Jennifer Aydin is the first to admit she uses bribes to help her corral her five kids — but that doesn’t mean she always follows through.
Mom to daughters Olivia, 6, Gabriella, 11, plus sons Christian, 8 this month, Jacob, 10 this month, and Justin 14, the Real Housewives of New Jersey star dished to PEOPLE’s Celeb Parents Get Real recently that what actually happens when the cameras are off is sometimes much different than what viewers see.
“Offering to buy them something on Amazon, on camera, for bribing them,” Aydin, 41, says of a particularly embarrassing parenting moment. “People don’t understand — sometimes I gotta get them to cooperate!”
Want all the latest pregnancy and birth announcements, plus celebrity mom blogs? Click here to get those and more in the PEOPLE Parents newsletter.
“And yes, I bribe them with things, but I don’t always follow through with my bribes,” she adds.
Aydin explains that she leans on the fact that her kids don’t always remember what their mom promised them, which naturally helps keep the spending damage under control.
“The one thing that’s really good about children who are [around] 9 or under — a lot of the times, they forget what they asked for,” she says. “So my biggest embarrassing moment is just bribing them in front of an audience.”
RELATED VIDEO: New RHONJ Star Jennifer Aydin Previews Drama with Margaret Josephs Over “Differences”
Despite the snafus here and there, Aydin’s life as a mother is her first priority — and she strives to make all five of her children feel special as individuals.
“For them to feel nurtured at home, my presence is a big factor in that,” she tells PEOPLE. “Sometimes I feel like I’m spread so thin by trying to make every child happy because every child has a different project or something else that’s going on in their life.”
It’s a balancing act, she says — and help is almost always available. “When I give more attention to one rather than another, there’s fighting and friction,” Aydin explains of her brood. “But I have a babysitter who helps me out a lot, my mother’s around a lot, my sister, so it’s just delegating [among] a team.”