Colleen Ballinger knows becoming a mom for the first time isn’t easy — but having a good partner and a whole lot of laughter certainly helps with the transition!
The YouTube star, best known for her persona as Miranda Sings, welcomed her son Flynn Timothy with husband Erik Stocklin last December, and it’s safe to say her life has been drastically more hectic since.
Between creating content on YouTube, starring in The Angry Birds Movie 2, making her upcoming Broadway debut in the hit musical Waitress, and most recently, partnering with Always Infinity with FlexFoam, Ballinger, 32, barely has any time for herself.
Still, the mom of one has figured out a way to balance motherhood with work successfully — even on little to no hours of sleep!
“I think having a good partner is the secret to being able to balance work and parenthood,” Ballinger exclusively tells PEOPLE. “It’s been hard but I think that was to be expected … [My husband] has probably been my biggest tool to survival.”
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“I’m really lucky to have him be so supportive of what I do and because of that, he’s been able to be overtime dad a lot of times and help out with the baby,” she shares of her actor husband, 36.
“But it goes both ways,” Ballinger continues. “So when he has things for works, I’m his biggest cheerleader and his biggest supporter, and so I’m able to take over and be 100 percent parent mode in those times.”
Besides leaning on Stocklin — whom she began dating while they were co-stars on her Netflix series Haters Back Off — for support, Ballinger also notes that laughter has been a major factor in getting the couple through some difficult first-time parenting moments.
“Becoming a parent, you kinda just feel like you’re diving in head-first and don’t know where you’re going,” she admits. “It is very overwhelming.”
“Laughing our way through it is our way to survive because there are so many things that could scare us, or freak us out, or be daunting about parenthood, but we’re kinda figuring it out as we go,” she reveals. “We’re just stumbling our way through … but we’re surviving.”
Despite those “overwhelming” moments, Ballinger says she wouldn’t change a single thing about her approach to parenthood.
“The transition into parenthood is a scary one, but it’s incredible. It’s the best thing ever. I’m so obsessed with my baby, he’s the best thing in the whole universe,” she says of her 8-month-old son. “It’s been a really wild journey and super fun.”
In addition to relying on her partner and laughing through life’s trying times, Ballinger opened up about her relationship with breastfeeding in honor of August being National Breastfeeding Month.
At first, the YouTube star said she was planning to give Flynn formula because she simply didn’t feel like breastfeeding — a thought that “most mothers would clutch their pearls at and be appalled by,” Ballinger claimed.
But when her milk supply started coming in before she delivered Flynn, the actress knew her body was giving her a sign.
“I was like, ‘Well, I guess my body is wanting to do this, so I’m gonna try it and see how it goes and if I don’t like it, then I’ll do formula,'” Ballinger recalls. “Whenever I mentioned that to anyone, they would be appalled that I would consider formula instead of breast milk.”
“There’s so much pressure,” she continues. “I’m a mom and it’s my son, and I get to choose what’s best for my son and so does every other mom out there.”
Ballinger also advocated for more women to feel proud of how and when they feed their child, whether it be through breastfeeding or formula.
“I breastfeed in public and I try my hardest to talk about it casually because I feel like that’s how it should be talked about,” she explains. “I don’t think it should be a big deal; I don’t think it should be anyone’s business how I feed my son.”
“I think more women should be proud of how they feed their children and not be ashamed if they can’t breastfeed,” Ballinger adds. “As long as they’re feeding their child, they love their kid and they’re doing what’s best for the kid, then they’re doing it right.”
Ballinger is now preparing to take on the role of Dawn in Waitress from August 20 to September 15 as she continues to speak out about “issues that nobody’s talking about,” including normalizing breastfeeding and getting her first period after having a baby.
It’s the second time that Ballinger has moved to New York City, as she previously lived there years before welcoming Flynn.
This time, it’ll be different though. The mom of an 8-month-old now has something on her bucket list that likely wasn’t there the last time she lived in the Big Apple.
“Sleep! I want to sleep in the city that never sleeps,” she jokes. “Most people that come here want to see the Empire State Building, they want to see the Statue of Liberty. I’m just hoping I can get a nap!”
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