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/ Source: TODAY
By Ree Hines

Success came to Kelly Clarkson early, thanks to her 2002 win on the very first season of "American Idol." But happiness? That took a little longer.

"I was in a very dark place for a long time," the 34-year-old revealed in an interview with Good Housekeeping.

keKelly Clarkson
Kelly Clarkson talks motherhood, fame and the ups and downs of life in a new interview with Good Housekeeping. Victoria Will / AP

And as it turns out, her whirlwind path to fame was part of the problem.

"It's just so hard to have normalcy," she explained. "I love to sing, and I love to talk to people at meet-and-greets. It's just all the crap that comes along with this job … I don't love traveling, because I'm never home. It's hard when you have a family."

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But it's the family she's formed with husband Brandon Blackstock that's helped find joy, too.

"I'm so happy," Clarkson raved. "The fact that I've managed to find a husband who understands and respects everything I do is astonishing. The fact that I have these four beautiful kids (River Rose, 2, Remington, 7 months, and stepchildren Savannah, 15, and Seth, 10) … I just lucked out. I'm waiting for the floor to drop out from under me."

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The fear of losing her good luck is offset by a far stronger feeling that came with motherhood.

"I sound like such a tool, but becoming a mother has made me next-level confident," the "Piece by Piece" singer said. "I've never felt more empowered. I feel like my 20s were spent walking on eggshells making sure everyone felt loved and not really expressing my opinion. As a mom, you just don't have time, so you get straight to the point. I go to bed every night and the list of what I've accomplished is astounding."

That echoes a sentiment Clarkson shared during a recent visit to TODAY.

"Like as a mom, I go to bed going, 'You're welcome, world!'" she laughed.

In addition to her mom duties, Clarkson, who can now add best-selling author to her list of accomplishments, is also busy working on a new album due out next year.