Melissa Rycroft: Why Two Kids Is an ‘Emotionally’ Hard Adjustment

10/13/2014 at 01:30 PM ET

Melissa Rycroft Smirnoff Ice Ladies with Game
Angela Weiss/Getty

Melissa Rycroft‘s days on the dance floor are finally paying off.

Now mom to 3½-year-old daughter Ava Grace and 5-month-old son Beckett Thomas, the former Dancing with the Stars champ is constantly on her feet.

“I used to have all of this free time even with my one child, I have one more and I don’t sit down anymore, so it’s crazy,” Rycroft, 31, told PEOPLE before she headed off to host the Smirnoff Ice “Ladies with Game” Tailgate Party on Oct. 2.

“On one hand, I’m used to the fact that it takes me 30 minutes to get out of the house. I’ve got that down, and I know that if I want to just up and get my nails done, I can’t.”

While the working mom first learned that parenting lesson after she welcomed Ava in 2011, juggling two children has its new set of challenges.

“It does feel like I don’t have enough arms. I don’t have enough hands,” she jokes. “I’m constantly just doing laundry or dishes or washing bottles or changing diapers, and I just go, ‘Where did the day go?’ ”

The time crunch paired with the demands of a newborn have made the balancing act of motherhood tricky for Rycroft, who admits the “hardest thing for me emotionally” has been dividing her attention between two kids.

“I feel like I just can’t give my daughter 100 percent anymore,” she explains. “She’s getting everything that she wants — everything that she needs — but there are times when I’m feeding the baby and she’ll come in and go, ‘Mom, come play with me,’ and I can’t.”

Adds Rycroft, “It’s hard juggling and trying to give both of them all of the attention that they want and all of the attention that they need.”

Luckily, Rycroft doesn’t have to juggle alone: Her husband Tye Strickland is a very hands-on dad.

“I got lucky in the daddy department. Very, very lucky,” she says. “He’s a big help and if it’s one of those nights that I’ve done my duty, he’ll wake up with him at six in the morning and take morning duty and let me get an hour or two extra sleep.”

She adds with a laugh, “We have found our nice little balance that way, just to keep everybody sane.”

But the couple also have a little helper: Their “awesome” daughter has happily stepped into her new role as big sister.

“I’m really lucky that she has been wonderful. Since the moment we brought him home, she’s been such a help,” shares Rycroft. “Maybe because their age difference — they are three years apart — [or] one’s a boy, one’s a girl so there’s no competition or [maybe] she’s just a sweet little thing.”

And Rycroft has even more reasons to be a proud mommy; Ava’s latest milestones include singing her ABC’s and counting in Spanish.

“Ava’s just this little sponge. She’s at the age where she comes home every day doing something new … it baffles me the things that she’s picking up on and that she knows,” says Rycroft.

As for Beckett, “he’s a little rolling machine, he’s sitting up on his own now.”

And Rycroft has hit a major milestone of her own: shedding her pregnancy pounds!

Although she didn’t “gain as much weight” while pregnant with her baby boy, that didn’t make things easier when it came to bouncing back physically, says Rycroft, who had to work harder the second time around, including exercising every day and eating really clean.

“The weight didn’t just fall off like it did with Ava, and I was getting down on myself, going, ‘I don’t understand why I can’t fit back into my pants,’ ” she explains.

Although she was only one month postpartum at the time — and understands “it was so unrealistic” — Rycroft was ready to regain her pre-baby body.

“Any woman knows once you’ve been 20-plus pounds heavier, all you want to do is just lose it,” she explains. “I had to work much harder this time.”

But despite all the hard work — and depending on the day you ask — Rycroft isn’t ruling out expanding her family further in the future.

“If you ask me on a good day, I’ll have eight [kids]. If you ask me after a day where we have been up all night long [with] a screaming baby, I’m like, ‘We’re done, we’re never doing this again,’ ” she jokes.

“So I don’t know. I don’t necessarily feel like we’re done, but you never know what’s in your cards so we just play that one by ear.”

— Mariah Haas

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Showing 67 comments

LA Mama on

My son is 9 months old. My husband and I are 10 years apart, I’m 37 and he’s 27. He wants to start trying for baby #2 next year and I’m terrified. Scarified!!! Everyone says having two kids makes having one look like a breeze. I want a sibling for my son but I don’t want to rock my world either…
Due to my age I have to make a decision…quick!

heather on

Nobody in a healthy relationship and home really regrets adding another child to the family. If you think at all that you want to, then you should!

blessedwithboys on

Ditto heather

Andrea on

@ LA Mama, I’ve been there! It’s scary since your DS is still a baby…you’ll feel better about it in a few months when he becomes a toddler. I didn’t even want a second one until DD1 was 18 months.

tiff on

Try having 3 lol. But I understand what she is saying.

