Season ten of Flipping Out is upon us, people! And it’s going to be a whole new world for first time fathers Gage Edward and Jeff Lewis, whose daughter, Monroe, was born via surrogate last October. Jeff recently discussed how life – and his OCD – has (and has not) changed since Monroe came into their lives and how he finally had to let his long time housekeeper and mother figure, Zoila Chavez, retire.
With enormous life changes this year, Jeff says the viewers are in for a different kind of season. He does, however, admit that his crusty old ways aren’t entirely gone. (For example, preview clips show Vanina Alfaro being brought to tears by yet another one of Jeff’s tirades.) But daily life has changed for Jeff. Besides the laundry, diapers, and toys, he’s still getting used to something else – someone else – needing his attention besides work.
True to form, Jeff is also still trying to maintain a pristine home – not an easy feat, as anyone with children knows! Jeff told the Huffington Post in an interview, “I can’t have this turn into a day care center. I can’t do it. I can’t live that way! (Laughs) I think I am a little traumatized by my brother because his kids completely take over his house, so I’m trying so hard not to have my house be my brother’s house that I’m working double-time!”
Besides keeping his home show-ready, Jeff is also still trying to manage a business. But his people skills, or lack thereof, are always a work is progress. He admits that his behavior in the office can be abrasive, but sometimes, it’s also a necessary evil. And he also hopes his daughter learns to stand up for herself by following his lead. “I don’t like to lose my temper because then you are giving up some of your power to the person you’re arguing with. I also don’t want to lose my shit in front of my kid – that’s not the example I want to set, but I do want her to stand up for herself when someone is pushing her around.”
In terms of how fatherhood has affected the show’s content, Jeff says he just doesn’t have the same time to prank people and joke around in the office that he used to. He explains how his priorities have shifted: “It’s because I need to get my work done so I can spend time with my baby before she goes to bed. It really has changed everything. I’ve also had to become more selective about which clients I take on and I’m working on more of my own projects. Having Monroe as my priority and making sure I spend time with my daughter has also dramatically impacted hiring decisions.”
The recent departure of Zoila, who helped take care of Monroe for her first six months, has also impacted how the household runs. Jeff shares, “If it were up to me, Zoila would have been here forever and I would have kept altering her role. I came to realize I was holding her hostage and had to make the decision…really…that I needed to let her go…It was hard. I was afraid of what life would look like without her. I know she’s happy so that’s what I choose to focus on, but I really miss her! ”
Something tells me that Zoila, who has been spending time in Nicaragua with her family, will always be part of Jeff’s life. Similarly, Jenni Pulos is in for the long haul – and was even named as godmother to baby Monroe! Jeff says he’s relied heavily on Jenni for parenting advice over the past year, joking, “She’s my baby mentor.”
No stranger to the world of Bravolebrities, Jeff dishes that he recently started talking to Bethenny Frankel about design and house flipping – especially with her new real estate show poised to hit Bravo soon. Would he ever collaborate with Bethenny on a flip, though? Jeff says probably not, as traveling to New York for projects is just too taxing these days.
For now, Jeff is focused on keeping his business local, and his family strong. He gushes about his partner, Gage, calling him “one of the most amazing hands-on dads I’ve ever witnessed. He’s so nurturing and the primary caregiver. I take his lead and he tells me ‘get this,’ ‘get that,’ ‘do this.’ He’s so confident and comfortable that I just let him make most decisions. For major decisions, we consult each other, but really he’s a natural. I fumble and question things. I think he’s a lot better with moods.” Yes, for sure! But underneath all of that gruff and grumble, I think Jeff is a big ole’ softie too. And I can’t wait to see him embrace his new role.
Season 10 of Flipping Out premieres tonight at 10 Eastern/9 Central on Bravo. Check out a preview clip here. And join us here in the comments section to weigh in on all of the action!
TELL US: DO YOU THINK FATHERHOOD HAS CHANGED JEFF? ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO SEASON 10?
Photo Credit: Charles Sykes/Bravo