Fight or Flight
For some moms, motherhood feels like a constant treading water, leaving you with a lot of tired and no self-esteem.
If you’re thinking of throwing in the towel, cutting your losses and pretending this motherhood thing never happened—you’re probably suffering silence to avoid judgement.
But you’re not the only one. Put your earbuds in and let’s talk about it.
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Homework: Change the Narrative
You’ve convinced yourself you’re doing more harm than good to your child because you’re so overwhelmed you regret becoming a mom.
Have you asked anyone who knows what they think? Have you met with a counselor to deal with any underlying issues? Have you reassessed your expectations? Now would be a great time, before you make a decision that will have a lasting impact on your family.
And while you do, repeat my favorite phrase for shifting how you perceive yourself as a mom: “I’m not perfect, but I’m a blessing.”
Celebrating 50 Episodes of Motherhood Unmasked!
And we’re doing it in style with a gorgeous journal. It’s about time!
A Journal Worth Your Story
Introducing the Motherhood Unmasked lined journal with 160 pages waiting for you to fill it with the valleys and the victories on your motherhood journey!
And she’s pretty coming and going! Available on Amazon.
Other Journals By Vanessa
Journal from the Heart is a great every day journal with an encouraging verse or affirmation at the bottom of every page. If you’re working through any kind of loss, the journal, My Journey Through Grief and Loss, helps you acknowledge the significance of your loss while honoring the memories you’ll always cherish. And if you meet with a counselor or a coach, you need a journal to keep track of breakthroughs and aha moments in between sessions. A copy of the My Reflections Journal for guided post-session review would be perfect for you.
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Let’s Stay Connected
Do you know why I call you Mama BARE? Because you’re unmasked and unapologetic in admitting motherhood is tough, and you appreciate conversation that honors that.
So, connect with me for more support, empowering the best version of you as a mom.
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Episode 50 transcript
I love the show, The Good Doctor. It does for me what ER did back in the day, allow me to enjoy hospital drama while pointing out why half of the medical stuff they portrayed wouldn’t happen that way in a real hospital.
But a recent episode had a motherhood topic so real life and taboo I thought it worth dropping the mask and getting real about on this season 5 closer. And speaking of which, just in time to celebrate the 50th episode I have an announcement I’ll make at the end because I really want to get into today’s episode, shall we?
Hey there Mama Bare. Vanessa here with compassion, candor and clarity for you, the mom on the verge of waiving the white flag. Hang on a moment and let’s talk about it. I’m so glad you’re here.
So in this Good Doctor episode, one of the patients is a mother back in the states for medical care after leaving her family when her son was 12. She abandoned him. He came home one day and she was gone.
As a pediatrician and stay at home of three I couldn’t imagine something so cruel. But as the daughter of a woman who doesn’t like motherhood and didn’t keep it a secret, I totally get it. Your childhood either sets you up to win or sabotages you as a mom.
On this particular episode of The Good Doctor, the character spoke of not clicking with her son from the beginning, feeling like she didn’t know what to do with him and that what she was doing didn’t matter.
And to avoid the pain of failing, she chose to make herself feel better by going where she knew she could make a difference. She thought their disconnect meant she didn’t make a difference.
This mama didn’t have a couple crappy days here and there or even every month. She had the ongoing sense of failure till she believed the best thing she could do for her child and herself, was disappear.
I’m pretty sure you know what it’s like to have your kiddo knocking on the bathroom door and wishing you could disappear. But I know what it’s like to battle depression, watch it negatively impact your toddler boys and believe they’d be better off if I went to be with Jesus.
Because no matter how many parenting books are out there, there’s no blueprint for raising your child—not one your child’s on board with anyway. Because raising kids is a complete act of faith. You hope, but you don’t know. It’s not up to you. And because maybe, just maybe, with all you experienced growing up, you’re just not cut out to be a mom.
I thank God I’m not still there!
But one or all of these are real challenges either you or some mom you know can relate to. And besides telling you to just reject the lie you should abandon your child, I’ll tell you what helped me turn the corner.
First off, get honest real fast. Find someone who loves you or someone who’ll listen and tell them how you’re feeling and what you’re contemplating. Yes it’s embarrassing; sure you feel guilty. But you need someone outside of your head to counter the lies bombarding your weary soul.
And if you are struggling with life controlling habits that are sabotaging how you parent, this person will support you as you get the help you need.
Second, reassess your expectations. If you were a high achiever in high school or you’re a high performer on your job, I can tell you right now, you need to scale back your expectations of your child and yourself.
