Nicole Richie Opens Up About Motherhood and Back-to-School Season (Hint: She's a Total PTA Mom!)

Nicole Richie

Nicole Richie wears many hats — she’s a designer, television personality and Hollywood socialite. But all her jobs pale in comparison to her role as a mom.

In fact, the House of Harlow founder is skipping New York Fashion Week to be with her 10-year-old son Sparrow James Midnight and 11-year-old daughter Harlow Winter Kate (whom she shares with husband Joel Madden) during back-to-school season.

“I’m flying out right after this. I’ve got first-week-of-school [stuff] to attend to,” Nicole, 37, told PEOPLE at the launch of her #NicoleXCapsuleChix collection with Moose Toys in New York City’s Soho neighborhood last week. “I volunteer there. I’m all in.”

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Joel Madden (L) and Nicole Richie with their kids in 2010
Nicole Richie (L) and Joel Madden

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After a relaxing summer break, the star says she and her family are “excited to get back into the swing of things” but admits that this time of year is “not calm at all.”

“I’m flying home [to Los Angeles] to put my mommy shoes on,” Nicole jokes.

And what is her best time-saving hack during back-to-school madness? “I’m all about meal prepping,” she tells PEOPLE. “To me, meal prepping changes your life.”

Joel Madden (L) and Nicole Richie with their kids in 2012

The Candidly Nicole star adds that her big family — including Joel’s brother and Good Charlotte bandmate Benji Madden and his wife Cameron Diaz — chip in when it comes to caring for the kids: “It takes a village.”

Nicole grew up in the public eye as the famous daughter of Lionel Richie, but she keeps her own kids out of the spotlight — and she doesn’t share photos of either child on social media.

Why? Says Nicole, “They’re busy being kids.”

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