Joe began his 41-month prison sentence in March

By Emily Strohm and Natalie Stone
September 29, 2016 03:20 PM
Credit: Dave Kotinsky/Getty

Teresa Giudice is feeling her husband Joe‘s “absence” while he serves his 41-month prison sentence.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey star opened up to PEOPLE exclusively about how she and her four daughters – Gia, Gabriella, Milania and Audriana – are coping while the family patriarch is away.

“They’re doing good,” Giudice says of her daughters, “I’m sure it wasn’t easy, but a little easier because they went through it with me so they know what to expect. But they miss him tremendously, they always say we miss dad. They miss him. You can feel his absence, our family’s definitely incomplete without him.”

Of the four girls, Giudice says her eldest Gia is handling it the best while third daughter Milania “is having the toughest time.” But according to the mother of four, “they all miss him so much.” Audriana, who celebrated her 7th birthday at the American Girl store on Sept. 14, wished “for daddy to come home,” Giudice tells PEOPLE.

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In October 2014, Giudice and Joe, both 44, were sentenced to a combined 56 months in prison for mail, wire and bankruptcy fraud. While she served her near yearlong prison sentence in 2015, Joe stayed at home with the couple’s daughters. Now, the parents have flipped roles as Joe completes his time at at Federal Correction Institute, Fort Dix in New Jersey for fraud charges and the Bravo personality cares for the family.

“What keeps me busy is my girls. I swear, that’s what makes the days go by. If I didn’t have them, I’d probably go crazy. Then I would really think about him 24/7 and it wouldn’t be easy. That’s what he said, too: ‘That’s what got me through the day was the girls. They kept me busy.’ And that’s how I am, I’m going through the motions of each day. I just can’t wait for each day to pass by for him to come home,” Giudice tells PEOPLE.

Although the reality star is counting down the days to her husband’s homecoming, she admits that “the only purpose in my life right now is my daughters.”

“I don’t really have a good time because he’s not here. It’s not like when I go out I have a blast, because I really don’t cause he’s not with me. They only time I do have fun is when I’m with my kids. Like fashion week was fun cause it was all about them,” she says, adding, “I feel like it’s weird, I’m kind of old-fashioned like that because he’s not here. I’m incomplete. He’s the missing piece of the puzzle. Like without him I feel lost.”

The Real Housewives of New Jersey airs Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.