"In the early days of my career I was too busy thinking about the next thing," the singer says

By Andrea Billups
Updated January 24, 2014 03:45 PM

Motherhood hasn’t stopped Shakira from following her creative pursuits, but it has taught her to slow down and enjoy the here and now – something she didn’t allow herself to do before starting her family.

“Everything is different,” Shakira tells PEOPLE as she reflects on motherhood after giving birth to her first child – son Milan, who turned 1 on Jan. 22 – with partner Gerard Piqué.

“Maybe the biggest change is that I think about the future more, what the world will be like for him when he grows up. But when it comes to living, it’s all about the present,” Shakira, 36, says. “I’m finally able to really savor all of those little moments that, in the early days of my career, I was too busy thinking about the next thing to just stop, take it all in, and enjoy.”

The special Target store edition of her new album Shakira, available March 25 with three bonus tracks, features a cover photo proving that her hips and her post-baby body don’t lie. The former The Voice coach exposes an ab-tastic midriff, wearing a black bra, high-waisted pants and tousled hair as she plants a steely gaze with a red guitar in hand.

Her Target collaboration will be featured in a commercial that will air during Sunday’s Grammy Awards telecast on CBS.

Shakira, who also debuts a duet with Rihanna called “Can’t Remember to Forget You,” says her major life changes since her last album in 2010 have also inspired her music.

“Luckily, since my last album I’ve entered one of the happiest phases of my life,” she said. “It was definitely a time of change, of rebirth, of self-discovery … and of course, becoming a mother, which turned my world on its head in the best of ways.”

Not that she’s slowing down creatively anytime soon as she broadens herself as an artist.

“I’m always trying to challenge myself. I think it’s important to be content with your achievements but never complacent,” she said. “I’m always looking for that song I still haven’t written, new sounds … music has infinite possibilities, more than I can explore in a lifetime. I’m grateful to still be as passionate about doing what I do.”