DeAnna Pappas Stagliano‘s daughter Addison Marie may be her father Stephen Stagliano‘s mini-me, but the reality star wouldn’t have it any other way.
“She is literally her daddy’s girl. Stephen is very animated and has very animated facial expressions, and she’s just like him,” Pappas Stagliano tells PEOPLE. “She really is an example of just pure happiness and joy.”
The former Bachelorette admits that although her 15-month-old daughter loves her mama, “she really loves Daddy.”
“[Stephen] is with her all the time,” Pappas Stagliano shares. “They have Daddy-and-Addy time. They play together. She lights up when he is in the room.”
Pappas Stagliano attributes Stagliano being a “wonderful father” to helping her balance work and motherhood duties.
“Stephen is really supportive … and I think me being able to work as well as being a stay-at-home mom has really done wonders for their relationship,” she explains. “It has helped him to feel secure in being a dad and being able to depend on his decisions when it’s just him and Addison.”
And although the very hands-on parents spend almost every moment with their baby girl, the couple still makes sure they try and squeeze in weekly date nights — something that is “harder said than done,” she admits.
“I think it’s really important — not only to be good parents and to be present in your child’s life — but I think it’s also very important to cultivate your marriage and to work on your marriage,” Pappas Stagliano, 33, says.
“We do try to go on date nights. We do try to take Mommy-and-Daddy getaways. We do try to spend the time together to make sure we’re showing each other how much we love each other because I think that needs to be a good example in Addison’s life.”
The busy mom also tries to fit in “me” time by going to the gym every day.
“I do not love to workout. It is not something that is engrained in me. [But] I do go for an hour almost every day. I take Addison and they have a little nursery there … and honestly sometimes that’s what gets me there because I can get an hour to myself and just kind of check out,” says Pappas Stagliano, adding that she gets some time “to run errands or go to lunch with girlfriends” as well when her father-in-law comes over for weekly visits.
But, even with a hectic schedule, Pappas Stagliano definitely prefers life after Addison.
“It’s hard to remember what life was like before her because she has changed me so much and for the better,” Pappas Stagliano, who tried for almost a year to get pregnant, says. “I am so thankful to be her mom.”
And although “Addison is a very happy and normal baby,” Pappas Stagliano admits she’s “also fussy and into throwing tantrums,” too.
“I try to take a step back and really appreciate the moments where she is wonderful and I see her doing new things. I see her trying to say words,” she explains.
“I really do try to have patience not only with her, but with myself because it is hard. We do the hardest job, but it is the most rewarding job, being a mom.”
And the proud mama says the couple can’t wait to add to their family.
“We definitely want more children and we are definitely trying to conceive again now. I am very much looking forward to seeing the word pregnant on my Clearblue pregnancy test again for sure and hopefully very soon!” Pappas Stagliano, who’s a spokesperson for Clearblue, shares.
— Mariah Haas