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JoAnna Garcia Swisher on practicing self-care as a mom: 'I have my very own recharging room'

JoAnna Garcia Swisher opens up about parenting two daughters. (Photo: Getty)
JoAnna Garcia Swisher opens up about parenting two daughters. (Photo: Getty)

Welcome to So Mini Ways, Yahoo Life's parenting series on the joys and challenges of childrearing.

Sweet Magnolias star JoAnna Garcia Swisher is making personal recharge a priority so she can be “present” for her two daughters: Emerson, 9, and Sailor, 6. Speaking to Yahoo Life as part of her partnership with Mrs. T’s Pierogies for its “All-Star Moms” contest, the actress shared what parenting is like at this stage for her family.

“One’s in first grade, one’s in fourth. They’re definitely dealing socially with different things, and Sailor’s blossoming into this elementary school kid — not a kindergartener anymore — which is devastating,” says Swisher, who is married to former baseball star Nick Swisher. Her younger daughter recently got her first valentine from a boy, just another sign the girls are growing up. “It was cute, she was very excited about it.”

Swisher says she’s trying to savor the fleeting moments. “I’m really trying to focus in on the now and really appreciate it," the former Reba star says. "It does go fast, and it’s ever-changing, but each stage is really beautiful in its own way.”

For the time-being, Swisher says her peak moments for connecting with her kids come when she's with them in the car, or getting them ready for their showers and bedtime. Playing it cool as the girls drop information and move on with their day is key, she says. “I try to act kind of interested," she jokes. "I’m interested but I’m not like panicking."

In order to be fully present as a mom during those moments, Swisher makes sure she's taken care of her own needs. “I have my very own recharging room,” she says, pointing out that she’ll be designing one as well for the winner of the Mrs. T's Pierogies “All-Star Mom” $20,000 giveaway (nominations run from Feb. 28 to March 28).

The mom of two is helping Mrs. T's Pierogies treat an
The mom of two is helping Mrs. T's Pierogies treat an "All-Star Mom" to a "recharging room" designed by the actress. (Photo: Press Photo)

“I’m just trying to exercise a little bit more, and really give to myself in that way, and my recharging room is all about reading," she shares. "I’m an avid reader and I feel like when things get so busy, instead of picking up my phone to scroll through Instagram or read the news, which can be kind of stressful, I’ve been trying to pick up my books.” She says that creating a space to do that is essential for her own self-care. Lately, she’s been reading the novel Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen, and tends to have four or five books in the mix.

Showing up for her daughters also means helping instill in them some significant life lessons right now, at their pivotal ages. Swisher says she’s working to help them bolster their self-confidence, noting that their ability to trust in who they are and what they believe will help them advocate for themselves in a variety of situations.

“I think most everything comes from within. So if they have that strength within them, and feel good about themselves, they can have more compassion for children who are kind of coming at them a little [differently], or you can understand a little bit more about why the big emotions are happening,” she says. “That is something they can always reach back into ... they can navigate that a little bit more.”

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