Jewel and her husband, professional rodeo rider Ty Murray, are adjusting to their new role as parents of newborn son Kase Townes, who was born on July 12. The addition to the family has quickly taken over as the No. 1 priority in both of their lives -- and they wouldn't have it any other way.

"The great thing for me, and my husband feels the same way, is we've been successful in our careers. What's the point of that success if you can't take advantage of it at a time like this and enjoy being a parent?" she tells Billboard. "It's a rare gift we want to take advantage of and not worry about what to do next."

The 36-year-old released her latest CD, 'Sweet and Wild,' last year, before switching her priorities to more family-oriented endeavors. "I just put things on hold," she admits. "I decided to have the baby and have the freedom to do whatever I wanted, be a stay-at-home mom for as long as I wanted. I didn't want to have the pressure on me of, 'Oh, in two months I have to get back to the studio.' So I didn't want to book things ahead of time."

Jewel's timing was perfect for her second album of children's tunes, 'The Merry Goes Round,' which releases next week. The project features mostly original tunes recorded with "the goal of trying to write a record my son would love," she notes.

"I've got a lot of freedom with these family albums," acknowledges the songbird. "I can write what I feel like. They don't have to be a certain genre. I don't have to think about singles or airplay. That's liberating in a lot of ways. I just thought about things I'd like my son to learn -- going into a room and using your imagination, not to be afraid of the dark, little lessons like that. It's a different mindset and creatively very fulfilling."

Her first set of kid-friendly tunes, 'Lullaby,' was released in 2009, and was a No. 1 hit on the Kid Albums chart. But while she was pleased with the success of the CD, the singer-songwriter insists she isn't focused on the commercial appeal of her children's music.

"The cool thing about this album and ('Lullaby') is that it's not the traditional model of, 'We want to sell a million albums up front,' " admits the singer. "They look at it as a 10-year plan. 'Lullaby' is almost at half a million records (sold) with no promotion. It's a fun model. It doesn't take a lot of promotion or massive tours of duty out there. You can do one or two things and the record hopefully sells itself by word of mouth."

Besides, the new mom has very little time for record promotion these days! "Up feeding my precious baby," she tweeted in the wee hours of the morning today. "Getting no sleep never seemed so good."

Jewel recently wrapped her first season as judge of the hit Bravo TV show, 'Platinum Hit,' along with songwriter and record label executive, Kara DioGuardi. 'The Merry Goes Round' hits shelves August 16. Pre-order a copy here.

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