Daniella Monet is explaining how becoming a parent was a formative experience.
The Victorious alum, 31, is mom to 1-year-old son Gio James and she's currently expecting her second child with fiancé Andrew Gardner, a pregnancy she happily announced last month. She revealed to PEOPLE earlier this month that her baby on the way is a girl.
Speaking with Mini Magazine for its fall issue, the actress said, "Motherhood has matured me in so many ways."
"I used to be passive and less opinionated. I struggled with standing up for myself when I should have," said Monet. "Becoming a mother has helped me to have more respect for myself in business, and in my personal relationships — an absolutely priceless tool that I know will take me far as an individual and more importantly, as a parent."
The soon-to-be mom of two added that she wants her son to grow up "seeing a strong and independent mother."
"This way, respect and gender equality are traits that are instilled in his character from an early age," explained Monet. "Motherhood [has] forced me to prioritize what's most important so I can focus on the things that matter. It was so easy to waste time before becoming a mom. Now I realize just how precious every minute of the day is."
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In regards to her priorities in raising her firstborn Gio, Monet said she wants to be a "loving, supportive and present parent." She also said the advice she would give her son is to "dream big."
"I want to be someone he can trust and lean on for support. My hope is that we have a relationship where we can talk about almost anything," said the Adulting Like a Mother Father podcast host. "I want to be there when he needs me."
The actress and businessperson also shared her secret to balancing her career and parenting duties: "Naps!"
"Luckily Gio takes two of them a day and sleeps at least 12 hours a night, so between that and Andrew being an excellent help, I'm able to get almost everything I need to, done," Monet said. "I may be exhausted by the end of it, but what mother isn't?"
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Monet opened up to PEOPLE earlier this month about preparing for a daughter, explaining that she sees herself as being a "mom to a girl who's so chill and so powerful, and this is such a great time to be raising a strong female."
"I actually felt quite attached to the idea of having a girl, so when I found out it was a girl, I was ecstatic," she said. "It [also] made me feel some sense of, 'Okay, if this is it and we have two healthy, beautiful babies, I'll never wonder what it would be like to have a girl if I happened to have two boys.' So I feel very settled right now."
As for how she thinks Gio will be as a big brother, "I think he'll be amazing," she said. "He's really loving, he's really affectionate. I think it'll be some adjustment — I already feel nervous about that, just because it happened all very quickly and I love my time with Gio and we're very much full-time parents. So I struggle when I think too much about it 'cause I'm thinking, 'Oh my gosh, my time with just him and I is [ending] so quickly.' So I'm just doing my best to be very present every day with him."
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