Melissa Rycroft refuses to be a statistic.
The TV personality, 29, says her latest series, Melissa and Tye: A New Reality, won’t tear apart her marriage, even though she has to balance a long-distance relationship with hubby Tye Strickland in order to film the show with their daughter Ava in L.A., while he’s holding down their home base in Texas.
“He’s been great throughout the whole process,” Rycroft tells PEOPLE. “He’s the one who has been the motivating factor. He was like, ‘You need to give this a shot. It’s your turn to be selfish.’ And so he was really supportive throughout the whole thing.”
By now, Rycroft says being a “single mom” most days of the week – as she refers to herself in the show’s premiere – is no longer a struggle.
“You just get used to it,” she says. “We’re gotten used to this adjustment, and it’s obviously not hard once you get over that initial transition period.”
Part of what’s helped the married couple of 2½ years is knowing what to reveal to cameras and what to keep private.
“We have a lot of stuff that we decide, ‘Okay, let’s not talk about this publicly,’ ” she explains of the show, which airs Fridays (9:30 p.m. ET) on CMT. “They’re not issues, they’re not problems. They’re just things we don’t want to throw out there and open up for public scrutiny and public debate.”
Now that Rycroft’s life in L.A. – which she sometimes calls “lonely” – is a bit more settled, she’s finally getting time to just sit back and enjoy motherhood.
“It’s just awesome,” she says of being a mom to Ava, who just celebrated her first birthday. “It really just gets more fun every day. The older Ava gets, the more she’s talking. You can see this personality. It’s just so amazing the things she’s picking up on. You get this sense of satisfaction like, ‘We’re doing this right. We’re doing this parenting thing all right.’ ”
But that doesn’t mean the happy couple wants more kids any time soon.
“I am so in love with her and I want to be so selfish with her and spend all my time with her that right now,” Rycroft says. “I’m not ready to share my time with her, and I don’t want her to have to share her time with me. We’ll get there eventually but we’re not there yet.”