December 17, 2014 11:00 AM

Jim Smeal/BEI

One look at Jenna Dewan-Tatum and it’s hard to fathom the fact that it has only been 18 months since she gave birth to her first child, daughter Everly.

But the 34-year-old actress insists that it is just the result of much hard work.

“I work out with Jen Johnson, this trainer that I’ve worked out with forever who does a dance-based training,” Dewan-Tatum told PEOPLE while attending the Hollywood Reporter‘s Women in Entertainment Breakfast.

“It’s awesome. It’s so hard. Everyone I brought to it says it’s the hardest workout they’ve ever done.”

But even the demanding certified trainer has nothing on Dewan-Tatum’s other exercise partner.

“When I can, I do that,” she says of her fitness regimen, before laughing and adding, “When I can’t, I’m literally ruining around chasing Everly and that is my workout. When you have [a daughter] who wants to do nothing but run and dance … you are just running after her making sure she is not hitting her head on everything.”

Or, more often, hiding her mama’s stash of cosmetics. Dewan-Tatum jokes she’s clueless how mothers manage to leave the house with a full face of makeup, let alone keep track of their essentials at home.

“I’m like, ‘How does that happen?’ Everly will actually take it from me and go put it somewhere else,” she says. “I’m like, ‘Okay, I need that makeup back.’ It’s a whole big circus in our household.”

But her wardrobe has changed, too. Since giving birth, the hands-on mom finds herself gravitating to stylish staple items that are easy for on the go.

“It’s like, ‘What’s comfortable? What can I look like I didn’t roll out of bed in?’ ” she shares. “Those are my two things. I’m like, ‘Okay, throw on a pair of jeans, maybe a cute pair of boots and you’re done.’ Sunglasses and hats are everything after you have a child.”

Despite loving all of the day-to-day chaos, Dewan-Tatum is looking forward to a time when she and Everly can enjoy the more sedate aspects of life.

“She won’t even sit through five minutes of Baby Einstein,” she says with a laugh. “So there’s no movies to be watching. Maybe in a year. Everyone says in a year — 2½, 3 is when they really start watching movies. That will be fun because I want to see them more than she does. That’s the thing — all those cartoons. It’s embarrassing.”

So for now, keeping Everly happy and engaged — and maybe a bit still — will fall to Dewan-Tatum’s secret weapon.

“It’s not a toy,” she shares. “She just loves boxes and pulling things out and in of boxes. Literally, I can give her my purse and she will pull things out and put things back in for — I’ve counted — an hour before. So far, it’s been really good.”

So good that when the notion of giving Everly a Christmas present that was a box with a purse inside of it was offered up, the doting mother was floored.

“Yes!” she exclaims. “It would blow her mind. That is probably what I am going to do!”

— Reagan Alexander

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