Editor’s note: Every Friday, HLN brings you the "My First Time" series, which explores the first time your favorite celebrities did something significant or memorable (so get your mind out of the gutter!).
In this installment, reality TV star Kendra Wilkinson -- whose show “Kendra on Top” premiers Friday, September 13, at 10 p.m. on WeTV -- shares her secrets for juggling marriage, motherhood, work and friendships, and explains how she got to a place where she finally feels she has it all.
HLN: Do you feel you have it all? If so, when was the first time you felt like you have it all?
Kendra Wilkinson: We’re three years into having a child and we’re almost five years into our marriage, and just now we’re finally starting to feel like we have it all. Before, we felt unbalanced. It’s not easy; you have to really fight to find that balance. You can have it all and I definitely feel like I do. I have a 100% amazing relationship with my husband and my son. In order for my husband and son to be 100%, I have to sacrifice things in my social life, for example, but overall, it’s pretty balanced out.
HLN: What does 'having it all' mean to you?
Wilkinson: In order to have it all, you have to not give up any part of who you are -- you have to embrace everything that made you who you are today. You can’t take away any part of it or be scared to show it. Even if you’re a mom, you still need to remain who you were in college. It doesn’t mean doing keg stands every night -- it means sipping on a beer with friends every now and then, when your child’s asleep. You have to remain the same person you were before, but add the new life to it and be more responsible. You want to look forward to something new, like an adventure or something to work on, even when it comes to your child.
HLN: What are some new things you’re looking forward to?
Wilkinson: There’s so much! [Little Hank] is 3 years old, and the sky’s the limit with him. We live in an amazing community in Calabasas; one of the schools we may be sending him to has a rocket science program. So now I want him to be a rocket scientist! People might think I want him to be a football player, but imagine if he was a rocket scientist. There are so many things we can look forward to with him.
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HLN: Are you planning on having more kids?
Wilkinson: We are. We’re at that point in our lives where everywhere we look, we’re 100%. Now we know it’s time to have another child. Last year, we were 50%, a couple of months ago we were 60%, and now we’re 100%. We’re really happy and that’s the time to have a child -- when you’re happy.
HLN: How do you feel about today’s women having to be superwomen: Moms, wives, friends, career women, teachers, nannies, cleaners, cooks, etc. all at the same time?
Wilkinson: I think you have to have it all. Sometimes it’s tiring; some days, you’ll say, “I don’t care,” but the next day, you’ll want to care. You have to fight to be the best parent, but also daughter, friend, wife, worker. If you let one of these things go, that’s letting something go in your life.
HLN: Have you ever struggled with juggling all these roles?
Wilkinson: It can be hard. I’ve lost many friends because right after having Little Hank, I had to sacrifice a part of my life in order to raise him. But now I’m back and fighting to save all my friendships. I have the strength and the energy. You also have to plan things out. It sounds really boring, but if I know that Thursday will be the night I go out, then for Friday, I’ll ask Hank, “Will you wake up with Little Hank?” Plan things out as much as you can and get on a good routine.
HLN: How do you and your husband balance your careers?
Wilkinson: We have a lot more time with each other than people might think. We have very unique jobs -- they’re spurt jobs. My career is very different at different times; it’s not a 9-to-5. Sometimes, it’s 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. and traveling’s involved for weeks at a time, but we have the following week off. Then the next two weeks are crazy again. So we just communicate as much as we can. We have the same email and we know what each other is doing for months out. We study our schedules, or else you won’t find time for yourself.
HLN: One of the buzziest topics about the upcoming season of your show is the potential open marriage between you and Hank… do you think it could ever work for you as a couple?
Wilkinson: No. We trust each other to go out and have a good time and joke around about someone being cute, but nothing beyond that. We’re very traditional people. We live in a traditional marriage but with a fun twist. We have lifelong expectations, and we know what makes us happy -- each other and our son. And we push every day to make ourselves happy. We’re not ashamed to put Little Hank to sleep and go to the club. It might kick us in the butt tomorrow, but we’re celebrating a friend’s birthday with performers and champagne. Hank is a little more serious and conservative; he comes from a very traditional background. He loves me for who I am, and I bring a little spark to his life. He questions me every day, “Who is this woman I married?” Open marriage is something we’d never do, but we joke about it on the show.
HLN: What should fans expect from this season? And what’s next for you?
Wilkinson: Oh man, this season just has been mind-blowing. We’ve done so much, given so much and opened our souls so much. I didn’t want certain things out of the closet and they’re now out. It gives me butterflies and chills because it will be in front of the whole nation. Behind closed doors, you never know who people really are. Well, our behind-closed-doors is now on TV! I might be the headline of the show, but I make mistakes, and you’ll see that. But I love doing [reality TV] shows. I understand the process and I’m the executive producer myself. I love to produce, so if I become a producer/director, people better watch out: I’m coming for my Emmy!