Peekaboo, I See You
Girlfriend, I see you hiding behind that mask. If we learned nothing else in 2020, it’s life is too short to play pretend when you’re grown—especially since we see you struggling to keep up appearances.
So, how about dropping the mask and getting real with me?
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Episode 13 transcript
I am from THE best city in the world but I would never have guessed the impact it would have on my motherhood. What city is that you ask? I’ll be happy to tell you.
What a bold statement! Saying I’m from the best city in the world!
If you’re from a different major city, those would be fighting words, but I mean no harm, I’m just being honest.
One of the beauties—and burdens—of New Yorkers is we say what we mean and we say it right away.
With, or without a word, we let you know what we think.
We do it when you stop your car in the middle of the road for no apparent reason.
We’re saying something when we walk past your tip jar during your performance on the subway platform AND with our side eye when you try to serve us a cold pizza slice.
Yeah, we want that slice piping hot.
Whether irritated, sad, excited or focused, it’s all over a New Yorker’s face.
And if you misinterpret our expression, we’ll be sure to set you straight!
There’s no place like NYC and I wouldn’t trade growing up there for anything!
So, when you’re brought up in such an authentic place—it’s hard to fake it in life, to play a role for appearance’s sake, because unless you’re on Broadway—honey, why bother.
And yet there are mothers faking every day.
I see you hiding behind masked smiles and “Oh yes, everything’s good!” Trying to convince us you have it under control, all the while harboring secret struggles in parenting.
And I wonder why that is.
I see you on the verge of tears, your shoulders slumped in embarrassment when your 8-year-old tells you what to do and who’s public outbursts shame you into compliance.
You didn’t get there all of a sudden.
That’s years of masked mothering in a social circle too busy holding up their masks up to help you lower yours.
And now the stakes are higher than ever. Parenting has never been more public and complicated than it is now.
Social media brings a whole new meaning to keeping up with the Jones’s.
We’ve turned our feeds into reality tv to escape the frustrating truth we need community with transparent moms.
The kind you can you share your issues raising a strong-willed child, without getting a blank stare and awkward silence in return.
There are two communities I’ve been blessed to be a part of: homeschooling and the military.
Say what you want to about homeschoolers, but like military families they have a whole set of experiences that set them apart from the mainstream and cause them to band together.
So, in my homeschool days, we talked about everything because there are too few people who understood our experience.
Besides, you’re with each other so often everyone notices if your 5-year-old talked back to you and rolled her eyes.
You couldn’t laugh that off or put a filter on it because you weren’t fooling anybody. And you didn’t have to because they understood.
Instead, you asked your fellow homeschool mama how she dealt with it, or you asked wearily, “Pray for me, girl!”
And that’s exactly what we did for each other in that homeschool coop, and still do when we can catch up.
Do YOU have a group of women, even one woman you can be real with? You need one for life in general, but particularly in your mom circles.
Do these mom friends need to have the answers to your parenting problems—no.
But do you have one who will listen, who can relate to what you’re going through and who’s insight you’re open to.
I heard someone I respect say, “You can’t read a label from inside the bottle.”
Let me say it again so you don’t have to rewind, “You can’t read a label from inside the bottle.”
Sometimes, you need the perspective of an outside observer because you’ve been knee deep in the mess so long it’s become your norm.
HOWEVER, make sure you’re open to what she shares with you! This is not the time to be Super Sensitive Sheila—no offense to the Sheila’s listening. If she’s a friend, then she’s speaking from a place of love.
And if you don’t have authentic moms in your circle—then it’s the perfect time to broaden your circle.
And while you’re at it, find transparent women from a variety of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
Bishop T.D. Jakes said something recently that was so profound: there’s no fruition in sameness. New Yorker translation: you won’t grow only hanging around people who are just like you.
When you open up, not only will you discover you’re not the only one going through your situation, you may pick up a perspective on it you wouldn’t have otherwise, and maybe even a strategy to address it.
But you won’t know till you drop the mask.
You know, peekaboo was one of my favorite games to play with my patients and my kids.
It never gets old how babies really think you disappear behind your hands. Then they’re surprised to see you reappear.
And some of us think we’re completely hidden behind the facades we show the world, but peekaboo I see you!
If we learned nothing else this year, its life is too short to play pretend when you’re grown.
So be brave and tell the truth of your mom-life with other mothers you can look in the eye—virtually or in person.
Because you have kids to raise, generations to impact, and nothing to prove to mamas in the same boat as you.
Well, that’s it for our real talk today. I look forward to next time together.
Speaking of which, what would YOU like to talk about? As in any good conversation, those involved take turns leading it. So, head on over to vinelifefaith.com/podcast and click the link to leave me a message about what’s on your mind.
If selected, your question or comment—in your voice—will be the featured conversation starter in a future episode.
Because your voice and your story matter.
So, until next time, remember, when it comes to you being the mother of your children—YOU are the woman for the job! Take care.