Joanna Gaines Shares Moving Message About Suffering ‘Mom Guilt’ That Every Woman Needs To Hear

by Kim Wong-Shing
Kim Wong-Shing is a staff writer at LittleThings. Her work spans beauty, wellness, pop culture, identity, food, and other topics. She is a contributing writer at NaturallyCurly, and her work has also appeared in HelloGiggles, Lifehacker, Wear Your Voice Magazine, and other outlets. She grew up in Philadelphia, attended Brown University, and is now based in New Orleans.

Joanna Gaines and her husband, Chip, welcomed their youngest son Crew earlier this summer. The reality TV stars also share four other children – Drake, 13; Ella Rose, 12; Duke, 9; and Emmie Kay, 8.

Now that there’s a newborn around, things have undoubtedly gotten more hectic in the Gaines household. But with such a large family, it’s important to Joanna that each one of her other kids still feels special. And although it’s not easy, Joanna does her absolute best to make sure of that.

On Sunday, the former Fixer Upper star posted a heartfelt message on Instagram about “mom guilt” and how to find quality time.

“I know at times it can be hard to find simple ways to connect with your kids,” the 40-year-old wrote.

“Especially in the tired and the hard and busy times in life. It can feel like it’s all or nothing.”

“I write all this for any of you out there who may experience ‘mom-guilt.’ I promise you that’s a never ending cycle that leads to nowhere. Replace the word guilt with grace.”

Accompanying the wise words, Joanna shared a few photos of a special moment she shared one-on-one with her youngest daughter, Emmie Kay.

Joanna is a designer, business owner, magazine founder, and restaurant owner, among other jobs. She’s also a mom of five, with her youngest child still an infant.

Basically, if anyone knows what it’s like to juggle a million responsibilities and never feel like you’re completely caught up, it’s Joanna!

In June, Joanna gave birth to her youngest child, Crew. Her older children — Drake, Ella Rose, Duke, and Emmie Kay — were beyond excited to have a baby brother around.

But caring for a newborn while also finding time to spend with four older kids isn’t easy. And as Joanna knows, moms can be harder on themselves about this than anyone else.

In a recent Instagram post, Joanna explained that she knows all about “mom guilt” and the struggle to squeeze in quality time with each child.

She started out by recounting a recent one-on-one moment she shared with Emmie Kay, her youngest daughter.

“I took Emmie Kay out to the garden this morning and I let her lead and I just followed along in her imaginations and her curiosities,” Joanna wrote. “In all honesty, I was too tired to come up with anything because mama and Crew haven’t been sleeping great these days.”

Emmie Kay came up with an idea: She wanted to press flowers into old books together, in places that only Joanna and Emmie Kay would know about.

“We gathered some large old books in the shed and picked out our favorite flowers from the garden and then wrote our names and date in the books. We also pressed some petals that we could frame later to remind us of this special morning in the garden,” Joanna continued.

“One of the sweetest surprises for us both was when we opened up one of the books and found that someone else had done the same thing with some pretty leaves many years ago. It was like we stumbled on a treasure that reinforced how we would feel when we find these flowers again one day.”

Joanna went on to explain why small moments like this are everything, “mom guilt” aside.

“I know at times it can be hard to find simple ways to connect with your kids. Especially in the tired and the hard and busy times in life,” she said. “It can feel like it’s all or nothing. But I really believe it’s somewhere in the middle where the grace is extended and these simple, unplanned moments are actually the sweetest.”

“I write all this for any of you out there who may experience ‘mom-guilt,'” she wrote. “I promise you that’s a never ending cycle that leads to nowhere. Replace the word guilt with grace. Look for grace in the moments, the small wins that lead to the greatest investments in their little hearts.”

Joanna then encouraged fellow moms to be easier on themselves. More gratitude, less criticism.

“From one mom to another, stop being so hard on yourself,” she insisted. “Don’t spend another second focusing on failure, instead use whatever time and whatever energy you have and look for the moments where grace can be found. Because I’m telling you, this grace is sufficient.”

And honestly, she’s so right. When Emmie Kay grows up, chances are that she’ll cherish little moments like this the most. As moms, it’s important not to forget that.

But overcoming the guilt is difficult. Judging by the comments on Joanna’s photo, other moms really needed to hear this message.

“Absolutely beautiful and absolutely true!” fellow celebrity mama Katherine Heigl commented.

“Amen! As a mama of soon-to-be 8, I have definitely had to learn the hard way that feeling like a failure doesn’t make me a better mom,” another mom wrote.

“You nailed it!” another commenter agreed. “Being the mom of five (and the grandmother of almost eight), I remember the guilt but also remember those special moments that gripped my heart and knew this time with a child was such a gift I would never forget.”

No matter how old your kids are, Joanna’s message is both touching and relatable. Recognizing the grace in the little things is infinitely more useful than beating yourself up endlessly. And it feels much better, too.