Lanford Beard
April 03, 2017 10:00 PM

Kathryn Dennis is anxiously awaiting the day she can spend time with her kids whenever she wants — and without people around her questioning her ability to be a good mom.

Monday’s episode of Southern Charm showed Dennis returning from rehab but as embroiled as ever in a years-long custody battle with ex Thomas Ravenel, the man she met on the show and welcomed two children with: daughter Kensie, 3, and son Saint, almost 18 months.

Though Dennis is fully committed to proving her sobriety and her commitment to her children, she knows it’s not going to be an easy path. In one particularly gut-wrenching scene from the season tease, Ravenel takes their children away as Dennis sobs.

Brianna Stello/Bravo

Dennis legally cannot speak about the ongoing custody arrangement with her ex, but she does tell PEOPLE that getting to spend limited time with her kids has been “the most difficult challenge I can imagine anyone could ever go through in life. Those are my two angels.”

She confesses, “There are so many days when I just see a toy or something randomly misplaced and break down in tears.”

Leaning back on the work she did in treatment to improve herself and strengthen her sobriety, she notes, “I’ve learned that I have cope right now because there is an end to all of this custody [conflict]. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. And I have to remain true to myself and remain resilient in my recovery. There’s going to be a day when things get back to normal, and that day’s getting closer and closer.”

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Dennis says she’s been focusing on being more present by practicing yoga and is even considering getting certified to teach Mommy & Me yoga.

And while she still might “bawl for 10 minutes” when she has to say goodbye to her children, she’s taking steps to make sure she can support herself, and them, in the future.

“I’m trying to figure out what exactly I want to do with my life as a person and as someone who’s going to be a provider never dependent on anyone or on any man,” she says. “I’m saving my money. I’m living back at home, which is great for me. I have privacy and time to really think about these things. I want normalcy. I want to lead a more simple life. My relationship with Thomas was complicated and my reality with him was so chaotic. I just want to get back to the things that I loved prior to that and put on the backburner for some years.”

Rebecca Miller/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty

She’s learning to stay in the moment — especially when she has visits with Kensie and Saint: “It’s difficult because I get such little time with them, so it’s just about enjoying that time and enjoying family.”

Southern Charm airs Mondays (9 p.m. ET) on Bravo.

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