Whitney Port opens up to PEOPLE about her life as a mom of one and her participation in the upcoming reboot of MTV's The Hills
Credit: Whitney Port/Instagram

Whitney Port is readying up to give The Hills fans an honest look at her life — and that includes parenthood.

As a mother of one little boy named Sonny Sanford, 13 months, the returning reality star opened up to PEOPLE about her plans to bring her son onto the MTV series’ reboot The Hills: New Beginnings, which will reunite original cast members, alongside their children, friends and returning favorites.

“Being a mom is a huge part of my identity now, so it would feel weird if he was never on it and I just talked about him,” says Port, 33. “So I feel like Sonny will be on it a bit here and there.”

As for Sonny’s dad Tim Rosenman? He’s “TBD,” says the star. “He doesn’t really want to do it; he’s in TV, he works behind the camera, so it’s not really natural for him to be on it,” Port explains. “But also, he is my husband and the show is based on our real lives, so it would be weird if it were just me and nobody else. I think he’ll pop up here and there.”

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Being a mom means that Port chooses projects that are “a little bit more meaningful” and “thoughtful,” with a “strong message behind them and are good for you at the end of the day.”

To that end, she is currently working on the Mrs. Meyer’s Compassion Flower Project, “an initiative to teach kids how empathy can be nurtured and grown both inside and outside of school,” according to the company.

For every bottle of Compassion Flower-scented hand soap sold, Mrs. Meyer’s is giving a Growing Compassion Gardening Kit to a classroom, benefiting up to 30,000 students in the United States.

At 13 months, Port’s son is hitting some impressive milestones.

“He’s standing up and couch surfing, crawling so fast all over the place,” she says of Sonny. “He’s definitely starting to think he’s having conversations with us by babbling, but he’s actually not really saying any words. He doesn’t want to be fed at all anymore — he wants to do everything on his own.”

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Although he’s saying “Mama,” Sonny hasn’t quite got “Dada” down yet. “Honestly, even when my husband walks out of the room, he calls him Mama too, so I’m like whatever, it’s not that special,” explains the star. “I think Mama to him is whoever is taking care of him.”

As someone who has been candid about the ups and downs of new motherhood, Port admits to feeling a bit guilty for making parenthood “out to be the scariest, most brutal thing of all time.”

“But then you get through it,” she notes. “I just said to Timmy the other day, ‘I think we need to turn a new leaf on the series and yes, still discuss the hard things that are happening because they will happen, but we need to start talking about the positive, great things that are starting to happen as well.’ ”

“Because as he turned 1, there was a huge shift in how I viewed motherhood and just my overall happiness as a mom and I think that’s important to share,” continues the designer. “Yes, the first year was really hard and I want to be realistic with everybody about that, but it doesn’t last. It’s not going to be like that forever and I think that’s an important message to send.”