Episode 25

Motherhood Unmasked Podcast with Vanessa A. Harris Episode 25 Slay the Cycles

Slay the Cycles

Did you know, when it comes to what gets passed down your family line, you have the power to say, “Not on my watch!” That’s where Mama BARE and Mama BEAR become one in the same.

Come on in and find out how to slay the family cycles! 

Homework: 7 Questions to Help You Identify Dysfunctional Family Dynamics

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Episode 25 Transcript

You have the power to say, “Not on my watch.” Let’s talk about slaying cycles on episode 25 of Motherhood Unmasked.

Hey there Mama Bare, Vanessa here with more compassion, candor and clarity for you. And if you’re a mom who knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed by it all, then Im so glad you’re here.

And here’s what I know as a pediatrician and mom of 3: it’s so easy for you to get stuck focusing on the practical aspects of motherhood—that daily grind.

Not just you—me too and most moms.

From day one you’re quickly obsessed with how well and how often your baby feeds, her number of wet diapers, his number of poop diapers and how quickly you can get him to sleep through the night.

Then you graduate to potty training and before you know it, you’re taxiing them to an endless number of events and activities because the patterns of motherhood—that repetitive hum—cycles from one season of parenting to the next.

It’s a rhythm that if you’re not careful will lull you into thinking the busyness of motherhood is all there is to it.

Oh, but it’s not. There are other cycles at play.

Cycles that run down family lines so stealthily that by the time you recognize them, they’ve gotten the upper hand.

I’m telling on my age—and I’m blown away that I’m at the age where one says I’m telling on my age—but anyway unless you’re a millennial or younger, you remember the days of LPs aka records.

So you know there’s an A side and a B side?

And remember how people warned you not to play certain albums on the B side because the artist hid demonic messages on them?

But the first thing you did was run and play the B side.

Don’t tell me that was just me and my friends!

Well, family cycles can be that B side on a record except they don’t need you to intentionally play them.

They’re always playing in the background—wreaking havoc.

And if you’re so busy running in circles, you’ll miss the cycles undermining your family and legacy.

If you’re on my email list—and if you’re not and you’re a regular listener, why aren’t you?

It’s the way to access practical resources like chore charts and soul food like 10 Powerful Meditations for Moms.

All you have to do is sign up at vinelifefaith.com/podcast.

Anyway, if you’re on the list, you know I refer to you as Mama Bare—B.A.R.E—because at Motherhood Unmasked we’re moms with the courage to bare it all when it comes to the challenges of motherhood so our parenting leaves a powerful legacy.

But I presume you’re the other kind of mama bear too.

You know the B. E. A. R. kind who becomes super human when your child is in danger.

Well, generational cycles can be more devastating than a physical villain because the casualty count is higher.

It’s no secret on this podcast that growing up my mom and I were not close at all.

Now I love my mom and accept her for who she is, but a close relationship wasn’t something she seemed able or interested in having.

And since I’ve always studied people, I noticed she often felt offended by me over things that seemed silly or outright false.

And it played itself out as the defensiveness of one victimized.

And recognizing that, I decided I’d be the kind of woman to skip the blame shifting and own my stuff.

And there’s been plenty to own over the years but I thought I was plugging along fine—until my daughter turned 8.

I noticed my sweet and gracious girl switch like Sybil, get offended over the most ridiculous things and point the blame at everyone but herself.

Now I know what you’re thinking—Vanessa, that’s EVERY girl that age.

And as a pediatrician I’m well aware of developmental stages, but this was different.

Not only is it not like her, she sounded and behaved like her grandmother, though they haven’t spent a lot of time together.

And since I’m the link they have in common, it made me look at me.

Do I own it when I’m wrong? Check, I do.

And have I been known to take offense and rehearse what others did to me?

Check. Oh Yes! So now that I saw the pattern, how did I address it?

First, by identifying the cycle.

And when I stepped back, I recognized it clearly: feel rejected, get offended then feel victimized—focusing on the person causing us pain instead of sitting with it and processing our part in the matter.

Rejection was a wound passed down from my mom to me and now threatened to undo my daughter’s compassionate nature.

But not on my watch.

My mom is well into her 70s. I can’t speak for her willingness to change behavior patterns at this point.

But in order to have the relationship I want with MY daughter and leave a better legacy, the cycle would have to stop with me.

And the truth is when you’re rejected by someone so integral to your life, you’re left a little—twitchy.

So although I’m good at recognizing my part in conflicts and not playing the victim with those who offend me, I realized through prayer, journaling and counseling I harbored resentment that I needed to admit and confront because it left me guarded in my relationships with women and my daughter—most importantly.

Side note: You do know your daughter picks up more from you than how to cook spaghetti, fold laundry or how to close a business deal. Right?

She picks up your attitude and your mannerisms AND the wounds you don’t outright share but fester below the surface—because parenting is more caught than taught.

So what did I do? I exposed the cycle.

I sat my daughter down and told her how being quick to take offense has been an issue in our family from my mom down, although I suspect it existed before.

My mom doesn’t talk about her upbringing. And my grandmother passed away in Jamaica when I was 10, so I didn’t get to ask her much about her childhood.

But I told my daughter about mine and taught her it’s the tendency to get easily offended that keeps women divided—so we’d have to be intentional about not giving room to the spirit of offense.

If we hurt each other we’d speak up and share the wound instead of stew in it.

And it’s amazing how shining light disrupts things that flourish in the dark.

Because now it’s easier to forgive women who wound me, and only own my part in sticky situations without getting defensive—even with my mom.

And my daughter and I are quicker to talk things out before settling into the old cycle of offense.

It’s crazy, when I wonder about how long that cycle wrecked the mother-daughter dynamics and other female relationships in my family line?

I really have no idea.

Nor the price we paid as a family letting it go unchecked? And I’m grateful for the courage to say it stops with me.

So, what’s been traveling down your family tree, rearing it’s ugly head over and over? You already know addictions run in families, but so do negative mindsets and destructive habits for handling hurt.

If there’s going to be healing, someone has to: Stop, Learn the pattern, Assess the cause, and Yank up the mindset feeding the cycle.

So, why not you?

Is it easy? No, but neither was childbirth, and you did what you had to to get it done—even if it meant a c-section. And shout out to the mamas who’ve had c-sections! We took one for the team!

However you delivered your babies, you fought to bring them into the world. Are they worth the fight to help them live free?

This week’s homework is to start slaying the sneaky cycles running down your family tree.

Remember a couple years back when you saw the “I Slay” tshirts everywhere?

I created one I still sell on Amazon. But my design isn’t about slaying you with a killer outfit and makeup. My design has a sword in it.

So when I say slay the cycles I mean destroying patterns threatening to destroy your family.

It’s the willingness to seek them out and face them head on. To ask yourself the tough questions about what runs in your family and what it costs you all. To sit with your answers and decide what it will take to end them.

You may have to pray for insight. You may need counseling. You may need both—I did.

But do the work and involve your family.

Because you don’t have time to hide behind the mask of “we’re fine, everything’s fine” while the little foxes run rampant ruining your family vine.

You have children to raise and generations to impact.

So, If you’d like a one sheet of questions to help you recognize harmful patterns in your family, connect with me by signing up for my email list at vinelifefaith.com/podcast.

And if you have the perfect family tree or, more realistically, you’ve already slayed your family’s negative cycles—I salute you and remind you, what it took to get free is what it takes to stay free.

So let’s slay the cycles Mama Bare.

Because remember, when it comes to you being the mother of your children—YOU are the woman for the job. Take care.