Joanna Gaines Opens Up About Feeling Mom Guilt and Connecting With Her Children

Joanna Gaines takes a lot of pride in being a mother to five adorable kiddos, but even she sometimes feels as though she isn't doing enough. In a new interview with Southern Living, the author and Fixer Upper star spoke to Jenna Bush Hager and opened up about the guilt she sometimes feels as a mother, and how she manages to get rid of it by building connections with her children.

"I've been through plenty of stages of guilt," she said. "It always creeps in. It paralyzes me. I don't want to waste a second of emotion on something that doesn't create any good. I think, 'What can I do to show my kids that I love them?' Even if it's making a cup of hot cocoa, which takes a few minutes. It's about finding little ways to connect." When it comes to finding those ways to connect, Gaines, who is gearing up to release a children's book about gardening, also sees the value in tending to the family's garden with her kids, citing that "it does something to your heart as a mom."

"Motherhood means everything to me. Everything else in my life can go away, but that's my thing. That's what wakes me up. It's my heart — these kids."

"I'd spend a day pulling weeds, and the children would come out and help. Soon, they started loving it, too," she said. "Nurturing plants together does something, and it was a simple way to connect with my kids — and I think that's the reason for this book." Even though she has a lot on her plate in the moment — between authoring a handful of books and owning a design brand — it's being a mother that Gaines feels is the most important job of all. "Motherhood means everything to me," she told Hager. "Everything else in my life can go away, but that's my thing. That's what wakes me up. It's my heart — these kids."

Gaines welcomed her fifth child, Crew, to her family in June 2018. Since having another baby, she's revealed that she's become "so much more sensitive to all of this," and hopes to encourage other moms to celebrate small victories and to avoid being overly critical of themselves.

"I remember those times when I was home and couldn't even take a shower," she said. "When you're on social media, you need to step back and say, 'My life is going to look different — and it should look different.' Celebrate others doing little things as well as big things, and celebrate yourself by saying, 'This is what I was meant to do.' I really want women to feel encouraged. Know that you are doing enough. Own yourself." Head over to Southern Living to read Gaines's full interview.