"I wish that I would've kept [the show] totally separate [from Ricki]," Emily Maynard Johnson tells PEOPLE of her daughter, who's now 12
Emily Maynard Johnson has her hands full as a mom of four, but there was a time in her life when she was just getting adjusted to new parenthood — and admittedly, she would do things a little differently if she could.
“I wish that I would’ve kept [the show] totally separate [from Ricki],” says Maynard Johnson. “At the time, I thought, ‘This is it,’ and I never would’ve brought her into it had I not thought that.”
“So I wish that I maybe would’ve taken a step back,” adds the 31-year-old star. “Maybe sheltered her from that a little bit more.”
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Since welcoming Ricki at the age of 19, Maynard Johnson has given birth to three sons with husband Tyler Johnson: newborn Gatlin Avery, 6 weeks, Gibson Kyle, 15 months, and Jennings Tyler, 2. But the former reality star admits it’s her daughter who still makes her the most emotional.
“Ricki is the one that makes me laugh the most [and] she’s probably the one that makes me cry the most,” says Maynard Johnson. “Because I had her when I was 19 and we’ve really grown up together.”
She adds, “So to see her becoming a grown-up … I cried like a baby at her lower-school graduation. People thought somebody had died. I was sobbing, ugly crying — it was horrible.”
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Although Ricki is the likeliest to elicit tears and giggles from her mama, it’s the star’s oldest son whom she feels she is very much like, personality wise.
“Jennings, my 2-year-old, he wants all of his race cars to be clean … I have to get him a water bottle,” Maynard Johnson explains. “He wants them clean, dried off, in a line, in the cabinet, no one can touch it.”
“And that is, sad to say, totally me,” she admits.