The Real Housewives of Orange County's Tamra Judge is mom to daughters Sophia, 14, and Sidney, 20, plus sons Spencer, 19, and Ryan, 33

By Jen Juneau
September 17, 2019 12:35 PM

Tamra Judge has been a mom for 33 years, but her most “embarrassing” parenting moment came long before her three younger children were born.

The Real Housewives of Orange County star, 52, sat down for a chat with PEOPLE’s Celeb Parents Get Real about her four kids — daughters Sophia, 14, and Sidney, 20, plus sons Spencer, 19, and Ryan, 33 — and how her oldest still remembers one moment from when he was a toddler.

“This is really bad … I was a teen mom and Ryan was probably 3 years old, and he was screaming in the car. He would not be quiet. He was in his car seat,” Judge recalls. “And I stopped the car and I said, ‘If you don’t be quiet, I’m gonna take your car seat out and put it on the curb and I’m gonna drive away.’ ”

“And to this day, he still reminds me,” she continues. “He might’ve been a little older, ’cause he sure remembers! He’s like, ‘Mom, that was horrible, I can’t believe you said that!’ I go, ‘That is horrible.’ ”

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Tamra Judge with her kids (from L to R) Spencer, Sophia and Ryan
Tamra Judge/ Instagram
Tamra Judge

Three decades later, Judge has learned that her best quality as a mom is that she feels like her children are able to communicate with her effectively and feel comfortable doing so.

“They’re not afraid to talk to me, they’re very open with me,” says the Bravo personality. “Talking about everything. And it’s good to know what’s going on in their [lives].”

“If it’s my 19-year-old son, we talk about girl problems. If it’s Sophia, she’s 14, now she wants to talk about makeup and nails and what happened at school,” Judge says. “They’re very open with me — maybe a little too open.”

Tamra Judge
Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU/Getty

“I was the total opposite with my parents. We didn’t talk about anything,” she continues. “So I made sure with my children that they felt comfortable. I’m not gonna judge them. They’re not gonna get in trouble for telling me something that happened.”

Judge will never forget when Ryan, Sidney and Spencer graduated from high school — events the reality star remembers as her proudest parenting moments.

“It was just one of those moments where you keep crying and you’re like, ‘Okay, bye!’ ” she says.