Kelly Clarkson loves life as a mom — even though it’s not always easy.
“[It’s] hard,” the 34-year-old singer told PEOPLE at the S.H.E. Summit in New York during an interview featured in this week’s magazine, on newsstands Friday.
The musician, who is also a Citizen brand ambassador, was at the women’s empowerment event to speak on the “Spending Your Time on What Matters Most” panel, discussing time management and launching the brand’s new Citizen L Ambiluna collection.
“You have to juggle everything,” explains the mom of two young children — son Remington “Remy” Alexander, 6 months, and daughter River Rose, 2 — as well as the stepmom to two children from husband Brandon Blackstock‘s first marriage.
“While I love music, my family comes first,” she says. “There are days where s— hits the fan, and I’m crying because there’s not enough time to do everything. But that’s any mom. It’s a hard thing to take care of children. You’re molding lives. You don’t want to suck at it.”
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Her approach, rather, is to enjoy every moment with her children. “River is totally me,” says Clarkson. “She annoyingly wants attention all the time. Remington is totally my husband. He’s this wallflower who’s like, ‘Okay, entertain me.’ ”
The “Miss Independent” songstress is still trying to figure out a healthy work-life balance.
“I’m bad at time management,” she says. “I definitely feel mom guilt a lot. I think every good mom does, right? I think I have mom guilt too because my mom didn’t have help and I have help. I feel like, ‘Why can’t I do it all?’ But you can’t. That’s dumb.”
But she just tries to manage her guilt as much as she can. “I do so much for them and I do bend over backwards,” Clarkson continues. “But it doesn’t matter. If you’re a mom, you want to be with your kid every day. You don’t want to miss a moment and you want her to need you and want you and not want somebody else.”
That means taking parenting one day at a time.
“I will definitely screw up a bunch, but I am gonna try not to,” she says. “I think it’s really important, not only for my little girl [but our other children too], to see that a woman is capable of kicking ass while also being a kickass mom.
“And that’s a hard thing. I’m not going to B.S. you. That’s hard,” she continues. “There are days when I cry and I’m like, I don’t know if I can handle all this or get it all done or juggle. But at the end of the day, like 99 percent of the time, it’s awesome and it’s worth it.”
In fact, it helps that River loves being an older sister.
“She loves helping,” says Clarkson. “She’s always changing her dolls like Mommy changes Remy. She loves getting in the crib with him. I always make her part of everything. We’re a family unit. It’s hard when you have a blended family. It’s always a learning kind of environment.”
Clarkson admits her house is pretty hectic. “Every day is different,” she says. “But there’s always a lot of energy. The older [kids] are homeschooled. So everybody is always in the house. It’s a really busy, busy household.”
At the end of the day, the singer just wants to set a good example for her kids.
“It’s a hard thing, but I think being a confident female for my daughter,” she says of what she wants to give to River. “I don’t know. We’re all human. She will end up in therapy for something. I am sure there will be something! I hope it won’t be confidence.”
For more from Kelly Clarkson, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.