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The Star of Bravo's 'There Goes the Motherhood' Talks Mama Drama

When I had my first baby, my mother helped out for a month. I cried when she flew home to the opposite coast—how was I supposed to figure out any of this parenting stuff on my own? Luckily, I found an amazing mom's group run by Jill Spivack—star of the new Bravo reality show, "There Goes the Motherhood." We met once a week to learn about child development, compare milestones, ask embarrassing questions and bare our fragile new-mommy souls to a roomful of strangers who would soon become friends.

After many sessions of mommy group, I can tell you that Jill has truly improved my parenting game, from managing toddler tantrums to getting my stubborn babies to sleep through the night (she co-authored the popular and highly effective baby sleep guide, "The Sleepeasy Solution"). So I'm a huge fan, and clearly not the only one. When "There Goes the Motherhood" premiered last week, Jill's celebrity clientele was out in force tweeting their support, including Jaime King, Tiffani Thiessen, Jenna Dewan Tatum and Elizabeth Berkeley.

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As for the show—I'm hooked after one episode. It's got all the interpersonal drama and glamorous locations I love watching on Real Housewives, but instead of just drinking and shopping the whole time, these ladies are actually parenting their kids. You know, brushing their teeth and handling potty accidents (while being fabulous, of course.) After watching, I was dying to call Jill for some scoop. Here's what we talked about:

Jill, I love the show so far—especially the way it depicts some of the challenges of motherhood and the trade-offs you have to make.

One of the goals of the show is to peel back the veil on motherhood and stop having everyone walking around like, "Oh, this is so perfect and I'm so perfect" and just be able to be real and admit that nobody is perfect and there is no such thing as perfection. There are a lot of struggles around the whole journey of motherhood—not just raising your kids but what happens with your relationship and your career and having to make choices that are really, really hard. These women are really opening up and sharing that stuff, even if it's not PC sometimes.

When the moms are getting ready to go to Stefanie's barbecue, they're all worried about the same thing: how will their kids behave? Does bringing kids to a social event put added pressure on moms?

I think that mothers have this idea that If they were good enough, their kids would always be these well-mannered, perfectly behaved children and the biggest lesson of motherhood is that we don't have control over things like that. We fool ourselves, thinking they will have perfect manners. We can hope for things and we can try to teach them, but we do not have 100% control.

We have to stop judging each other. When we see that kid in the market screaming his head off, we need to sympathize and understand. There's too much judgment and a lot of pressure on moms and it's just not within our control. A lot of us who are mothers have gone from being A-type women and we go A-typing into motherhood and try to have as much control and impact as we had in our careers and it doesn't work that way with kids. Kids are separate people with their own minds and ideas. We can shape them, but we can't control it all the way.

Speaking of judgment, at the party, Jen confronts Meghan about the way she makes fun of her own kids on Facebook, jokingly calling them idiots.

In the case of Meghan and the things she was saying about her kids, Meghan is a mom who shoots from the hip and is not uptight and she thinks as long as there's no blood at the end of the day, she's doing really well. And we've got this other mother, Jen, with a very different parenting style who's very concerned about every move she makes with this child—what she feeds him, what kind of school he goes to, and that they don't have technology or colorful toys—and she's got a very serious agenda of how she wants to raise him. So you see the juxtaposition of these parenting styles side-by-side and it just threw Jen into a tizzy. If you see a style of parenting this different from your own, it can really push some hot buttons for you.

After watching the premiere, I went online to see what the media was saying about the show. The tabloids were all running stories about Stefanie Fair locking her kids in their bedrooms at night. What's going on there?

If you know Stefanie, the truth is she lives in a very large house. Her master bedroom is two floors above her kids' rooms. From a pure safety perspective, she doesn't want them roaming around the hallways. She felt the safest thing was to keep them in their rooms, with cameras on them. It was not about abuse. She really is an excellent mother. Maybe if I didn't know and understand Stefanie, I'd be surprised at that as well, without any back story. But knowing Stefanie, I know the truth. She was completely out for their kids' safety and the kids would even ask her to do it. Like, "Is it latched?" it made them feel safe.

The "next on" teased some pretty juicy stuff. Should I have Kleenex at the ready when Beth tells her kids about the divorce?

It's intense. It's really intense. Beth came into the group and mentioned to everyone that she was splitting up from her husband. I talked to Beth about it and asked her if the kids understood what was going on and she said not really. She was afraid to upset them, which is a really natural response to the situation. She was trying to protect her kids' feelings. But as a therapist, I know that when there is something that big going on and children are not told in an age-appropriate way, they still know that things are going on and that there is stress in their family. They go inwards with it and start imagining all sorts of things, like, "I was a bad boy and I must have split them up" or "Is my daddy ever coming back?"

Beth needed a huge wake-up call, as in, "They need to be told, and they need to be told now. I'm going to help you tell them and I'll be there with you when you tell them, but you need to tell them." So we'll see that in episode 5.

What else can we look forward to this season?

It goes deep, man. You get some really intense back story about these women that makes you understand them a whole lot better and empathize with them quite a bit. It's very interesting.

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Photographs by: Bravo

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