'DWTS' pro Maksim Chmerkovskiy reveals what parenthood forced him to realize about himself

Maksim Chmerkovskiy is "not worried" about the backlash against his "Dancing With the Stars" partner, former professional dancer and "Glee" actress Heather Morris, affecting the pair's chances at winning season 24 of the ABC hit.

Not only that, but the 37-year-old also has more important things to worry about. Namely, his newborn son, Shai, who he shares with fellow "DWTS" returning pro, Peta Murgatroyd.

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When I sat down with him recently at Swiffer's 18th birthday celebration, Chmerkovskiy told me that "with love and no second thoughts" he has found himself taking extra good care of Peta and Shai, especially when it comes to cleaning and making sure they're comfortable. He also attributed the couple's seamless transition to parenthood to the "invaluable" help of their baby nurse, who has made the balance of parenting and rehearing for "DWTS" easier to manage.

Check out my full conversation below with Maksim Chmerkovskiy, where we talked about fatherhood, supporting his wife, partnering with Swiffer and who his biggest competition on the upcoming season of "Dancing With the Stars" is.

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Maksim Chmerkovskiy out and about
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Maksim Chmerkovskiy out and about
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 16: Maksim Chmerkovskiy celebrates Swiffer's 18th birthday at The Midtown Loft on March 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 16: Maksim Chmerkovskiy celebrates Swiffer's 18th birthday at The Midtown Loft on March 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 01: 'Dancing with the Stars' castmembers Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Heather Morris visit 'Good Morning America' on March 01, 2017 in New York, NY. (Photo by Josiah Kamau/BuzzFoto via Getty Images)
DANCING WITH THE STARS - MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY - The celebrity cast of 'Dancing with the Stars' are donning their glitzy wardrobe and slipping on their dancing shoes as they ready themselves for their first dance on the ballroom floor, as the season kicks off on MONDAY, MARCH 20 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EST), on the ABC Television Network. (Craig Sjodin/ABC via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 09: Peta Murgatroyd (L) and Maksim Chmerkovskiy attend the VALENTINNICOLE fashion show during New York Fashion Week at Lovage on February 9, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images)
BROOKLYN, NY - DECEMBER 18: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Maksim Chmerkovskiy,Peta Murgatroyd, Amber Rose at The McCarren Hotel on December 18, 2016 in Brooklyn, New York. (Photo by Alo Ceballos/GC Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 29: Maksim Chmerkovskiy attends the adidas New York Flagship Preview Party on November 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for adidas)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 29: Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd attend New York Knicks vs Memphis Grizzlies game at Madison Square Garden on October 29, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2306' - The nine remaining celebrities ready themselves for one of the hottest nights in the ballroom - Latin Night - with each celebrity performing either a rumba, salsa, samba, paso dobl� cha cha or Argentine tango, on 'Dancing with the Stars,' live, MONDAY, OCTOBER 17 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images) MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, AMBER ROSE
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 01: Dancers Maksim Chmerkovskiy (L) and Peta Murgatroyd attend the Amber Rose SlutWalk 2016 at Pershing Square on October 1, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/FilmMagic)
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2304' - One of the biggest shows 'Dancing with the Stars' has ever put on will unfold on the ballroom floor, as the 11 remaining celebrities perform big spectacle dances for Cirque du Soleil(r) night, on 'Dancing with the Stars,' live, MONDAY, OCTOBER 3 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images) MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, AMBER ROSE
Maksim Chmerkovskiy (L) and Peta Murgatroyd during the 2nd Annual Amber Rose SlutWalk Festival in Los Angeles, California. October 1, 2016. (Photo by Ronen Tivony/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2303A' - The second elimination of the season will take place on 'Dancing with the Stars: The Results,' live, TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 27 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images) VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY, MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2302' - The 13 celebrities get ready to dance to some of their favorite TV theme songs as TV Night comes to 'Dancing with the Stars,' live, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 19 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images) TOM BERGERON, AMBER ROSE, MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd attend the Entertainment Weekly's 2016 Pre-Emmy Party held at Nightingale Plaza on September 16, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 16: TV personality Maksim Chmerkovskiy attends Kari Feinstein's Style Lounge at Siren Studios on September 16, 2016 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rebecca Sapp/WireImage)
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2301' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with its most dynamic cast yet and ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images) AMBER ROSE, MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episode 2301' - 'Dancing with the Stars' is back with its most dynamic cast yet and ready to hit the ballroom floor. The competition begins with the two-hour season premiere, live, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 12 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images) MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, AMBER ROSE
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 07: Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Valentin Chmerkovskiy pose as Season 23 of 'Dancing With The Stars' meets the press at Planet Hollywood Times Square on September 7, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Bruce Glikas/Bruce Glikas/Getty Images)
DANCING WITH THE STARS - 'Episodes 2210A' - It's the closest race ever with some of the best dancing celebrities have ever pulled off. Ginger Zee and Valentin Chmerkovskiy, Nyle DiMarco and Peta Murgatroyd, and Paige VanZant and Mark Ballas have one last night of competitive dancing, vying to win the judges' and America's votes to be crowned the 'Dancing with the Stars' champion, culminating an incredible season, announced live TUESDAY, MAY 24 (9:00-11:00 p.m. EDT), on the ABC Television Network. (Eric McCandless/ABC via Getty Images) MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, VALENTIN CHMERKOVSKIY
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 28: Maksim Chmerkovskiy visits AOL Build at AOL Studios on April 28, 2016 in New York, New York. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
DANCING WITH THE STARS - Episode 2205 - 'America's Switch Up' has really changed up the competition this week, as fan engagement through social media has helped to 'switch up' the nine remaining couples, as the celebrities and professional dancers swap partners, on 'Dancing with the Stars,' live, MONDAY, APRIL 18 (8:00-10:01 p.m. EDT) on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Adam Taylor/ABC via Getty Images) CARRIE ANN INABA, LEN GOODMAN, MAKSIM CHMERKOVSKIY, BRUNO TONIOLI
LAS VEGAS, NV - APRIL 20: Choreographer Maksim Chmerkovskiy (L) and dancer Tony Dovolani arrive at the Liquid Pool Lounge for the kickoff of Derek Jeter's celebrity invitational at the Aria Resort & Casino on April 20, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Gabe Ginsberg/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 21: Professional dancers and TV personalities Maksim Chmerkovskiy and Peta Murgatroyd teach shoppers dance moves to help keep active & fit at JCPenney on January 21, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Desiree Navarro/WireImage)
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How did this partnership with Swiffer come about?

