A Letter to Moms April 29, 2016 I love that we set aside a whole day to honor and celebrate the women who raised us. My mom was an amazing mother who dedicated her life to her three daughters. She was selfless yet strong- and the most beautiful woman I know. Mother’s Day holds a special place in my own heart because of the little ones who made me a mom. I love waking up to their little feet bringing me the handmade gifts they’ve poured their hearts into making. These are the moments that remind me motherhood is a gift, and fostering these little people’s growth is my favorite job of all. Every year as Mother’s Day gets close, I get a little nostalgic about my kids and how much celebrating them in the day-to-day means to me. So today I wanted to sit down and type up a little letter to all moms, encouraging you to fully appreciate the season you’re in, and also to share some of the challenges and triumphs I’ve experienced as a mom. As a quick side note, when I started writing this post it was all about the joy of motherhood—but when I thought about all the strong moms around me, it didn’t take me long to realize the name “mom” isn’t easy to come by. These mothers have fought infertility, miscarriage or even the loss of a child. So whether you’re a mom right in the middle of raising your babies, or you find yourself in the throes of immense pain—this day is for all of us. You are enough. I think at times all moms get this insecure feeling of “I’m not doing enough.” As a working mom, it’s the hardest when my kids grab onto me as I’m walking out the door and say, “Mommy please stay home!” I don’t want to ignore that, so I always explain to them that being with them is my favorite thing in the world. I explain that I have to work just like they have to go to school. I also let them know what I’m doing at work that day—whether it’s filming the show or going into the office—and what time I’ll be home. Taking a few seconds to let them in on this other huge part of my life has really helped them understand that mom and dad have a big job to do. I have had to find creative ways to connect with the kids during the day now that I work, to let them know I am always thinking of them. I’ll send them a little note in their lunchbox or surprise them and pick them up early from school for a fun date. When I was staying home these same feelings of “not doing enough” would find their way into my mind. In that season I spent a lot of time focusing on balance. Nap time was when I got things done. Whether it was folding laundry, prepping dinner, writing my blog or doing design work—that was my time. It was important I kept myself creatively fed during those years, so I never let myself be filled with feelings of discontent. I hope if you’re in this season now you’ll take the time to allow yourself a few minutes a day to do what you love, too. I found it was the thing that kept me balanced and energized. Taking the time. The young stage my kids are in is the sweetest. Chip and I are their favorite people and they still stop what they’re doing to greet us at the door when we get home. I really want to savor this season for as long as I can. When I get home from work I try and leave my phone in the car and make that intentional effort to play and connect face to face with them. Even when I’m tired at the end of a long day, it’s fuel to see the look in their eyes when I ask them to cook with me or go play outside. As a mom, sometimes I have to change my mindset and remind myself what’s important. I only have so many hours a day to spend with these sweet, little people. And they won’t be little forever. So I get up and keep moving. The littlest things. The details have always mattered to me, especially when it comes to my kids. Whether I’m making cereal for breakfast or a big, fancy dinner, I want them to know that celebrating them in small ways in everyday life is a big deal to me. When Chip and I are traveling a lot, the first thing I want to do when I get home is cook. I want my kids to have the security that when momma’s home, there will be a good meal. At my birthday breakfast a couple weeks ago, Chip had the kids go around the table to say what they love most about Mom, and each one of their answers was that I cook for them. I’ve been cooking since they were born, and I’ve never heard them say anything like that. The fact that they notice and feel provided for in the kitchen was a sweet moment for me. Motherhood can be difficult. It’s not an instant gratification thing all the time. When your kiddos are just babies and you’re changing diapers or listening to whining constantly, it can feel overwhelming. But I want to encourage you, because one day you’ll be sitting around a table for your birthday breakfast and you’ll realize that their little hearts are thankful for you. And they do notice things like mom’s homemade meals. I hope you feel so loved and celebrated this Mother’s Day. And no matter what season you find yourself in, just know that you are doing enough, and you are loved and appreciated. Take a few moments today to look around and appreciate your children and the stage they’re in. I know for me, the thought of them growing up and moving off makes me want to burst into tears! So this Mother’s Day I plan to milk it for all it’s worth, and squeeze them just a little longer. Tag me on Instagram (@joannagaines)—I’d love to see what you and your kids are up to this coming Mother’s Day!