These mamas know best! While recently sitting down with her good friend Jenna Bush Hager, mom-of-five Joanna Gaines opened up about the many ups and downs that come with being a parent and candidly revealed why motherhood means “everything” to her.

“Motherhood means everything to me,” Joanna, 40, told mom-of-two Jenna, 37, in Southern Living magazine’s latest issue. “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.

Joanna also surprisingly revealed that she’s taken aback on a daily basis by the amount of love she receives from her five cute children. “You just think kids will fit into your life, and then I had these babies and didn’t realize how they would have every string of my heart. Everything I do, from the moment I get into my car to drive to work, I’m thinking, ‘Did I do everything I could to make those kids know that I love them?’ I’m a segmented person, but there is not a moment when they’re not in my mind. I never thought it would be like that,” she said.

As for her younger years before kids and her husband, Chip Gaines, Joanna said, “I was a homebody. Just being with my family at home is when I felt the most loved, the most known, and the most valued. That was my safe place and I loved it. Even in college, when I lived in an apartment in Waco, [Texas] with friends, I longed for home.”

Nowadays, the Fixer Upper star’s moments are filled with kids, love and lots of shiplap. And she’s definitely still learning about being a mom — especially when it comes to the guilt that comes along with being a parent.

Joanna Gaines Chip Gaines
Courtesy of Chip Gaines

“I’ve been through plenty of stages of guilt. It always creeps in. It paralyzes me,” Jo revealed. “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.”

Now that her four older kids — Drake, 13, Ella Rose, 11, Duke, 10, and Emmie Kay, 8 — have grown up a bit, she’s had to learn how to be a mom to a newborn again with baby Crew, 8 months. “Since having Crew, I’ve been so much more sensitive to all of this,” Joanna admitted. “I feel like I was born to do every single thing in my life that I am doing now. And I have a lot of help. I want to be that person who encourages other moms.

She added, “I remember those times when I was home and couldn’t even take a shower. 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.” We love moms supporting other moms!