Interview by Lauren Douglass
How do you capture the grace, soul and love that’s in everything parents do for their kids? America’s favorite mommy blogger, Vicki Reece has an exciting new book that aims to do just that. Through its heartfelt collection of inspirational quotes, song lyrics and poems set to touching photography, The Joy of Mom: Celebrating a Mother’s Love offers a lasting tribute to the beauty of motherhood just in time for Mother’s Day.
Reece is mother of three who has made headlines across the country as a pioneer in the children’s toy world. Before turning to projects like her Joy of Mom blog (joyofmom. com), she created and launched the first ever interactive music and dance computer software and videos that replaced the violence of Saturday morning programs with positive and uplifting messages geared toward empowering youth. Now, she’s extended her mission beyond the field of toys and entertainment to address the needs and desires of families everywhere: to cherish, embrace and make the most out of every moment of their children’s youth.
Tell me a little about the inspiration for the book.
I’ve been on this journey a long time. What I always really wanted was to share inspiration and beauty by capturing the moments of love between mothers and children. My whole life I’ve been collecting and writing and curating fascinating quotes. I’ve got pages and pages and pages from my whole life, lots just written in journals. I started sharing all this on Facebook with posters and daily quotes, and a friend of mine who was following them introduced me to someone who is a CEO of a company that puts together inspirational stories and books. He saw my content, asked for a little more, and I’m crazy organized so I quickly shared some of what I’ve been curating over the past four years: the quotes, lyrics, and the work of some of the most beautiful photographers.
Each photographer is a mom, and each one’s story is a more beautiful than the next. Gigi is one example. She’s a gorgeous French woman who lives in Canada and growing up, she had a horrible relationship with her mother. So her mission in life was to capture the essence of love between mothers and their children, and every time she does, she heals a little bit.
Everybody always asks, why do you love these quotes and pictures about mothers so much? I think it’s because it’s real! You feel the emotion, you feel the moment, you feel the love. After everything I’d been doing on Facebook, the book was really an organized collection of my favorites and best of. I hunkered down for about four months and created Joy of Mom.
Since you already have a successful blog, why did you want to do the book now?
My dream was to do something that would come out around Mother’s Day to celebrate moms with something that is a keepsake. This could be a coffee table book, an in-yourpurse book, a read and share book. I’ve shared the galley copies with a few friends, two of whose mothers’ recently passed away. It evoked so much emotion for them in a really positive way.
I wanted something lasting. It wasn’t enough for me. I probably have 4,000 quotes and photos that I’ve posted on Facebook, but they’re not easy to find! I wanted something that could be in every home to remind moms every day of the beauty, the finesse, the blessing of being a mom – and to realize in the moment, you blink and your kids are in college! Sometimes you get lost in all the business, which I think happens way too often.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from being a mother?
I would say you can never know the level and the depth of unconditional love your heart holds – that you can really have your heart outside of your body when you have children. My kinds are 20, 22 and almost 24 and there’s not a moment that I don’t feel connected, that I’m not thinking about them, that I wouldn’t be by their side in a New York second. It’s being the best of who you can be, the highest of who you can be to be and the best mom you can be, all so you can inspire and nurture and positively shape and impact your kids so this is a better world and that they’re coming from a place of joy.
How did you get started with the blog?
I had been doing this on Facebook for about four years and I wanted to create a platform that was all about inspiring and empowering moms. So we did the homework for them, and feature them all these mom-made, clean, green and sustainable madewith-love products and resources and links. We’re also going to start featuring blogs we love. It’s really just a place that is all things good for moms and motherhood, from A to Z.
Having the balance to appreciate those little moments with your child while also running your household and possibly your career is such a challenge. How do you balance it, and have you always had a career?
Always. I’m a poster child for a working mom! That was my inspiration for my book – because you blink, and they’re grown up! I had to work, first of all, although it was blessed to be doing things I was passionate about. But I was also fortunate that my husband left his career to be a stay at home dad so I could build my career. It’s been beyond stressful because we put our whole lives financially into this, but I just believed there needed to be a company that was all about good for moms, purely for and purely by moms. As far as dealing with the balance, I’ve always been a work in progress! I post a lot about it, I blog about it and everything I blog about is personal experience.
Tell me some of the ways you use positive messages in your household.
It’s really our foundation; it’s how we live. We walk our walk. It’s how we parent. My kids are the same way, which I think is the greatest gift. They not only see it and hear it and heed it, but they live it as well. As far as actionable steps, at dinner we’d often bring our favorites quotes and talk about them. We’d also, as we talked, always look for the positive in every lesson. My children are very compassionate, and they not only carry that with them, but they inspire others who inspire others and so on.
Do you think having positive affirmation makes you a happier person?
Absolutely. We often are reminded to think about how we talk to other people but we don’t always think about how we talk to ourselves. I think there is such power in positive thinking. Of course people need to give room and space to things that are negative and resolve those, but I tend to jump to the positive; I think I’m just wired that way! But no matter what, you have to honor the lesson, learn from it, and find the positive. And that makes all the difference.
If you had to narrow it down to a couple of sayings, what makes you who you are?
I would say my heart. I’ve always been, I was the littlest in class, and I was always walking with the kids who were getting bullied. I’ve always really, really felt that I didn’t know how much time I had on this planet, but that I had to do some good with it! For me, that’s making a difference for moms and their children.
When they hear about the Joy of Mom project, everyone who knows me is like oh of course you’d be doing this – even friends who know me from kindergarten! They say, “You were always the positive one,” or “You’re the only person who was nice to me in middle school.” Stories that make me tear up even as I tell them. I think this is something I was sent to do and had to do.