Smithy on

Wow. She’s so insightful. I never knew having more than one child would be so stressful. She should write a book.

like it is on

She has stayed level-headed and has a stunning family to boot. Big fan.

Katie on

Serously?? This is news?? Welcome to the real world Melissa. Try having more than 2 – or twins, triplets…… You do what you’ve got to do to make it work.

Kelly on

I’d give anything to have 1 child and the $30,000 we have spent on IVF treatments.

georgiaonmymind on

I have four and personally I think it is very beneficial for children to have siblings. It is good for them to see that the whole world does not revolve around them. I love having four but it was hard and now that they are older they are great for each other! She has a beautiful family and helpful husband. It will all smooth out eventually!

Me3 on

I wonder how she would feel with 5 kids. Two sets of twins in the group. I could tell her it is very challenging, but there is lots of love!

Court on

OMG what a big drama queen she is! Please Melissa get over yourself — you’ve had your 15 minutes of fame so go away now.

guest on

I’m happy she’s happy and blessed with a beautiful family. But really, these women that all they want is marriage and a family and then when they get it are surprised it’s hard work and feel sorry for themselves. There are plenty of people out there that would love to have a family and welcome the hard work.

TraceyD on

As a hair stylist for 20 years and hearing what women REALLY THINK, I wonder about the women who expected multiple kids to just be dreamy. (They are actually losing their minds during the toddler, pre-school years) Then lose it again when they turn to teens. Babies..yeah..not so cute anymore. Children are HARD. The moms who pretend raising children is all rainbows and unicorns are failing their fellow woman.

goodmom on

Kelly i just want to tell you to hang in there…i know it is a lot of money for the IVF but it is all worth it…i have a friend that had a single son at first, then a set of twins, then another single all with IVF…then low and behold when figuring she was done having kids she ended up pregnant with a natural single baby birth…hang in there and don’t give up hope!!! i will say a prayer for you that you will be blessed also with a child of your own!!! i had fertility problems also and ended up with 3 healthy boys that are all grown now, and after each child the challenge was something different!!! DON’T GIVE UP HOPE!!!

Skinnyminnie2006 on

Oh shut up Melissa! You are famous for getting dumped on a ridiculous reality show. No one gives two rat’s a$$es about your views on parenthood. Some people pine for one!! And others feel overwhelmed with four or five. Get over yourself!!

Guest on

Her 15 minutes of fame has been done ages ago! Why is she still commanding news items!?

G on

I am in FULL agreement with “Court” and “Courtney”…quit whining when there are many who cannot even have one! Good grief! I had two, barely two years apart, and battled cancer before, during, and after they blessed my life. Get over yourself, Melissa.

goodmom on

Babies and children are a lot of work but the rewards you get from them are worth every min of hard work!!! I also do daycare for 12 kids ranging from 6 weeks to 4 years every day!!! It is a rewarding job, yes there are days I wonder how I will get thru the day but I always do and things can be awful one moment and the next moment you have a child that comes up and gives you a hug for no reason and that is the rewards that are PRICELESS!!!!

goodmom on

Don’t get me wrong i am not saying that being a daycare provider is the worst job…or the most demanding job…but it is very rewarding!!! I know that if my parents didn’t have other jobs that they love also i would not be blessed to have their children every day!!!

Andrea on

My son was 3 when our twin girls were born. Talk about dividing attention lol. It is the hardest thing about having multiple children. They all need our attention and it is exhausting making sure they all have it. One thing now that mine are a little older that has helped is to do things that they all enjoy. For example the park. They can all have fun doing that, or a picnic. We have one on one time too, but finding things they can all be a part of and that the whole family can enjoy together makes things a lot easier.

Laura on

What an annoying article. Im sure a woman who can’t get pregnant so easily will not complain if she finally was able to have a baby. Im tired of woman complaining about how hard it is when there are women out there who desperately want a baby but can’t. Im sure they would love to trade place with the complaining mommies.

Mom Of Twinz on

I didn’t find it that difficult, and I had no choice in having two children. I had twins, they are my first and only children. They turned 14 yrs old yesterday.

