Peta Murgatroyd on Balancing Baby Shai and 'DWTS' (Plus 'Friendly Competition' with Fiancé Maks Chmerkovskiy)

Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC

Peta Murgatroyd is back in the Dancing with the Stars ballroom just months after welcoming son Shai with fiancé Maksim Chmerkovskiy in January — and she’s blogging about her experience exclusively for PEOPLE. Follow Murgatroyd, 30, and her partner, The Bachelor star Nick Viall, 37, on Twitter!

So, a lot has changed in my life since my last season of Dancing with the Stars.

Being a mom to Shai has been the best thing that’s ever happened to me — it’s what makes me happiest. I would spend every second of the day with him if I could. But I also think it’s good for me to get back to work.

That’s not to say it’s been easy. It’s full-on. It’s a huge struggle with scheduling. I have to have my whole day planned out before I leave the house so I know if I’ll be back in time to feed Shai or if the nanny will have to do it. And if that has to happen, I only allow myself to miss one feeding a day. Maks obviously doesn’t have to feed Shai every three hours but he likes to spend as much time as possible with him so we’re very fortunate we’re able to have flexible schedules while we both work on the show.

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It’s been interesting competing against Maks again. It’s not something we’ve done in years, but I think a little bit of friendly competition is good for a couple. We love each other so much, so this is fun for us. We talk a lot of smack but I think he and Heather Morris are going to do really well. She’s got great training already and is obviously going to be great, but I don’t think Nick is too far off that.

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I really have been so surprised by Nick’s ability. He’s doing really well in rehearsals and I think he has the chance of going really far in the competition.

His work ethic is just incredible. He gets through our four-hour rehearsals without ever asking for a break and I never need to remind him to keep practicing and do his homework at home. He’s got a bit of a sporting background, so he’s quick on his feet and is always on beat. The only thing we have to work on is his posture and arm placement. He’s 6’2″, so he’s a big guy. That’s great for a Bachelor but it can make his frame a bit harder to manage and hold.

Tonight we’re dancing a cha cha, and it’s going to be fun and sexy — everything a cha cha should be. We’re in a good place. We’re able to perform it and have all the steps locked down. Now we just need to prove to people that he’s not just The Bachelor. Nick wants to show a different side of himself, so our goal is to bring that out. I really think he has what it takes to wow people.

Season 24 of Dancing with the Stars premieres Monday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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