“My kids say it constantly,” the Kate Plus 8 star, 39, tells PEOPLE. “Leah says, ‘We need someone besides you to look up to.’ They long for it.”
Though the Celebrity Apprentice contestant adds that she’d “love to believe in love again,” Gosselin isn’t dating anyone right now – despite rumors that she’s linked to millionaire Jeff Prescott.
“I’m like, ‘Really?’ ” Gosselin says. “I get it. Everyone wants me to be dating. I hear it loud and clear. It just doesn’t happen that easily, but I want it just as much as everyone else does.”
“The past year has been where it went from a ‘Wouldn’t that be nice?’ to a ‘Holy crap! I feel behind the 8 ball,’ ” Gosselin says.
Still, she doesn’t expect someone to come in and act as a second parent to her children. Instead, she’s looking for an “authority figure person they have to respect and obey.”
“Just that person who can put their foot down,” she says. “Because I’m not so scary.”
What else is Gosselin looking for in a potential spouse?
“Somebody who is highly motivated and loves a huge challenge and has tons of energy,” she says. “This person would have to be not just willing, but excited at the prospect of eight kids and all the craziness.
“At this point I wonder, is there someone who can pop in and take up our crazy situation and enjoy it and would be good for us?’ ”
Only time will tell!
• Reporting by MARY GREEN