Melissa Rycroft’s Daughter In “DWTS Baby Group”

Dancing With the Stars: All Star competitor Melissa Rycroft opens up to PARADE about going for her second chance at the mirror ball trophy, balancing her role as mom to 1-year-old daughter Ava, and backstage playdates with the “Dancing with the Stars baby group.”

On balancing motherhood with a busy DWTS schedule: “It’s more difficult than we thought. Things work out on paper, and then it’s just harder in real life. The reason it’s hard is because this is the first big thing that I’ve done since I’ve had Ava, and I’m working through the feelings of feeling selfish for going back to work. Even though I’m only gone for five hours a day and she’s at the studio in the green room and she’s with me all the time, it’s still new.”

On her daughter’s experience with the show: “She is getting quite the collection of sparkly bracelets from my outfits. There are so many other kids backstage that are around her age. Joey [Fatone]’s little one Kloey was there, and Helio’s daughter as well, so on show days, the kids can kind of hang out in the green room, watch the show live, and just kind of hang out in this Dancing with the Stars baby group.”

On getting back into shape: “This season has tightened me up. I don’t want to lose weight throughout this process, but I love that it tones your muscles up. I’ve got triceps again and biceps, and those killer abs that come from this workout that I’m going to miss.”

For more from Melissa, go to PARADE

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