Gina Neely knows what it's like to be a busy mom. She (along with her husband, Pat) hosts two shows on the Food Network including the popular Down Home With the Neelys, owns three barbecue restaurants, and now writes cookbooks—all the while being mom to daughters Spenser, 20, and Shelbi, 14.
Despite her hectic schedule, Gina says her top priority is her daughters; she wants them to know they they come first. I know a lot of busy moms can empathize with this.
In honor of Mother's Day, all the Daily Buzz bloggers are talking to celebrity moms. Be sure to check them out after reading Gina's thoughts on motherhood here!
What is the most important lesson that motherhood has taught you?
The biggest lesson I've learned is that I don't know everything that I thought I did. Motherhood has taught me to be honest, and if I make a mistake with my girls, then I own up to it. We talk about everything. With the way the world is going—with all this new technology—we have to stay in touch with our kids and encourage them to talk to us. I try to find a nice balance between being their friend and being their mom.
How has the state of the world today affected your view of motherhood? Has it changed the type of mom you are?
Absolutely. I have to read and get on the Internet myself to see what all this MySpace, YourSpace, etc. is about! I know technology is good, but I miss the days when I called my mom to ask her how she was doing. Our kids now have so much access to everything; we have to stay in tune with all the technology. But just because it's new, doesn't it's mean better. We get so caught up in doing things so quickly that we forget about basic etiquette, things like handwritten notes. I know those things are out of date. I'm like the old lady in the shoe: I like the old days. But that's why my girls and I get along so well: I'm open to new things, but I follow old school rules.
What's the best part of being a mom?
I want my girls to know that they come first. And sometimes that's hard, especially because we are on TV and we travel a lot. I don't want to be on phone when they get in the car. I want them to know that they are first. We do this thing where we would get up on Saturday mornings, have breakfast, and watch chick flicks and girl power movies. And I overheard my daughter say that I am a great multi-tasker. I didn't even know that she noticed, but when I heard that I knew she appreciated the time I spent with her. I'm trying to keep all these balls up in the air as mothers do. It is so rewarding when my children notice that.
What is the most important parenting lesson you learned from your own mother?
I have three sisters and one brother. My mother would let us be individuals. She encouraged us to be who we are, to have our own personality. I carry that lesson on with my own girls. My 20-year-old is reserved, but my 14-year-old is outgoing and funny. They have their own personalities. And that is great! Otherwise people will lump you together. I always encourage them to dance to their own beat even if no one else can hear the tune!
How do you plan to spend Mother's Day this year?
Hopefully, I'm at home! But we have a 17-city book tour then, so if we are traveling, whatever city we are in, I'm hoping the girls can come out and we can celebrate together. With this whole TV thing, you have to balance so much. It's good to have some sense of normalcy. It's tough out there with daughters because there are so many mean girls and so much peer pressure that you have to have sense of normalcy so they can be ready to be out in the real world. I always tell my daughters: Life is not a joke; you have to be ready for it. People always say to make lemonade, well I'm not making lemonade, I'm making margaritas!
What is your greatest wish for your daughters?
I want them to be happy and to have peace. It doesn't take a whole lot to have happiness when you are centered. I always tell my girls, whatever God wants for you, you will have it. Have your journey and don't beat yourself up because we all make your mistakes. I want them to be loving, intelligent, strong women who love their lives, are happy, and are nice to people and give back to people.
See how other celebrity moms answered these questions: