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Bethenny Frankel on her Parenting Rules for Baby Bryn

  • Lee Clower

    Bethenny Frankel thinks her savvy assistant, Julie, can do better. Julie is in the midst a massive online search for the perfect microwave, one that will transport easily to Frankel’s summer hideaway in Montauk, New York. “Got it! $49!” Julie shouts gleefully. “Nah,” says Frankel. “Keep looking. We can score a better deal than that.” Good deals are uber-important to Frankel, the star of Bethenny Ever After..., former Real Housewife, and best-selling author-turned-cocktail maker. Just weeks before we meet, she scored big—American Dream big—when she sold her brand of Skinnygirl cocktails to Beam Global for a reported (wait for it) $120 million. That’s a lot of diapers for the mom of 1 1/2-year-old Bryn. But nevertheless, $49 for a new microwave is just not okay.

  • Lee Clower

    Frankel’s tell-it-like-it-is tone and willingness to overexpose her vulnerability (“I have no idea what I’m doing, but is it really that hard?” she says of new motherhood) is why almost 2 million viewers turn up weekly to watch her make her way through the zany maze of new parenthood. She’s loud, sure, and full of mojo (you don’t score nine-figure deals for nothing), but also totally dedicated to the daughter she swears not to leave for more than one night at a time. And that, my friends, is the million-dollar recipe for the“sorta-kinda” rules that this modern mom lives by.

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 1: Try not to let the haters get you down.

    One of the downsides to fame is the constant criticism you get. Yet all moms everywhere have to deal with negative feedback at some point. My attitude is, it’s a non-event—just let it roll off your back.

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 2: Don’t be your own harshest critic, either 

    I like to think that I’m doing a good job. I’m there for my daughter almost all the time, as much as I can possibly be. Sometimes, it’s true, I have to travel, and I miss a night with her. When that happens, I feel like I’m going to freak out . But I tell myself that the fact that I get so upset is yet another sign I’m a good mom. That’s all I really care about.

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 3: Instead of aiming for perfection, find the best balance you can

    The week I just had is a perfect example: I had to be away on a business trip all day Saturday. But I knew it was coming, so I spent every minute of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday with Bryn, and then all day Sunday again. So really, I only missed one day. I didn’t like it, but didn’t feel guilty at all. If I was giving her this amount of time every day, I wouldn’t be okay with that, but in my mind, I lock it all together: I could totally miss a day with her because we’d had four together.

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 4: Know and believe that being a good mom isn’t that complicated.

    You don’t have to do everything right--just be there. Bryn’s not drinking enough milk right now, but that has nothing to do with me. It’s not like I’m a bad mom because of that. Now I’m getting creative about it, feeding her with a spoon and with cerea —but that’s not something that makes you a good mom, either. Again, it’s being there.

  • Lee Clower

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 5: Understand you will make mistakes, and try not to freak out about them

    Sometimes I accidentally give Bryn food that’s just a little too hot. Or I’ll be turning her around during a bath, and she’ll dunk and get all the water in her mouth. What can you do? Just say “I’m sorry!”

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 6: Keep it fun!

    Bryn and I throw our own dance parties with our iPod every single day. “California Girls” is probably her favorite song, and yesterday, we had a really fun time with a tune by Panic at the Disco. We love Pink, too.

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 7: No matter what age you are when you have kids, appreciate the unique strengths you bring

    For me, I think that having Bryn later in my thirties was a good thing. I’ve had more experiences, and appreciate it more. I don’t think at 23, I’d be the same kind of mom I am now, but I have no idea. I’m sure there are plenty of great 23-year-old mothers out there!

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 8: Try not to compare yourself to other people—no one’s got it all.

    That’s one thing I don’t love about the message people sometimes get about me: that I have everything. People think I have the perfect husband and perfect life, and it’s just not the case. No one does! It gets tricky to compare yourself to other people. Remember how I said I spent last Saturday working? Here’s what I did: I woke up at 4 o’clock in the morning, got into a car, went to the airport, and flew to Atlanta. When I got there, I was driven another two and a half hours to get to a place where I signed hundreds of books, met hundreds of people, and did a speaking engagement. Then I went to a bunch of restaurants that are offering Skinnygirl margaritas on their menus. Once I was done with all that, I got back in a car for a three-hour drive back to the Atlanta airport, where I almost missed my flight. I got home at 11 PM, then woke up in the morning with Bryn, as if nothing ever happened. And my husband didn’t even know what happened. He was asleep when I left and asleep when I get home. I have days like those all the time, and they’re kind of crazy. So that’s not having it all. It’s exhausting.

  • Lee Clower

    Rule 10: Accept that something’s got to give.

    I have very few good friends, very few people that I can really trust, and I don’t really have a big social life at all. I’ve really had to cut a lot of things out.

  • Lee Clower

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