Made famous by her family's everyday antics on Bravo's show, The Real Housewives of New York City, Alex McCord has written a parenting book that will hit bookstore shelves at the end of this year or the beginning of next. Rather than an instructional read, the text will be a he said, she said penned by Alex and her hubby, Simon, about raising their young sons — Francois, 5, and Johan, 3, — in an urban environment. And, since they don't always agree, Alex said it makes for an interesting read.
I recently had a chance to chat via phone with the reality star who wouldn't say who was the most maternal housewife or which castmates's parenting style she identified with, but was happy to dish on what really happened during last season's finale and the fact that she and Simon initially didn't plan to enter parenthood.
lilsugar: At a time in your children's lives when most parents are looking to purchase a parenting book, what made you feel equipped to write one?
Alex McCord: I remembered the books that resonated the most with me when I was pregnant and they were not how to books written by doctors and psychologists, but collections of stories about people living their lives with children and what happened — the good, the bad, the ugly — and by reading that you could see what they learned from it. I had started writing down stories myself in 2004 when I was a mom of one. And now that we have the show, we have the platform to do something like this. There's a huge demand for slice of life entertainment and that's the same viewpoint that we are approaching this book from. It's crazy, off the wall stories about something that happened when we were out with the kids, something that happened when we were at home and my take on it and Simon's take on it.
To see what Alex had to say about childcare and the construction hazards filmed in their home,
lilsugar: What is unique about the way you and Simon are raising the boys?
Alex McCord: We share everything 50 percent. We are both so invested in giving our children a good experience. We live in a very liberal city and environment which we love and have a really strong family unit. We both lost our fathers at a very young age. Simon was 5 and I was 11 and you don't know how long you are going to get to be together. The relationships with your family are the primary thing that shapes your outlook on life. It's absolutely vital to make sure that it is high quality — it's the most important job you can do. We have an appreciation for that while having full lives that involve traveling, both of us working full time, though at the moment I am looking for work full time. We do a lot of things with our children that other people thought were strange. We traveled extensively with them since Francois was 13 days old. We also came into this not wanting to have children. When we first got together, as individuals we decided we did not want to be parents and then once we were married and had been together a while, we changed our minds and threw ourselves into the experience of being parents. We couldn't be happier the way things turned out.
lilsugar: On the show you had a live-in French speaking au pair. Is she still with you?
Alex McCord: The au pair program is just for a year so we had au pairs for three years and when we finished with our last au pair, we made the decision to bring on a full time nanny instead. She does not live with us, but is with us quite a lot. We were ready to have someone not live with us.
lilsugar: Can you speak to Francois's behavior in last season's finale? Was it just a long dinner and a restless child or is that the freedom of expression you want your children to have?
Alex McCord: Hardly. It was a bunch of things. It was our naivete about the way reality shows are put together. We had never watched reality shows before doing this show. It was a family dinner with all of the children expected to attend. Dinner ran two hours late because of late arrivals of the cast members. There's a lot that you didn't see that night. It's the job of the producers to create entertaining television and more often than not with children, no one wants to see beautiful children behaving beautifully. You don't see me taking for a time-out, you do see someone asking Simon if we let our children act this way, and he says, "Oh, yeah sure we do", but the sarcasm doesn't read. We were sorry to see that it came out the way it did.
lilsugar: Did you have any regret of allowing him to be filmed. Are you more protective as a result and is that why we see less of your sons this season?
Alex McCord: We wanted them to be involved to the extent that they wanted to be if that makes any sense. It's really difficult to film a show with children. There is a lot of waiting around and we need you to do this or that and that's not natural for kids. If you want to capture those moments that are real, then you really need to manage it so that they are in for a few minutes. If you get something great. It's not good TV for kids to be held in a room for hours. We tried to balance.
lilsugar: What about the safety hazards that were filmed in your home in both seasons? Or are those areas that were filmed, but are off limits to the boys?
Alex McCord: Completely. All the construction happened behind a dead bolted door that was sealed with plastic all over the entire doorway. For example, this season when we took Jill on a tour when we got home from St. Bart's, that was the first time they ever saw it.
lilsugar: Why didn't anyone tell me blank about motherhood?
Alex McCord: Why didn't anyone tell me how much a very jaded individual would love motherhood.
lilsugar: You know you're a mother when?
Alex McCord: You know you're a mother when you can have conversations with both your children at the same time while preparing dinner and tracing out a project for work.
lilsugar: What's the best trick your mother or father taught you?
Alex McCord: Don't condescend to your children.
lilsugar: Helicopter mom or free range kids?
Alex McCord: Neither. You never want to be a parental extreme, it's really a balance. There are times when you need to be right there with them and that can be construed as helicoptering and there are times when you really need to step back and let them do their own thing and make their own mistakes.
Everyone's got an opinion on this parenting book so don't forget anonymous comments are open.