Keke Palmer Says Motherhood Has Made Her ‘More Selective’ About Work — But Also Given Her 'Peace' (Exclusive)

“I'm not so in the weeds of everything," the actress tells PEOPLE of how her mindset has evolved since welcoming her 13-month-old Leo

Keke Palmer Instagram Keke Palmer and her son, Leo
Keke Palmer Instagram Keke Palmer and her son, Leo

Keke Palmer has a different outlook on life now that she’s a mother.

The actress, who shares 13-month-old son Leo with ex-boyfriend Darius Jackson, tells PEOPLE that life is “always a juggling act” these days as she navigates motherhood and her demanding career as an actress, musician and business owner.

“I do feel like being 30, it's put me in a different head space that's allowed me to kind of feel more observational about my life,” she says. “I'm not so in the weeds of everything. I'm really trusting and having faith that everything will work out as it should. I think so much of that peace has come from my son.”

Palmer is currently on location filming The Pickup in Atlanta, and says that when Leo is with her on set, “People will be like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s the cutest baby in the world.’ I’m like, ‘I know.'”

Given the fact that Leo “does come with me everywhere,” the Nope star notes she isn’t saying yes to just any project.

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<p>Keke Palmer /Instagram</p> Keke Palmer poses with her son, Leo, as she celebrates his 1st birthday

Keke Palmer /Instagram

Keke Palmer poses with her son, Leo, as she celebrates his 1st birthday

Related: Keke Palmer Gives a Look Inside Son Leo's Nursery: 'Haven of Happiness and Love' (Exclusive)

“[I’m] definitely more selective with projects,” she says. “Looking for stuff that allows me to be with him either at home, or it’s somewhere I can go and have a room or a trailer.”

“I also want to respect his individuality and his freedom and space. It's not just like you come to mommy's world, only mommy's world,” Palmer continues.

“You have to always think about that, with kids. While we want to take them everywhere and we want them to be our world, they are their own little people, so you have to also give them their own sense of structure. Because as an adult, I'm kind of here, there and everywhere. I really try to keep that in mind.”

Related: Keke Palmer Offers Advice to Other Single Moms: 'Pour Into Yourself, Have Fun' (Exclusive)

She’s raising her son alongside her sister’s kids — who are 5, 8 and 9 — as the sisters live together. “He's kind of growing up with his cousins like they're his siblings, which we really love, and it's like what we always dreamed about as kids.”

For Leo’s first birthday last month, Palmer and her sister took all their kids to Disney World and Universal, “and it was a lot," she admits, but it was also “the best frickin’ thing ever.”

<p>Keke Palmer/Instagram</p> Keke Palmer and her son, Leo

Keke Palmer/Instagram

Keke Palmer and her son, Leo

Traveling the world with her son is among the “Ungorgeous” singer’s favorite parts of her career. She recently got the opportunity to bring Leo to London to film a commercial in partnership with Cash App to announce their new Visa debit card, the Glitter Card.

“It was just so amazing to be able to show him the world and for me to be able to do that with him," she says of the experience.

Leo was “right there” while she filmed the commercial — which sees her body overcome with glitter after she uses the Glitter Cash App Card — she says, which made it all the sweeter. “It was just awesome.”

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