LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 03: Keke Palmer attends the 3rd Annual Academy Museum Gala at Aca...
Rodin Eckenroth/GA/The Hollywood Reporter/Getty Images

Keke Palmer On How Her Stress & Worries Changed After Having Her Son: “To Hell With Me”

She doesn’t have time to worry about everything: she’s a motha.

Any mom will tell you that motherhood isn’t exactly relaxing but, in some ways, it allows us to relax in unexpected ways. Take Keke Palmer. Her first and only child, Leo, just turned one in February. Toddlers can be a full-time job unto themselves, and yet even a perfunctory glance at her social media accounts will show a working mom constantly on the go with a wide variety of creative projects. But our favorite “motha” doesn’t stress about everything on her plate, at least not like she used to. Just knowing her little boy is in the world has given her a new perspective that she says has been freeing.

“Before I had my son, I felt like everything was the end of the world. I had this feeling that I was more tense about what was going to happen, when it was going to happen, and feeling invalid in some ways,” she tells Romper. “[I had] a burning desire to be of service, I think. But when I had my son, it tampered in a way because I think he’s the greatest thing I can be of service to.”

When she can fully relax, don’t expect to find Palmer lounging in a hammock by the ocean. She has “different vibes” when it comes to vacations. “I’m probably the one person that’s not desperate for a beach vacation,” she says. “I’ve loved when I visited Amsterdam. I also love a little cottage. You know what I mean? We’re doing fishing and, ooh, we’re by the fire, we’re doing s’mores...” But for those whose first choice is a tropical escape, Palmer’s got you covered with her new partnership with Chips Ahoy!, which is sending a lucky sweepstakes winner to Malibu Beach. Specifically in a house inspired by Chips Ahoy! A retreat if you will.

The partnership, and the sweepstakes, are part of the company’s new “MMMproved” cookie recipe. “Now, nothing’s broke, so we’re not fixing anything,” Palmer explains. “We’re just improving it: texture, the taste, the crunch, the packaging...” From now through May 31, cookie fans can enter the Chips Ahoy! MMMProved Getaway Sweepstakes by following the brand’s social media accounts and commenting with #chipsahoygetaway on the pinned posts on its Instagram feed and Facebook page.

Of course, Palmer doesn’t have a ton of time for vacationing these days. The multi-hyphenate hosts Password along with her podcast Baby, This Is Keke Palmer all while pursuing other projects. Currently she’s filming The Pickup, which will also star Eddie Murphy and Pete Davidson. Ironically, she says that the demands of starring in a movie or TV show is the best way to give her busy life routine and structure.

“That’s probably the one time my schedule would be more consistent,” she explains. “I do prefer that these days, especially with my son. It allows me to just have a better routine with him and when we’re going to get our one-on-one time.”

Days usually start between 5 and 7 a.m., but Leo comes to set around 10 and mother and son will head home in the evening. “It’s like a full workday, but then I come home and then I sit down, chill, relax, spend a moment or two with my son before he goes to bed. Obviously it’s always really fun to just be in my son’s presence.”

And like most of us, once the kiddo is in bed, Palmer appreciates the ability to turn off her brain with some reality TV. But she’ll never turn her nose up at an unhinged documentary.

“Even the really dark, seedy ones,” she says. “I just like learning, you know what I mean? Even as a kid. [The Investigation Discovery channel], it was too much! I’m watching I Survived and it’s like, ‘homegirl hopped to the car, her leg was off...’ how did she do that?!”

Then comes her “wind-down routine.” Ever the proud Virgo, Palmer loves a sense of ritual and self-care. “My wind-down routine is absolutely amazing,” she gushes. “Before bed, I take my bath, I wash my face, and then I put on five lotions and girl, I feel so loved by me. I do a little bedtime perfume spray. I just go to bed feeling luxurious. It’s the ritual. It’s the knowing that I’ve done my thing and I’m good.”

But of course, the ultimate happy thought to reflect on as she’s drifting off all comes back to Leo. “Everything’s really going to be cool because I got my son,” she smiles. “Even though you also are very stressed about this little person of course; it’s a whole ‘nother worry, but it’s still different. It’s like, I’d rather worry about you than me. To hell with me at this point.”