OnlyOnAOL: The top thing on Carrie Underwood's to-do list

Katharine McPhee On "Scorpion"
Katharine McPhee On "Scorpion"

By: Donna Freydkin

Carrie Underwood had never been on a cruise, believe it or not.

But when she was approached by Carnival cruises to be part of the company's partnership with Operation Homefront, which supports military families, Underwood did her due diligence.

"I want to know who I'm working with. We flew down to Miami and got the grand tour," she says. "I want to be able to work with people who have the same thoughts and values as I do. It just makes sense."

Now, during her concert tour, she talks to service members in attendance. "I get to meet some great kids and great families and do a private show for them in New York," she says.

Underwood, who won the fourth season of "American Idol" and has since gone on to rule country music with slews of awards, says this charity effort makes total sense to her. "Country music has always had a close relationship with military families. When they approached us, I didn't know that much about Operation Homefront. I started looking stuff up," she says. (See our interview with fellow "American Idol" performer Katharine McPhee above).

Carrie Underwood, center, poses with U.S. Navy Petty Officer Andrew Friedlander, left, and his wife Bryanne Friedlander, right, following a news conference Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Jacksonville, Fla. The conference was staged to announce a new  partnership between Underwood, Operation Homefront and Carnival Cruise Line to support U.S. military families. The effort between the three entities is to raise funds through a series of projects during Underwood's concert tour and aboard Carnival's ships as well as the company's website. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Carnival Cruise Line/HO)

In real life, Underwood is married to hockey player Mike Fisher; they're the parents of Isaiah Michael Fisher. And motherhood has made her more connected to Operation Homefront and what the families are going through.

"You don't understand being a parent until you are a parent. You can relate to other people and their lives. We all have different jobs and demands and expectations, but we have this in common. Being a parent is hard and fun and exciting," she says.

2015 CMT Music Awards - Backstage & Audience
2015 CMT Music Awards - Backstage & Audience

Speaking of, how is Isaiah doing? "He's one and a couple of months. He's just everywhere. He's very active. I do take him on tour. He's with me 90 percent of the time. He went home today to spend a few days with Mike. They're spending father and son time," says Underwood.

And that has its perks. "I might sleep this week. That would be nice," she says.

Part of being a mom is teaching her son about charity. "It's all around us. He sees things and he'll hear things as he gets older. It's important as parent to expose your children to everything. We're so blessed in the life that we have and what we get to do. It's our job to pay it forward. We grew up in a small hometown, about 3500 people. Now we have a nice big house and we live in Nashville," says Underwood.