When you hear the words “shiplap” you think of her. When you turn on HGTV you see her. When you visit Waco TX you try to find her.
She is an exceptional designer, the unofficial mayor of Waco, and looks like a goddess. There is however more ] to Joanna Gaines than you might realize. She is the modern mom, finding a balance between pursuing her dreams and investing in her family life, just like you and me.
I had the unique privilege of spending the day with this boss mom. It happened on a hot, humid, good ole Texas day in September. We were at their picturesque homestead to shoot the Gaines for the cover of our magazine.
As you can imagine, I was majorly girl crushing while trying to keep it professional. As I waited for the Gaines’ to arrive I was anxious, excited, nervous, all of the above. The reality of who she is and what we have in common hit me like a ton of bricks and quickly helped my nerves subside when I was finally able to meet her.
The fact is, she is a working mom, just like the rest of us.
The first thing Joanna did when they arrived back at their compound was not to complain of exhaustion after her long day of shooting their insanely popular tv show. Rather she jumped right into being “mom”.
Those real-life moments kept occurring during our time together. From Joanna taking time to be in the garden with her little ones to not allowing a TV in the house, I started seeing her not as someone famous, but rather as a mother, just like me, trying to crush this whole motherhood thing.
Shortly after our time together, she announced she was pregnant with her fifth child at the age of 40. Like many of us with a new baby, she has had to figure out what her new normal looks like. From factoring in taking time to be on maternity leave while also caring for and spending time with her other kiddos, giving time to her husband, and continuing to pursue her own entrepreneurial endeavors.
I have continued to watch Joanna thrive at mommyhood and while also killing it at chasing her entrepreneurial dreams and found that there are three things Joanna Gaines can teach us about maternity leave, but really also being a mother in general.
You Don’t Have To Be Perfect
While she looks like she has it all under control, Joanna is the first to share with the world and her fans that there is no way to keep it all together when you are a mother. Especially when you have a newborn and are trying to keep a family afloat. We are all super moms but even superheroes need breaks and not every day is going to be perfect.
“I realized that my determination to make things perfect meant I was chasing an empty obsession all day long. Nothing was ever going to be perfect the way I had envisioned it in the past. Did I want to keep spending my energy on that effort, or did I want to step out of that obsession and to enjoy my kids, maybe allowing myself to get messy right along with them in the process? I chose the latter – and that made all the difference.”
Just Keep Swimming
If anyone knows about life throwing you a curve ball its Joanna. She was at the top of her career and had a well-oiled machine when it came to her family life. Then she found out she was pregnant. Was it a surprise? Yes. However, instead of letting her mind spiral out of control wondering what was going to happen she embraced it. She knocked that curveball out of the park. Be open to the unexpected.
“It’s sweet how, even in the most unpredictable ways, we’re given exactly what we need for that exact moment in time,” Joanna explained. “It wasn’t something I could have anticipated. But being pregnant and ‘forced’ to slow down has been a gift.”
Dare to Dream
While maternity leave is a moment for you to take time out of the chaos to enjoy your new baby, it is also a wonderful time to dream. To let your mind wander and to lean into the ambition inside you. Joanna Gaines took full advantage of her slower-paced schedule and used her maternity leave to fuel her new entrepreneurial dreams. She launched a new TV network, worked on opening a coffee shop in her hometown, and continued to chase other aspirations while fully stepping into the type of mother she wants to be (keep in mind she was already a mother before this baby).
“Find what it is that inspires you, go and find what it is that you love, and go do that until it hurts. Don’t quit, and don’t give up. The reward is just around the corner.”
While we may not be famous or have the bank account that Joanna Gaines has, we are all mothers dealing with the same insecurities and emotions. Remember Mamma, the newborn and maternity leave stage is temporary. However, this is the stage of your life that will set the foundation for the rest of your motherhood journey.
Joanna didn’t start out where she is today, and its all relative. She works hard every day to find a balance. Balancing working while being a new mom and being a loving parent & partner to her four children and husband. With a little work, focus, and intentionality every day, we can get there too.