lot of difference between me and most other moms. We all want the best for our children, to love them, educate them and provide them with the tools needed to launch themselves successfully into the world." -- Alex McCord, The Real Housewives of New York City

    Getty Images

    Michelle Duggar

    "I'll put it the way my daughter, Jill, said it: 'Mama, they just don't understand or know what it's like to be in our large family and how much fun we have and how sweet is it to have these little ones that look up to us and want to be like us. -- Michelle Duggar of "17 Kids & Counting"

    Beth Hall, AP

    Amy Roloff

    "Those moments [on the show] don't represent the last or the next 20 years of our lives, whether we are going through the best times or the most horrible times. You almost want to say, "Can I put a mirror in your face?" -- Amy Roloff, "Little People, Big World"

    Thos Robinson, Getty Images

    Kate Gosselin

    Kate Gosselin didn't set out to create a family of eight, but her genes had other plans. Managing her set of twins and sextuplets with ease, this model mother makes having eight children look manageable, and maybe even a little bit fun.

    Amy Sussman, Getty Images

    Amy Wolff
    "I know I will get bigger, and I know I will have a lot of baby weight. But I alsoI know it won't be this huge, insurmountable thing. If I had gotten pregnant six months after the show, I would have been in the head space of worrying about my weight, and being really focused on that." -- Amy Wolff, "Biggest Loser"

    Trae Patton, NBC

    Denise Richards

    We've been hearing about Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen drama in the tabloids for years, but when Richards decided to get her own reality TV show, "Denise Richards: It's Complicated," we learned she wasn't kidding. Between her messy, public divorce, raising her children and maintaining her status as a sex symbol, Richards' life is certainly more dramatic than the average mom.

    Jason LaVeris, FilmMagic

    NeNe Leakes

    Arguably the most popular of the "The Real Housewives of Atlanta," it's not surprising that NeNe Leakes upstages her two sons with social drama and her outspoken personality. Despite the controversy, Leakes says she still makes time to help others through her organization, "The Twisted Hearts Foundation," which promotes knowledge about domestic violence in the community.


    Tori Spelling

    Although she was often upstaged by her late pug Mimi La Rue in the past, Spelling is a force to reckon with as she pursued entrepreneurship and stayed in the spotlight all while eight months pregnant with her second child, Stella. Now, as a mother of two back in L.A., Spelling continues to take on Hollywood at full steam with her role on the newly renewed 90210 series.

    Chris Polk, FilmMagic

    Mommy Meerkat

    These moms are wilder than most of the other matriarchs on reality TV, but they manage their families with the same loving care. Dominant female Flower rose to power and led her pack, the Whiskers, for more than five years. These tough mommas are experts at multi-tasking, as they are filmed foraging, caring for their young and fiercely battling enemies to protect the pack.

    Animal Planet

    Renee Wilson

    Appeared on "The Biggest Loser" with daughter Michelle Aguilar. Renee, 47, lost 45 pounds in seven weeks. "She was the quintessential yo-yo dieter," Michelle, 27, told "Prevention." Luckily the mother-daughter team was able to use familial motivation to break their old habits and start living a healthier lifestyle.

    Trae Patton, NBC Photo

Finish this sentence: A good parent is ... A present parent. You can't be with your kids all the time and you can't catch everything. But you can be present in the moment.

Are you happy with the way your family life is portrayed on camera? It's been a real learning curve. Working with young children on camera is not easy, and we definitely walked into a few traps. The truth is, we were fairly naïve. We had never watched reality TV before! In the new season you'll see a more accurate representation of us. It may not be any more flattering, but it will be more real.

Your sons threw a temper tantrum at a dinner party at the end of the first season. Some say you need to spend more time teaching your children manners and less time out on the town. Our family and friends know that we have a rule about never going out more than two nights per week and not on consecutive nights. The viewers only saw the most entertaining footage -- they didn't see me dragging the kids [François, 4, and Johan, 2] out of the room. Also, Simon learned that sarcasm doesn't translate well on camera. One time he jokingly said, "Sure, we let our children play with food" and it didn't go over too well.

What makes your parenting book different than the thousands already published? Our book deals specifically with raising children in an urban environment, and it's more of a collection of our personal experiences with our two boys. When I was pregnant and a new mom, the books that resonated with me the most were stories from the trenches of parenthood as opposed to prescriptive how-to books.

How do you feel about your parenting book coming out on the heels of those nude photos? One really has nothing to do with the other. There are millions of people who have such photos, and many of them are also fantastic parents. I've gotten so much support from our community.

Do you prioritize your children before your marriage, or vice versa? Marriage is a work in progress, which brings me to this: Don't ever assume you've figured out marriage or child-rearing. If you don't constantly evolve, you stagnate.

What do you think of the Octuplets mom? If Nadya is able to care for them without significant burden placed on the government or charitable services, she's allowed to have as many children as she wants. However, I'm not sure that's the case in this situation.

Top three parenting tips?
•Parent your children -- don't patronize them. You can keep law and order in the house while still respecting their evolving intelligence.
•If you wouldn't eat it yourself, don't feed it to your children.
•Remember that kids are learning every waking second of the day. Enjoy that because it's magical, and be aware of the tremendous opportunity to teach them.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.