The "Cry Pretty" singer and this week's cover star, opens up about life on the road with sons Isaiah and Jacob — and the surprising way she lets off steam

By Janine Rubenstein
June 21, 2019 08:00 AM
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When it comes to motherhood, this isn’t Carrie Underwood‘s first rodeo.

The country superstar – who tops PEOPLE’s list of 100 Reasons to Love America this week – was already mom to son Isaiah Michael, 4, before welcoming son Jacob Bryan in January. While it’s a popular notion that second-time moms are naturally more lax, Underwood says that’s just not the case for her.

“He’s just this perfect little bundle of a smiley guy,” Underwood, 36, says of 4-month-old Jacob, who along with his big brother and dad Mike Fisher, 39, has joined her out on the road for her hit Cry Pretty 360 arena tour.

Jacob and Carrie Underwood
| Credit: Carrie Underwood/Instagram

Her two boys “don’t really look a whole lot alike,” says Underwood noting her newborn’s unique strawberry blonde hair. But the mom admits to being a bit different this time around herself.

Mike Fisher and kids
Mike Fisher with sons Isaiah and Jacob
| Credit: Carrie Underwood/ Instagram

“It might be because Isaiah makes him feel so much smaller, but I think I baby Jacob more. I’m like, ‘Oh no he can’t sit up in that thing,’ and it’s stuff that we had Isaiah doing already,” she says, before adding “I feel like I need to treat him a little more like I did Isaiah.”

Touring 55-plus cities with young boys is no easy feat, but she and Fisher have made their family’s comfort a priority. At each venue, “We have this area where Isaiah can go and color or there are toys in there or he can read and paint, whatever he’s feeling. He’s a pretty creative kid so we try to give him space to do that.”

Carrie Underwood with sons Jacob and Isaiah
| Credit: Mike Fisher/Instagram

And even though they’re constantly on the move, they figured out a way to make each tour stop their own.

“We’ve kind of gotten out of hotel rooms because for Isaiah, it’s hard for a 4-year-old who’s constantly looking to be stimulated,” she explains. “We started renting houses to have a little more normalcy and so he has a backyard to play in. He can be a little boy and get out some of his penned up energy. And we can make breakfast and have those comforts of home. That’s a big difference.”

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Considering her sons’ non-traditional lifestyle, “It’s so interesting to me to think about Isaiah and how they are just going to be like ‘Well this is normal right? Everybody’s mommy and daddy do this right?'” she says with a laugh. “We’re trying to figure out how to keep them as normal as possible as well.”

And when it comes to her own well-being, the busy mom is not afraid to get in touch with her emotions. In fact, she schedules time to do it!

Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood performing
| Credit: Andrew Wendowski for imageSPACE/MediaPunch

“Sometimes I feel like I just need to cry, for no reason, and there’s not anything that happened,” she says. “I’ve learned to be okay with that, whereas five or 10 years ago I would have been like ‘Oh my God, something’s wrong with me!'”

Just ahead of her tour kick off, “I called my mom and said ‘I need to schedule myself a cry, is that weird?'” To which her mom responded, “‘No, you do what you gotta do!'”

7/1/2019 Cover Featuring Carrie Underwood
Carrie Underwood on the cover of PEOPLE
| Credit: Randee St. Nicholas

And moms know best. “Sometimes it’s just best to let it out,” says the star. “It’s me-time!”

For more on Carrie Underwood‘s emotional journey and 99 other great reasons to love America — which span everything from the Grand Canyon to Shark Week to Michelle Obama‘s bestselling memoir — pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.