It’s the Little Things
What do you say to the annoying part of you—that internal critic always questioning if you’re a good mom? In this episode, we’ll uncover what “Am I doing enough” is code for and how to shift the focus to what matters.
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Homework: I Just Love How You…
Picture what your family would be like if you never did the very thing your kids appreciate about you or another mom compliments about you (home-cooked meals, eye contact during conversation, a listening ear—you name it). Now give yourself a hand clap like you did for your child’s first steps.
Because as Liz Griffin says, “You don’t have to be impressive to be important.”
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Episode 34 transcript
Asking “ Are we there yet” concerning your mom journey is as helpful as hearing that from your child on a long road trip. So, in Episode 34 we’re shifting our perspective to what really matters.
Hey there Mama Bare. Vanessa here with compassion, candor and clarity for you, the mom who’ grateful for Mother’s Day, but could use one four times a year! I’m so happy you’re joining me today!
In episode 33 we talked about the importance of celebrating along the way. Something we seldom do as women. Our husband’s and our children benefit from our cheerleading over their tiniest accomplishments.
Then we get stingy with ourselves and hold off all celebration until we have “arrived”—wherever that is.
We do it as women and we certainly do it as moms.
You know, for as long as I can remember I’ve made a point of telling my kids I love them regularly.
I aim for every child, every day but it’s not a rule as much as a guide because although there are five different love languages, I think if you had to default to one consistently—it would be words of affirmation.
And there’s nothing more affirming than telling your children you love them—especially on those days they behave most unloveable.
And I Remember, you may too, the advice quoted from noted family therapist, Virginia Satir, that we need 4 hugs a day for survival, 8 hugs a day for maintenance and 12 hugs a day for growth. Now if that were the recommendation for saying I love you and I hosted a competition, my daughter would win hands down.
That girl says I love you like she breathes air. She tells your personally, pauses to make sure you heard her and if she’s really flowing she’ll speak a quick blessing over you too. Her gift is ensuring the people around her feel seen, known and loved. And our family thanks God for her.
But one day it struck me just how much more she says it than I do and I immediately got down on myself for not saying it more often. And before I went down that guilt rabbit hole too far, a still small voice reminded me it’s a miracle I say it all.
I don’t remember hearing I love you growing up. Not going off to school, not when I got home, not when I went to bed. I’d seen the word love handwritten in a card for birthdays and Christmases. I saw it in how hard they worked to make sure I had all I needed and more, but it just wasn’t said much in our family.
And that fact didn’t even occur to me till that very moment I felt condemned for not saying it more. Where am I going with this?
That question “am I doing enough” is really a veiled way of asking yourself if you’re a good mom. Because you look for evidence of it in the spectacular moments like straight As, Girl Scout badges, and full ride scholarships.
Just like on family road trips you’re focused on the exit that lets you know you’re almost there. But when it’s a 9 hour ride to grandma’s house focusing on that final exit is frustrating. And the kids asking “are we there yet” every 5 minutes doesn’t help either.
So you learned to savor the mile markers, the billboards along the side of the road and the names of towns you pass on the way. And You make note of your favorite places to to stop for gas and grab a bite to eat because they have the cleanest bathrooms.
In the same way those little markers are evidence you’re getting closer to where you’re headed, the evidence you’re a good mom getting better is in the little things.
Like Fixing her favorite meal when she’s not feeling well and lying down next to her till she falls asleep—not because you’re a cuddler but because it makes her feel loved. Or Driving him to all his practices and showing up for his games when you’ve already had a long day. Or Putting your computer down when he comes in the room, even though you’re under deadline, because you can tell he needs to talk. Or telling her you love her everyday because your soul wants to give her soul what yours never received.
So I changed my mind real quick from questioning myself for not doing more to thanking God for the miracle I tell them I love them at all! Saying and showing love may be routine for you but something that small became a new normal in my family that will impact generations to come!
So be kind to yourself.
It’s the little things, small decisions day by day changing the trajectory of your family. So, celebrate your mom wins big and small.
This week’s homework is to think about something your children or other moms compliment you for. Something you didn’t see growing up or if you did, you tweaked it to accommodate your family’s needs.
Now think about how different your family’s dynamic would be if you didn’t make that choice.
And then give yourself a round of applause. No seriously, literally clap your hands like you did when your baby took his first two steps then fell down. Because while his two steps changed his world, yours changed the next generation.
And that’s worth celebrating!
And I get it. A baby step in a new direction may not seem worth celebrating or may be a step that’s harder for you to take than for someone else. But that’s a matter of how you’re wired naturally.
My default is to look at change with a side eye, but maybe things staying the same makes you cringe. You thrive on new and different. Or maybe you’re such a creature of habit, you only change when provoked by discomfort.
Because we’re wired differently our view of progress and our attitude about it will be different. None of that’s right or wrong it’s just how you’re wired.
And learning what makes you tick goes a long way in silencing guilt, self-acceptance and seeing the best in others—especially your family.
I’m working on an online course to help you do just that.
So, if understanding yourself and others to make for a more harmonious home life and life, in general, intrigues you, leave your email on my interest list so you’re the first to know when the course is available. You can do so at vinelifefaith.com/podcast.
I hope this episode encourages you to normalize celebrating growth over comparing journeys. You may not do something as much as or the way another woman does but you’re not on her journey so that’s not really the point.
The point is are you making progress on yours.
I’m cheering you on as I cheer for myself and until next time remember, when it comes to you being the mother of your children—YOU are the woman for the job. Take care.