Katie on

Just think of what your life would be like if you had maybe 1/5 of the income and wealth that you have like so many others. Your net worth is about $1.5 million. I’m sure if you really wanted to get your nails done, you could hire a sitter. You live in Colleyville, TX, one of the wealthiest towns in the US. You sound like a whiner. These stories never bring out the best in those who think they have it tough, but are really only whining.

Skiiy on

Gag. Quit your whining.

Jennifer on

@Kelly have you considered using a surrogate?

bkable on

I hate when women comment how “helpful” her husband is… I get what she’s getting at but c’mon! You didn’t make that baby on your own, you likely weren’t even the only one who wanted that baby. If you and your husband collectively decide to have a baby, you shouldn’t be shocked when he helps out, it should be expected

mylittlechick on

@LAMama I was the same age as you when I got pregnant with baby #2 and my boys are 17 months apart. It was hard but I’m glad we had our boys close together. They are best of friends!

travelsoul504 on

STFU Melissa. I can assure you that not having children even after 7 IUIs and 2 IVFs at a price tag of $50k is way more stressful than having two beautiful children and the chore of loosing 50lb.

Chris on

Why two kids “IS” ?? Who writes this stuff?

GUEST2 on

The are both extremely good looking. Who are they?

Kelly on

@jennifer I was a surrogate was that easy. It’s at Least $80,000 a $200,000. We are thankful we can afford Ivf but unfortunately a surrogate is not an option.

Guest on

I wish I was given the opportunity to have one child.

messiejessy on

I actually don’t feel at all like she is complaining in this article. That’s not the way I read it unlike some of the other commenters. I think they were asking her the right questions and she was being honest that motherhood is not a piece of cake. It’s work and I am actually struggling with some of these little fears and things she talks about here. I have a 3-1/2 year old and though my husband and I had always intended on having at least two should we be so blessed, honestly after our very hectic and busy work schedules, I really rethought it and had pretty much decided against having more. I felt as though I work hard to give my daughter all I can as it is with our lifestyle and I sometimes bear guilt that there aren’t enough hours in the day for us. I grew up with three other siblings so liked the idea of the same for our family but realistically, I don’t want to turn in to a manic, madwoman mom either. Everyone knows their own patience threshold before they blow. All this being said, I just very surprisingly found out we are expecting baby #2 and I have been constantly thinking “how will I stretch myself to do this?? How can I show enough attention to both and enough love?” I feel like a wimp! My sister has a six year old, a 10 year old stepson and just gave birth to identical twins 5 months ago. She’s managing it and I don’t know how. I’m not walking around singing the blues on the daily about it but if asked like Melissa is here, I’d have no qualms with being honest about my feelings and struggles. It’s just part of parent life. Everyone handles it differently and we just do the best we can. @LA Mama — I totally get you!

TVB on

OMG. Why is this news? She is a D list “celebrity” who has over-milked her 15 minutes. Every single freakin’ true working mother knows this. It’s not news. And if her idea of “working” is getting ready is to attend an Smirnoff opening, I would love to have that “job.”

suzy on

Hey Melissa if you want more time..maybe quit working??? now there is an idea!!

Anonymous on

working mom?!? please

Lioness on

Oh please! The emotional problems she is having is NOT being the CENTER of attention and what she can say to get media attention. Her 15 mins are over and she needs to get over herself. NO ONE CARES!

Jane on

Why all the venom? She is talking about her experience. It’s new for her. She never said she was the first to have these feelings. Some unhappy people out there.

paisley on

We have one daughter and we are blessed that we are able to give her all of our attention and love. We have been able to bring her on vacations and many other fun experiences that we probably wouldn’t have been able to do if we had more children She is the light of my husband and my lives. I wish that I had grown up an only and gotten all the love and attention!

JP on

I LOVE her honesty! Childrearing is hard work – although so rewarding and delightful. I salute her for keeping things real as it helps all us moms who are in the same boat. Not like Angelina Jolie who won’t admit how much help she has to make her life with kids work and prefers to let everyone think she does it all…ya right. Anyway, hats off to Melissa!!

nancy on

Am I missing something? What has she done career wise since Dancing with the Stars? Is having 2 children breaking news?

Amy on

Seriously? Quit your whining about not being able to get your nails done whenever you want. If only the majority of mothers in this world had such problems. How about we do a wife swap and you can come live in the world of a true working mother??

lynnie on

I agree, it is probably better to have at least two kids. We have one son, who is almost 10. He has a lot of cousins, but I feel bad some days he doesn’t have a sibling. Funny enough, he never really mentions it. He is spoiled though. Our fault! Anyways, Melissa enjoy the two of them!