It's something that I actually use! We get a lot of requests to partner with brands, but I can't lie because I'm a straight-shooter. If you're going to have me promote something that I don't use, it's going to come across very unnatural. I always will recommend Swiffer, because it's simple. Nowadays, my phone has 47 different things it connects to via bluetooth and the last thing I want is for Swiffer to come out with some kind of complicated thing. No, I don't need that. I want it to be exactly as it is -- simple and designed to do what it does.

They're celebrating their 18th birthday, which is adulthood, if you will. I thought I was an adult for many years, and then I had a baby and realized that I was still a baby myself. [Laughs] So, with all of these new changes in my life, this partnership made sense. For me, Swiffer makes me look good and that I know what I'm doing. But, in reality, it just does the whole job [of cleaning] for me.

Have you been picking up the slack around the house since Shai was born?

I have! And with love and no second thoughts. I had a traditional upbringing, which wasn't to say that it was [a] "wife cleans, man provides" [mentality], but I'm a millennial. I want Peta to be happy with her career first and foremost, and I wanted to provide her with an environment in which she doesn't need to worry about the little things. So, that's where I pick up the slack in terms of cleaning and just providing things.

So, you want her to feel supported.

Yeah, but not supportive with just a pat on the back to tell her she's doing a good job. No, supportive in that she gets up and knows that the fridge will be stocked and the place will be clean and anything else will be taken care of. She doesn't need to worry about those things. Just think about the baby and, you know, slowly get herself back out there. Now, she's back on "Dancing With the Stars" two months after having a baby! To me, that's amazing.

I was going to say, it must be quite the balancing act to both be back on "Dancing With the Stars" while also taking care of your two-month-old.

We have a phenomenal baby nurse. It wasn't something that I planned on; it was something that just happened. All of our friends were telling us, "Don't be that couple that just says, 'Oh my mom will take care of the baby!'" No, don't do that. We wanted mom to enjoy the baby and then be able to go home. [The baby nurse] is also trained in nursing. Her overall experience is basically that of a professional mother, so that's priceless for us as new parents. It's invaluable for Peta to know that this isn't a problem -- he's not crying because something is wrong, he's crying because he just wants to be put to bed, and he doesn't go to bed just like we do. You have to put him to bed. Those things were nerve-wracking at the beginning, and [the baby nurse] has made them so much easier for us.

Getting back to "Dancing With the Stars," a lot has been made of your partner, Heather Morris', background as a professional dancer. What do you make of that reaction?

I'm having a blast just being in her company and dancing with her and not being limited by her inabilities. We've had professional dancers in the past who had previously crossed over to become an actor or a singer or entertainer. So, I'm not worried about what people are going to say. I just want everybody to understand that the show is not what I thought it was back when I was talking back to the judges and saying "this is not fair" or "why is this person here?" It's not that I've changed and have now become a hypocrite now that the shoe is on the other foot. You've known me for 15 years now and, if you watch the show, you'll know I'm not that person.

The way I look at this now is that, Heather comes from a dance background, which is our world. It's not ballroom, but it's our world, anyway. There has never been a dancer invited to be on "Dancing With the Stars" and given the opportunity to further her career the way that this show has done for hundreds of other careers. To deny her because she's "better," well, first of all, we've yet to see that and secondly, she also just had two kids and took a hiatus. You know, I'm just happy for her. If I wasn't her partner and had nothing to do with "Dancing With the Stars," then, yeah I would probably say "How is that even...?" But, halfway through the sentence I would realize it's happened before. So, you know what, congrats to Heather Morris, and this is a huge step for everybody in the dance community.

Who do you see as your biggest competition going into the season?

I'm not calling anything or saying anything, but I think [my brother] Val and Normani [Kordei] are going to do amazing. I think that I gotta keep it in the family: I think Peta and Nick are going to do great, given where he comes from. He also looks mighty similar to Nyle [DiMarco], if I do say so myself, in some of his movement, and her partnership with Nyle ended up with the trophy against, by the way, some of the people who were also dancers in the past. You never know! Nothing is a given. So far, every time we rehearse, we just smash our knees into one another. I've never had this in my entire career -- I've never hit knees with someone that much. Let's wait and see what happens.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

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