Melissa Rycroft: Why We Made the Move to California

After much deliberation, “have baby, will travel” no longer applies to Melissa Rycroft, who recently relocated to California along with husband Tye Strickland and the couple’s daughter Ava Grace.

“We have taken the leap after years and years of saying we never would,” the former Dancing With the Stars contestant, 28, told PEOPLE during the Kardashian Kollection launch party Wednesday in Hollywood, Calif.

“Adding a baby to the equation makes my job much harder. It involves travel and it was impossible to travel without her, but at the same time it was impossible to travel with her,” Rycroft explains.

Although completely smitten with her 6-month-old baby girl, raising a child is “definitely hard,” says Rycroft.

“There are times when I want to sit outside on my patio and scream going, ‘Oh my gosh!’” she admits. “But all it takes is one little smile from her and I go, ‘Well, there you go. It was totally worth that little temper tantrum.’”

Officially “entering the really fun stage,” the proud mama is thrilled Ava has reached her latest milestone: moving around!

“She’s discovering she’s mobile. Just things that are clicking in her mind,” Rycroft shares. “Every day she sees something new that makes sense to her and, as a mom, you kind of pat yourself on the back and go, ‘I must be doing something right.’”

And when Rycroft is in need of a much-needed break from baby, no one is happier to step up to the plate than Strickland.

“I totally got lucky in the husband department. I’ve heard the rumors … when the baby comes it [ends up] being 90 percent the woman’s responsibility,” she explains, saying it’s not so for her. ”Tye’s there in the middle of the night to get up with Ava and is there when I just need a five-minute break. There is definitely that bond.”

– Anya Leon with reporting by Michelle Ward

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