I’ve been catching up with the Real Housewives of New York City Season 1 and Season 2. (This was a while ago, I think we’re up to season 4 now?) Anyway… It struck me time and again how close Alex McCord and Simon van Kempen are, it’s clear they are truly in love and devoted to each other.
Alex was gracious enough to talk to me about her life recently (actually this quite some time ago – sorry)! The first thing I must mention is that she is really down to earth… that doesn’t really come across on the show. Originally from Kansas, Alex now lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two kids, Francois and Johan.
Alex doesn’t pretend to have the perfect life, but she does seem to have it all figured out! If you’ve wondered how she keeps her slim figure she attributes good genes and practices. Crediting adulthood as enough impetus to watch what she eats hasn’t hurt much. Motherhood has given her more cause to avoid processed foods and keep things as natural as possible. She viewed her pregnancy as an athletic event, keeping active and in shape. Alex has even made her own ketchup and yogurt to ensure the best possible ingredients! I am impressed AND convinced – I’ve got a lot of work to do!
Beauty tip from Alex…
Alex has also learned that great skin can be less work. Cleansing is really only necessary once a day in her case so she cleanses and moisturizes at night. In the morning she splashes some water and moisturizing if necessary for the day. Drinking lots of water and getting plenty of rest are also important and so I had to ask if it was truly possible to get a full night’s sleep with two young children. The enthusiastic response was YES! The key is not to react to every little sound in the night and let them fall back asleep on their own. She’s been blessed with two great sleepers.
On the topic of urban parenting, the topic of her upcoming book, Alex has a lot to say. Living in a walking community is far different from the minivan lifestyle and affords many advantages. Most obviously – built in exercise! Another aspect is interacting with the neighborhood, people from all walks of life and beliefs. Alex was firm that no matter where people come from they all want what’s best for their children. Children can learn best from being in environments where there is diversity of culture and thought. <applause> As a lover of all things cultural, the family makes trips to the first class resources the city offers, opera, aquariums and museums.
With all of that the importance of family rituals is key to keeping balance and the family takes dinner together every night, playing games and talking with the kids. Keeping the “quality time” high-quality and interactive is the key to their parenting strategy. As for the over-the-top influences of other over indulging city parents? Alex says it’s not an issue, they keep a firm grip on the reality of what a dollar will buy you, Francois recently raided his piggy bank to buy a coveted DVD.
What about those less than perfect kid moments on the show? well no one is perfect and let’s face facts, would we be entertained by 100% perfect kids? nope, the most dramatic bits make the cut. How would your family and life look on the little screen?
The upcoming parenting book It’s out!! by the McCord – van Kempen family will provides stories on raising two young children in the city in a story format. Little Kids, Big City (Amazon.com link)…
and/or check out their family blog: http://www.mccordvankempen.com/