January 30, 2011 02:00 PM

Michael Becker/FOX/PictureGroup

With the birth of her first child Walker Nathaniel, now 16 months, Idina Menzel took a step back in time — and has been loving every minute of it.

“You get to relive your childhood when you have a baby and you see these toys and these books you read when you were little — the innocence that you are able to maintain … to connect with your child keeps you in a special state of mind,” the actress, 39, tells Broadway World.

Despite Menzel’s hectic schedule, special moments with her family — including husband Taye Diggs — remain her first priority.

“It’s great because I have a routine. Like this weekend; I have a show in St. Louis, so I’ll fly out late Saturday night after I put [Walker] down to sleep, so I’ll only miss a couple of hours on Sunday,” she explains.

“If I’m going to be away for more than one night, I always bring baby with me.”

Feeling “better about myself because I like who I am as a mother,” Menzel admits motherhood has forced her to focus on the present.

“Between changing diapers and touring preschools, I’m still getting some other stuff done,” she explains. “I think that’s why being a mommy keeps you in the moment more. You can’t really think much about other stuff because you have life happening right in front of you — you have to feed him, and change his diapers, and play with him, and read to him.”

Fortunately, the Glee actress is able to regroup during her short overnight business trips — even if she does so on the plane ride!

“I can really appreciate all that while I’m sitting on the plane by myself, then I come back and I have my baby and my husband and reality waiting for me,” she muses. “All that balancing stuff is really challenging, but I feel more alive than I have in a long time.”

Aside from a busy year and a few sleepless nights, Menzel sees more children in her near future. “I would love Walker to have a sibling. I believe in that. Of course, I turn 40 in a couple of months so we will see what the universe has in store for me,” she shares.

“Right now, I am enjoying him so much that I just want to focus all my energy on him.”

— Anya Leon

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