I know you expect to excel, but you ought to expect to be exposed. Why do I say that?
Up until you became a mom, you figured out your strengths and learned to play into them. But Motherhood has an uncanny way of exposing every one of your weaknesses and taunting you with a “Now what?” And it takes humility and wisdom to answer best.
Motherhood also isn’t a math equation with precise steps to a single right answer. It’s a more agricultural vibe, like a farmer scattering seed after you’ve done your best to prepare the soil. But there’s a lot that’s out of your control.
Will birds eat your seeds before they have chance to take root? Will there be enough rain to water what you’ve sown? Time will tell, but only if you keep sowing seeds. Eventually, something will stick—if you don’t give up. And hey, sometimes you dial your expectation all the way back to everyone getting clean and fed. Some days clean and fed is the win. You can always aim for more tomorrow.
And third, while you have all your ideas about what you should be and do as a mom, as far as your child is concerned, it’s you being there that matters.
It’s your presence over perfect. It’s your presence over your plans. It’s getting up every day and doing it all over again that communicates you love your child. That they’re worth your effort—no matter how it looks to you or anyone else.
Kids are so much more gracious to us than we are to ourselves. Just keep supplying the effort and don’t obsess over the results. They’re not up to you, anyway.
This week’s homework is to challenge the lies like “you can’t do this”, “you’re a terrible mother,” “your kids are better off without you” with the following phrase.
I’m not perfect, but I’m a blessing.
Sounds simple, but it’s powerful, especially if that’s not what you believe. But more so, because it’s true. As a woman you’re a work in progress and the same goes for you as a mother.
If you need to work on your issues, do it. But in the mean time and in between time, remember your children are blessed because the one who birthed them chooses to be with them even without a manual, a mission statement or a clue if you’re enough mom for them.
By the way, you are. In fact, you’re the woman for the job. And I don’t say it at the end of every episode to be clever. I say it because it’s part of what’s brought me this far. I say it because faith comes by hearing and what you say to yourself either binds you or breaks chains. And you need to be free to keep your focus when doubt and insecurity tag team you.
I hope this episode gave you the confidence to fight for your God-given position in your child’s life when all you can think to do is flee.
What are the keys to winning the fight? Humbling yourself, letting someone know where you’re at mentally, and committing to speak the truth no matter how you feel.
But what do you do with those lying feelings? You give them their chance to speak first. Not by saying them because words are voice activated. I would write them out and afterwards say in the face of what you wrote, “I’m not perfect but I’m a blessing.”
And that brings me to the news I’m so excited to share.
The beautifully designed Motherhood Unmasked lined journal is now available. Y’all the cover has purple and turquoise feathers like the mask I’m removing in the podcasts’s cover art, with the same lettering used on the Motherhood Unmasked signature tee.
And the crisp white lined pages are waiting for you to fill them with the valleys and victories in your motherhood journey.
And as I say that, I realize that’s another thing that pulled me back from the ledge—being able to reread my journals and see evidence that the days weren’t all bad.
My kids said and did things that affirmed my importance to them and their love for me. And now you can give yourself or a mom friend that same gift. I can’t get over how cute the cover is!
And you know how it is when you’re looking for an outfit for an occasion and you find the perfect thing? That’s how I felt when I found the cover photo. Anyway, it would help if I told you where to get it!
You can find the link to order the new and gorgeous Motherhood Unmasked journal at vinelifefaith.com/podcast. Also, follow us on Instagram @motherhoodunmaskedpodcast for your opportunity to get a complimentary copy. Look here. It’s Episode 50 of season 5, it’s time to celebrate!
It’s also the perfect time to thank you. Whether you’re just meeting me for the first time or you’re a long time listener of the podcast, this only works if what I’m sharing resonates with you.
So thank you for showing up, for listening, for your feedback, for your reviews and for sharing the show with your friends. I appreciate you so much!
Oh my goodness, my voice made it through this episode. Allergies in Texas are as big as the state. Let me tell you.
But that’s it for season 5. If you’re new here, I take off a couple months in between show seasons. It’s a sanity saver that helps me keep the main thing the main thing–which for me is my family. I’m looking forward to decompressing with my family and celebrating birthdays as we close out the year. May your holiday season be filled with love, joy, peace and hope.
And please, remember, you know what I’m going to say. When it comes to you being the mother of your children, you are the woman for the job. Take care.
Motherhood Unmasked is sponsored by Vine Life Faith, where we’re breaking negative cycles and building healthy community through connection with Christ. vinelifefaith.com.
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