Episode 14

Motherhoos Unmasked podcast with Vanessa A. Harris Episode 14 What to Do When Motherhood Unmasks You

What to Do When Motherhood Unmasks You

You know how your flaws have a way of exposing you at the most inopportune times?

Well, in this episode, I’ll share a bit of fellow listener, Lori Sanders’ story, and you’ll discover how to find the message in the messy moments of motherhood.

Lori Sanders is the author of Unstuck: Freeing Yourself from the Grips of Your Safety Net & Living the Life of Purpose You Were Made For.

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What’s on Your Mind?

This is the part of the show where we hear from Mama Bares, like you. You have your own perspective on the challenges you face as a mom, and you’re willing to share to inspire real talk that empowers us all.

So, if you’re a mom with kids any age from toddler to teen, I invite you to join me by leaving a brief message about what’s on your mind.

And I may feature your message on a future episode.

Episode 14 transcript

Have you ever spent time and effort teaching your children a life lesson, only to flunk the test right in front of them?

It’s humbling for sure, but what if there’s another way to look at it? One that turns your “mom fail” into a mom win?

Well, that’s exactly what I’m sharing with you today.

Welcome back for episode 14 of Motherhood Unmasked and if you’re new to the party, I’m so glad you’re here!

So, my husband and I have 3 children and our middle child is a young man who recently turned 15.

He’s the one where my genes broke through.

He has many of my dad’s features and mannerisms, along with my ability to speak hard truth—mostly in love. (I mentioned I’m from the Bronx, right?)

So when my husband shared with us a family member’s recent request, I snickered—finding the request pretentious—and replied, “Well that’s new! I’ve heard of someone getting gifted that but never heard of someone REQUESTING it for themselves. Is that a thing?”

And with a little smirk my young man passed me on his way to the kitchen sink and said, “To each his own, Mom, to each his own.”

That “to each his own” he got it from me, and what was he saying in a most respectful way?

Mom, you know better.

And I did.

In that moment, motherhood unmasked me, exposing the truth that no matter how long you teach, the teacher is still a student.

Us mamas spend a lot of time on social media and in our social circles trying to come across “just so”—like the cool mom, the organized mom, the craft mom, the involved mom—or fill in the blank mom.

We want to look the part even when we’re not—that old fake it till you make it routine.

But you know who sees the real you?

Your family. Don’t worry. My family sees me too.

From the time your kids could understand, you taught them your philosophies on life, whether based on your experiences or on the word of God.

And you did it with passion, consistency and—sincerity.

So it’s embarrassing when they catch you with your slip showing. Now If you don’t know what a slip is, don’t even worry about it. I’ll come down your street and say when they catch you with your shaper showing.

Bottom line, when they catch you doing THE VERY THING you taught them not to.

It’s humbling, but it happens!

Not just to you, to every mama—whether she admits it or not.

And today we’ll hear Lori Sanders share her recent experience.

“I really thought I could hold it together during this quarantine, but 4 months of chaos and stress and not knowing when it’s going to end has my emotions all over the place. I thought I would be strong and be an emotional support for my son, and I have to an extent, but I’m embarrassed to admit that more than once I kind of lost it and my child has witnessed a mommy meltdown. He has seen me throw temper tantrums or found me in a puddle of tears, and this is not what I wanted. I didn’t want him to see my weaknesses. He offers me hugs and apologies, or words of encouragement. I did not expect an eight-year-old to be providing me with emotional support! But I accept it because right now nothing is normal and we have to support each other. 

So each night as I tuck him in, we pray for patience and for an abundance of kindness and love to give to each other. We pray to be strong and not to give in to anger and fear. And we pray to keep our eyes focused on God because we know He is all that is certain right now.”

Let’s hear it for Lori! It’s not easy admitting to a role reversal situation when your child—is still a child.

And while I know us moms are typically known for solving everyone else’s problems, I think it’s good for our kids to see that even when you know the Bible verses and have lived through challenging circumstances, life can still knock you on your behind and leave you dazed.

But even that is a teaching point in terms of how to respond when it happens.

Lori’s son responded to her struggle with compassion and service. And Lori taught her son the humility required to receive grace and compassion.

It’s the grace us moms need to give ourselves particularly, as Lori said, in unprecedented times like these.

Isn’t it high time we stop perpetrating the fraud before our kids, and each other, that we’re invincible?

Listen, my friend, you are skilled!

I take nothing away from your ability to multitask like nobody’s business. But you are HUMAN and you will get this wrong at times.

Sometimes your child will call out your hypocrisy—in those “do as I say not as I do” situations.

But other times your child will love on you because he knows you know better, but you can’t do better at the moment.

Either way, it’s those times you find out how much of what you’ve taught—stuck.

I mean when you get over yourself and the embarrassment of it all; you realize your child’s ears DO work!

And girlfriend, that encouragement is priceless!

So what if you have to eat a little humble pie? If you’re wrong admit it, just like you taught your kids to do. And if you’re struggling to do what you know is right, admit that too, just like you taught them.

I’ve found, my kids respect me more for it and are therefore more likely to give weight to my words.

And if you’re a regular listener, you’ll notice we’ve come full circle on the maternal mental health front.

In episode 12 Melissa talked about wishing what she would have known before becoming a mom. The priority she would need to give her mental health as a mom. Then in the last episode I challenged the notion you can hide your flaws behind a mask in motherhood. And now Lori reminds us if we don’t drop the mask, motherhood will knock it off for us.

So, prioritize your mental agility—because your flaws, like mine, have a way of making themselves known at the most inopportune times.

But don’t be too hard on yourself for not being as solid as you thought.

The next time Motherhood unmasks you, give yourself grace. Look in a mirror, smile, and tell yourself you’re a work in progress. Then get your journal and record both the messiness of your mom fail and the message in it.

Did you say, “Vanessa, I don’t have a journal?” Well, I’ve got you covered.

You can find one on my resource page along with other books, tools and the NEW Motherhood Unmasked tee at vinelifefaith.com/podcast.

I appreciate Lori Sanders for sharing her heart with us.

Lori and I are in a mastermind group for Christian women authors and speakers. So I knew about the book she was working on, but we’d never talked about mom-life till I started this podcast.

So I don’t take it likely that she reached out to share her struggle with me and you!

I’m excited her book Unstuck is available and now she’s gone and gotten Unmasked as well. I love it! And I encourage YOU to get undone from whatever false narrative holds you hostage.

I hope you’ve enjoyed hanging with me this episode. I certainly enjoyed having you.

If you have a story to share or a question to ask, reach out to me. Don’t be shy. Your voice is welcome.

And you don’t need to be an author or speaker, just a mama brave enough to get unmasked.

You can find the link to leave me your audio message at vinelifefaith.com/podcast. I look forward to hearing from you.

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.