"Fight Song" singer Rachel Platten opens up to PEOPLE about self-care, new music and the realities of new motherhood in an exclusive interview

By Brianne Tracy
February 21, 2019 03:20 PM
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Rachel Platten won’t stand for mommy shaming.

The "Fight Song" hitmaker — who is the latest celebrity to partner with Pampers — welcomed her first child, daughter Violet Skye, on Jan. 26, and has already had to shut down mommy shamers on social media after getting negative responses to photos she posted from an afternoon spent out at a Grammys event.

“It was the first time I had gone out [since Violet’s birth] and I timed it really well,” Platten, 37, tells PEOPLE. “I knew she had an hour and a half to sleep and the event was close by and I did have someone write, ‘Wow, I was too obsessed with my newborn to leave her.’ ”

“That hurt and I responded calmly, ‘I’m just as obsessed with mine. I’m also just as obsessed with self-care and my own mental health,’ ” she adds. ” ‘I know that going out and being around powerful women at this Grammy event is something that’s going to be able to make me come back home a more strong, whole-hearted mommy.’ ”

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Credit: Rachel Platten/Instagram

“I’m sure the shaming is going to keep going because I’ve heard from my mom friends that it’s really normal,” Platten continues. “I hope that I can just respond with love and education. I hope I don’t let it get to me too much.”

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When Platten posted the photos from the event, she also says she got flooded with remarks from moms who couldn’t believe she bounced back so quickly and looked great after having a baby less than two weeks prior.

“I felt bad because that was such an anomaly,” she says. “That was one afternoon and I quickly posted a picture of me with my nipples coming out of a pump bra, like sleepless, because I was like, ‘No, no, no, let’s just relax. This is actually how I look.’ ”

After Violet’s birth, Platten says bringing her home from the hospital for the first few days was “unbelievable” but also “incredibly exhausting.”

“It’s really important to me that I’m not painting only a rosy picture of motherhood and early motherhood because I don’t want moms to read this and be like, ‘Wow, Rachel had it all together,’ ” she says. “I was certainly having sleepless nights, overwhelmed, crying, exhausted. But when you look at her and smell her little head and see her little tushy, I would just melt and be like, ‘Okay, this is why I’m doing this.’ ”

“Violet is such an easy baby and my maternal instinct kicked in really quickly,” she adds. “I couldn’t believe how easy it felt to love her and how much I wanted to protect her and swaddle this sweet baby in love and comfort.”

So far, Platten’s hardest moment as a mom came on Valentine’s Day, when she and her husband Kevin Lazan organized a newborn photo shoot with Violet.

“My husband really thought it would be a romantic thing to do on Valentine’s Day,” she tells PEOPLE. “In my head, I completely agreed and I was like, ‘This will be the sweetest thing.’ It was a nightmare! They wanted her naked in it so we took off the diapers for the first time in three weeks.”

“I will never do that again, ever,” Platten vows. “She peed on me twice, she pooped a tiny bit on my husband and threw up on me, so it was like the full monty.”

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“The newborn photographer kept having to change the sheet and trying to put her in these little positions,” she continues, joking, “There were lights and flashing cameras and I was like, ‘I don’t think you’re going to take after your mom because I love the camera. I don’t know if this is your thing.’ She was like, ‘This is brutal! Why are you doing this? I hate your lifestyle.’ ”

Luckily, Violet’s usually in her Pampers Swaddlers and there’s no mess — which is why Platten felt that teaming up with the brand was an honest match.

“I knew it was going to be a partnership that made sense and it felt like a fit that I wouldn’t have to exaggerate my enthusiasm [about],” she says. “I actually was going to be putting my daughter in these diapers so it felt like an honest collaboration and something that I could support.”

Typically, Platten and her husband split diaper duty — but when she can, she passes off the No. 2s to him.

“I didn’t know you’d be able to hear a newborn’s poops so clearly,” she says. “It’s very obvious when she poops and I’m like, ‘She’s yours, babe!’ He’s really game and really sweet and awesome. He’s great at helping. I take the pees, so that’s how we split up. It feels fair, you know?”

For Platten, parenthood has only changed her marriage in “such a good way.”

“I got a lot of warnings from friends, like, ‘You might hate your husband, heads up,’ ” she says. “But mine has been incredible. I feel bad. I want to relate to everyone and be like, ‘Oh, mine sucks!’ But he has been really amazing. He has been a partner and has just shown up in a huge way. I don’t think there’s anything sexier than seeing your husband dance with your little baby. It’s the sweetest thing ever, so it changed my marriage for the better so far.”

Platten and Lazan usually split up the day and take turns with the baby. Lazan generally takes the hours between 6 and 9 a.m. — which he refers to as time with “Vi and the guys” since it includes him, Violet and their dog — and Platten takes her after. She says her favorite time of day with Violet is when her baby girl sleeps on her.

“I let her sleep on my skin, we do skin to skin,” she says. “I’ve gotten a little bit more rest [at that time] and then I feel able to conquer the day and just soak in her little smell. I love her so much.”

Platten is still waiting to see how much motherhood will change her, but she tells PEOPLE it has already altered her outlook on life. “Things that I thought were so important seem a little less so,” she says. “I don’t know yet how it’s going to be but also music, to me, feels different in a beautiful way.”

“I sat down and played piano and I wanted to soothe her and it felt so pure to just play music for the sake of comforting my daughter, not for me being like, ‘Oh, I need to write another hit,’ ” the singer explains. “It was just so pure playing music to comfort a newborn, who I love more than anything in the world.”

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Everyone in Platten’s family seems to be adjusting well to the new addition so far, including their dog, Dino.

“He watches the baby like a hawk,” she says. “He takes it very seriously. He decided it’s his new life mission to make sure the baby is safe and if we’re not attending to her the second she stirs or cries, he runs in like, ‘Are you guys kidding? This baby needs our attention, let’s go!’ ”

In the future, Platten says if she’s “lucky enough,” she’d “love to give Violet a sibling.” But first, she wants to see what it’ll be like balancing parenthood with touring when she hits the road with Pentatonix for concerts this summer.

“I might be insane, but I’m in a mommy tour group right now with other badass artists that I respect and look up to who have daughters and sons and take them on the road with them,” she says. “They’re all like, ‘It’s doable. It’s crazy, but it’s doable.’ I’m going to take [Violet] and my dog and hopefully my husband will be able to come. I’m really excited to play Madison Square Garden and bring her on stage if I can.”

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Rachel Platten
| Credit: Jamie Squire/Getty

Platten is hoping to have new music to debut during the tour, which kicks off in May, and has already started “tinkering” on her piano.

“I feel like there’s a flood of inspiration there that I am excited to turn on,” she says. “It has only been two and a half weeks so I’m not quite in music mode, I’m still kind of in this transition, but I feel it coming and I think there’s going to be a lot that I have to say and share about this experience through my songs.”

Until then, Platten is focusing on her family and making sure not to neglect her own self-care. “I think it is so important to do self-care so that I can be the best mom possible,” she says. “I still meditate and I write in my journal and I’ve started to do some light yoga stretching. When Violet is sleeping, I try to use that time productively.”

“I also try to just be in the moment with her,” Platten continues. “That has turned into a new kind of self-care, just being present with her rather than feeling like I need to be teaching her something or on top of something and taking a minute to sit there and smell the top of her little head and hold her little soft skin.”