Episode 38

Motherhood Unmasked with Vanessa A. Harris Episode 38 Be the Mome You Needed

Be the Mom You Needed

Emotionally neglected by your mother. Abused. Abandoned. You experienced some or all of it as a child. And now you’re a mother.

More than anything, you want to be the mother you never had.

But how do you freely give your children the empathy, support, and acceptance you never received from your mom?

My answer may surprise you.

Listen to Episode 38

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Homework: Affirm You

List some things you are proud of yourself for and then do the key part. Say them out loud to yourself. Give yourself the mothering you missed out on by speaking life over yourself while you work through your childhood wounds with a counselor.

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Episode 38 transcript

In Matthew 10 it says freely you have received, freely give and in episode 38 we’re talking about how to freely receive what you never got to make giving it a whole lot easier.

Hey there, Mama Bare. Vanessa here with compassion, candor and clarity for you, the mom who’s missing the mama she never had.
I’m so glad you’re.
I’m betting when you saw the title of this episode, Be the Mom You Needed, you assumed I meant being to your child the mom you never had because, well, that’s what’s typically meant.
But leave it to me to flip the narrative on its head.
And while I understand in one sense, a mom encouraging another mom to aim for being the mom she never had, the problem is her kids are not her, and she is not her mother.
So, you have a different mother meeting the needs of different kids who, by virtue of their individuality, have different needs.
My point? You can only be the mom to your kids that they need.
Needs that may be very different than what you needed growing up because of different temperaments, different environments and different times that they’re growing up in.
But none of that negates the fact that you still need the mother you never had.

This episode won’t be for everyone.
It’s not for the woman who had a loving, supportive, and involved albeit imperfect mom who showed up every day and gave motherhood her best shot.
No, this is for the woman whose mom was missing in action and grew up emotionally neglected, physically abused, or flat out abandoned.

But it takes you being the mother to yourself you always needed.

You need to nurture yourself the way your mother never did.
And since you don’t know what that looks like and feels like for you, that’s where a counselor, a mentor and your friend’s mom—you the one who treats you like a bonus daughter—that’s where they come into play.
Their ability to give you what your mother didn’t: to reflect what they see in you and speak affirming words to you—is priceless.
Yet even with all that, I found that there’s no voice more powerful than your own in this situation.
Recently I spoke informally at an event and from moment one I felt like I flopped.
As I listened to the other women speaking I had to fight off thinking—“What am I doing here? I just don’t belong here.”—just to stay present in the conversation.

And as soon as I woke up the next morning all the feelings and thoughts came rushing back.
I felt like I had no business speaking in those circles again.
And my melancholy temperament kicked into high gear as I picked my quote unquote performance apart.
And as the tears flowed I got quiet and a thought suddenly came to me.
I deserve the same grace I’d give a friend sitting across from me doing the same thing or listening to me in a podcast episode.

And as soon as I agreed with that thought I had the idea to tell myself out loud what I was proud of myself for.
Before I could laugh at myself for how silly that sounded, I started listing things like “I’m proud of you for not politely excusing yourself early from the conversation because you thought you sounded ridiculous.”
And the more I said what I was proud of, the more at peace I became—like a feeling of contentment—because I gave myself something I hungered for throughout my life.
Don’t get me wrong. People told me they were proud of me, but there are key people you need to hear that from.

And if they’re silent, their silence is deafening.

So, I spoke empathy, support, and acceptance over myself which is a big deal because not only is that not my nature, my mom never nurtured that in me.
And guess how grace works?
The more you receive, the more you give.
I bet the sound of more grace is music to your child’s ears. Yours too if you’ve been making do with less all your life.

Can you guess what this week’s homework is?
You got it.
Sitting down and telling yourself why you’re proud of you.
Will this fix all you missed out on not having an involved mother growing up?
Nope. That’ll take time and work with your counselor.
But it will put a crack in the dam that’s held you back from seeing yourself worthy of receiving good things.
And as we discussed in the last few episodes, it’s about time your soul gets watered—and for you mothering yourself is part of it.
I sure hope you sense I’m rooting for you because although this episode feels super vulnerable for me, I’m excited about encouraging you to love on you, the way I’m learning to love on me.

If you haven’t visited me at my virtual home, I’d love to have you over. Come see me at vinelifefaith.com.
It’s where you can read my latest soul food article on the blog and where you’ll find information and resources related to the podcast including the show notes for every episode. Well, we’re getting there—some of the episodes.
It’s even where you can check out one of my designs featured on a tshirt of the month in Tees That Testify.
Because Vine Life Faith is all about helping women like you and me break negative cycles, build healthy community, and to do it in style!
Thanks for hanging out with me today and risking vulnerability.
With all you’re still working through I hope you’ll remember that when it comes to you being the mother of your children—YOU are the woman for the job. Take care.