Tarek El Moussa is reflecting on the ups and downs from this past year.
As 2017 comes to an end, the Flip or Flop star told ET that he's learned so much about himself since his separation with Christina, and is putting his two children, 7-year-old daughter Taylor and 2-year-old son Brayden, first.
"In general, through the process of my separation and divorce, it’s been a year and a half," Tarek shared. "I came out of this thing stronger, more present and healthier than I've ever been because I did everything possible to reevaluate who I am and who I want to be. And the conclusion of that is that I want to be the absolute best father possible."
"I want to be a great role model for my kids.I can say today that I am a way better father, I'm way more present," he continued. "I just got back from work and I'm playing the role of mom and dad. So I'm actually seeing a different side of raising children because I'm doing a lot of things that mom would really do and I just love it."
News first broke of Tarek and Christina's separation last December, but the reality star previously told ET that they were actually separated long before fans found out. But through everything that the two have been through, being with his family is "very important" for Tarek.
"I'm just a much better man standing here today," he expressed, looking back at the past year, as well as his battle with thyroid and testicular cancer.
While the father of two is focusing on his children, he also told ET how excited he is to try new things with them.
"I’m doing things that I never used to do, but I did when I was younger, and then I worked and built companies and never slowed down," Tarek explained. "Now, I've taken a step back and showing my kids what life is supposed to be like. Even myself, what it’s supposed to be like, meaning we do different things now."
"I took them dirt biking a few weeks back. I'm taking them snowboarding coming up. I took my kids tubing and weight surfing and we're just doing all these fun active activities that we never used to do, which is really exciting," he added.
Tarek also wants to instill in his children the value of hard work and being well-rounded individuals.
"The biggest thing I want to teach my kids is, obviously they live a different lifestyle than most. They’re on TV and they have opportunities to get nice things. Myself, I grew up in Buena Park and my life was different. So they're seeing a different life than I grew up with," he said. "I'm going to make sure that they know what hard work is. That they understand that they’re not entitled, that they’re going be in sports, they’re going to learn teamwork, they’re going to learn competition. I really want to raise them to be well-rounded, stable people."
For now, he's trying to figure out what his holiday plans are with Christina and his family.
"We might do Christmas together. It’s up in the air. It’s just an unknown right now," he said. "If Mom and Dad don't get along it affects the kids, so Mom and Dad better get along."
"I talk to people my age that grew up with parents that are divorced and they’re still traumatized," he explained. "Like, [they will say], 'Oh, it’s awful, they fought for five years, and this [and that],’ I don't want to do that to my kids."
And as far as his love life goes, Tarek revealed that he's "out there in the dating world."
"But one thing I haven't done in the last year and a half [since my separation] is bring anyone around my children," he explained. "So I'm just keeping that life separate. It’s pretty much just me and my babies."
This week, Tarek and Christina announced that they had wrapped on season seven of their HGTV show, which will come out next year. So how has it been working with his ex?
"Work’s fine, we’ve been working together for years, and years, and years," Tarek said. "It’s a job. We go to work, we film our show, we get along fine. We work, we’re friends with all the crew. Everything’s good."
In the new year, Tarek hopes "to continue my journey in life and continue to grow."
"Continue to be a better person, and a better father, and be the absolute best man I can possibly be for everyone around me, including myself," he shared.
For more on Tarek, watch below.
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