Sal on

Who cares, she’s a talentless nobody who had her 5 minutes in the sun. Oh, shock, having kids is an adjustment. Now turn out the lights and fly away, little bird.

Ann on

Its nice to read about a hands on mom for a change……….

Shirley on

Boo hoo hoo!!!!

Christina on

I am really tired of “celebrity” mothers telling me how hard they have it! If you don’t have to do it all plus hold down a full time job then suck it, ok! And before I hear about it I can’t afford to stay home on my husbands income and that does not make me a selfish broke joke who shouldn’t have had kids, it just makes me real.

Tammy on

Not sure why this is a people ‘news’ story? Women have multiple children ALL the time, it’s part of life. Once you adjust to having the one baby [which prevents the ‘just going out’ scenario, you must prepare], the second or third simply doesn’t make THAT big a difference.

There are just too many out there who want to be pregnant and struggle with the delays or not being able to get pregnant for this lady to whine. Ugh

Carolyn on

Waaaaah…….my mother-in-law had 11. Try that on for size.

heather on

Career wise she is a special correspondent for Good Morning America. No, it’s not a traditional full time job, but it takes her away for days at a time. I think it’s really sad and unfortunate how negative and judgmental people are these days.

Anonymous on

Try having 4..lol

Guest on

Why is this woman still in the news? I would love to see her have 4-5 kids. Stop whining and join the real world! Her 2175 minutes of fame is overkill at this point.

Anna M. on

Oh please…..this is news? Try having twins or triplets or an unhealthy, medically challenged baby or being a single parent of three. Get over yourself….like parenthood is a new discovery.

Brooklyngirl on

Heather, I don’t think that it is fair when you say “nobody.” Children, thought lovely and adorable, are also stressful and even a healthy relationship can be strained with the addition of each extra child. Everyone is different and LA Mama I know many siblings who don’t talk. I know many only children who are happy and well adjusted. You do what you can emotionally and financially afford.

Brianna on

They are such a gorgeous family! Very happy for Melissa and glad she found a great man to share it with

GDP on

It’s funny because my mother had six children, and she would have two close together, my brother and I are a 1 1/2 years apart, and then a little break before the next group. She said it was so much easier once I came along! She swears two is easier than one, they have each other to play with etc and it’s great for them to learn how to help the other and not be too spoiled. I had a lot of fun growing up in a big family, and I’m having my first in a few months and hope to have a large family as well

Nikki on

Sure hope Melissa is the the pill or something…sounds lke she is complaining with 2..lets hope she doesnt have anymore..sheeeeeeeesh

Ginger on

I have nothing against this lady, but I question anyone’s intelligence who goes on The Bachelor.

Tanya on

Melissa has found a good husband, no need to complain!

Lina B on

LA Mama- I def. will get super busy. I have two, two years apart and I haven’t sat down for 2 years. When they are sick, they both get sick at once and there is no sleep. I always say I feel like I have twins. I am for sure exhausted a lot more. Yes, one is very easy and when I have time alone with one child I think it is a breeze. Love my two but there is no rest with two🙂

jaynee on

I don’t know why everyone is so cruel to Melissa. What a beautiful family.. I feel she was being honest and answered questions about her life and family. Are you all jealous? She is very gracious person and wonderful mother and wife. It is a refreshing to read a real article from the heart and is not complaining about being a mother which many of you seem to twist around

Niko on

This annoying, attention-seeking woman sounds like a hopeless narcissist. Be grateful that you’re lucky enough to even have kids—unlike so many women out there—instead of whining how emotionally hard it is for you to be a mom of 2. GTFO, Melissa!. Welcome to reality….

Eyeroll on

Wow, these comments! You “mothers” should be ashamed of yourselves. The mommy wars comparison game is so tasteless. Why not support one another instead of being complete whiny b i t c h e s?

Valarie on

Happy for them to have a lovely family.

jdavis on

She’s annoying.

Rose on

I don’t know Melissa, and have no reason to hate her. Why so much hate and venom did she hurt anyone in some way? I just don’t understand the people who come on here and complain when this is a CBB website that interviews celebrities about their babies. Why do some feel the need to complain about these interviews its a CBB website get over yourselves. I know everyone is entitled to their opinions and don’t have to agree with everything but you have specifically clicked on someone you hate thereby contributing to their fame.

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