Episode 49

The Motherhood Unmasked podcast with Vanessa A. Harris Episode 49 Raising Women

Raising Remarkable Women

There’s nothing like a woman! A beautiful combination of strength, savvy, and sensitivity, until we get so far into our feelings, all the rest goes out the window.

What does it take to raise women who will mother a generation of women more emotionally triggered than today’s?

And how does getting a grip on your emotions play into that? Let’s dive in and find out.

Listen to Episode 49

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Homework: Poised or Puddling?

Are you handling your emotions or are they handling you? Because either way, your daughter’s watching and following your lead. So, how can you work on the balance of strength, savvy, and sensitivity that makes for raising a woman who is likewise?

It may take journaling to process your feelings, counseling, an accountability group or all three. You know you best, and I’m rooting for you. Here’s the link to the books I recommend in this episode.

Need a good journal?

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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Episode 49 transcript

Hey there Mama Bare. Vanessa here with compassion, candor and clarity for you, the mom with a mini me you’re raising to be a better version on you, so help you God.

And I feel you on that, my friend. So I’m so glad you’re here to join me for episode 49 of Motherhood Unmasked.

Last episode we talked about raising men so it’s only fitting we talk about raising women too. Off the top, I’ll admit this episode won’t roll off the tongue as easily as my episode on raising men, because (1) I didn’t have much backstory to pull from regarding what it takes to raise a woman and (2) raising boys into men comes more naturally to me.

As I’ve said here before and in my book DADDY’s Girl Forever, I am my father’s daughter mainly, because I spent so much time with him. Where my daughter grows up attached at my hip, I grew up attached to my dad’s.

Much of that was by necessity with my mom working nights as a nurse and working on her degree during the day, but also because she had no interest in or ability to connect with me. I suspect it was the same between her and my grandmother, though my mom is tight lipped about their relationship.

What I do know, is my mom was all thumbs when it came to me. And that put me in the unusual yet wonderful position of being a girly girl heavily influenced by a manly man.

I learned how to fully feel my emotions yet step back and be objective, which helps me live more measured than impulsive. A skill that keeps me from mindlessly riding the wave of emotion and from using my emotions to manipulate others because emotional expression is one of, not my only quality.

And as women wear more hats in today’s culture, the ability to be what I call relationally ambidextrous, that is displaying passion and poise, is a skill we could all use. As God would have it, my daughter’s temperament blend is about as emotionally expressive as they come. So, it’s easy for her to impulsively respond in moments of fear and frustration only to later apologize for overreacting and admitting she got caught up in the wave before she knew it.

As a woman with extensive experience living in the same cultural climate with the same pressures she’s just recognizing as a preteen, I could pat her back, affirm the importance of her authentic self-expression, share my been there done that story, and leave it at that.

Or I could also help her become a woman of passion and poise by teaching her to process what she feels, then place it up against what is true. And then embrace the truth so the next time she has a similar experience she’s armed to respond, instead of react.

I opt for the combo, but real talk, it’s not an easy teach when your daughter’s navigating hormone surges in the company of other girls doing the same, in an emotionally charged society where saying whatever, whenever, however is the norm, on top of recovering from your own mother-daughter dynamic.

But the woman you’re raising to impact nations is a woman who is measured. She knows how to be informed by her emotions without being hostage to them. She’s like an Esther who, though afraid for her life and those of her people, saved a nation through strategy, not a downward emotional spiral.

And this is by no means an attack on the female makeup. I love how fluid women are in our speech and our ability to navigate one emotion to the next, but I think it’s a mistake and an insult to define female by it. We’re more layered than that.

Laugh, cry, mourn, rejoice—have all the feels and feel them all the way. Suppression is not the goal, insight is. What am I feeling, what’s underneath it, why now, and what do I do with it? These are questions that take a superpower like emotional accessibility and makes it serve you well.

Growing up, my mom was present in my life but inaccessible. Was I hurt? Yes. Did I have to piece together womanhood by observing women from a distance? Yes. Is that a reality I had to mourn. Yes indeed, and still do. Did it leave me feeling ill equipped to raise my daughter? You bet.

But I took the gift my dad gave me, the ability to hit pause on all the feels and step back, to look at what I did learn from my mom and other women along the way, and pray about what I needed to add to the mix to pour into the woman I’m positioned to raise—a woman of strength and sensitivity.

Do my daughter and I end up a puddle of emotions sometimes? Absolutely! But we come together and gather the takeaways from the meltdown, leaving us more confident than chaotic for the next time we’re overcome with emotion.

And it took a lot to get me from the “girl emotionally neglected by her mom” to the mom invested in her little girl. It involved years of journaling before ever writing DADDY’s Girl Forever, a candid conversation on the impact of an absent dad (or in my case one who pulled back after years of me being his right hand girl) on top of maternal emotional neglect. I’m still working through it now in counseling.

So it’s no wonder when God called me to write the book, He said He wanted to talk to His girls as daughters before talking to them as mothers.

Maybe you didn’t grow up in the concoction I did, but you have your own childhood baggage to unpack because raising women is no joke. You need to be whole to do it well, because raising a girl will expose the brokenness of the little girl in you.

If you can use a journal to do your own processing, I created a beautiful paperback one with Bible verses and affirmations at the bottom of each page. But if you can relate to any of my story and want to go deeper in your pursuit of better, I recommend my book DADDY’s Girl Forever, along with the 31 day devotional and the study guide journal, by the same name.

Work through them alone or with a group of moms you trust, to heal and help build a generation of women more victorious than victim. You can find all the books I mentioned at vinelifefaith.com/books.

This week’s homework is to step back and consider. Are you raising your daughter to be poised or a perpetual puddle on the floor constantly needing caution cones?

In all likelihood you’ll need to start with looking at how you handle your emotions. If your daughter’s like mine, she’s a sponge soaking up everything she watches you do—whether she likes it or not.

So what are you modeling and, more importantly, is what you’re modeling serving you well in your relationships with your spouse, your friends—yourself? It’s easy to point the finger at others, especially other women, and say they’re the problem.

As someone who gets along easier with men than women, I used to avoid women because of the drama too often associated with us. Until I asked myself, “As a fellow woman, what drama am I bringing to the table?”

Then I committed to working on me. Something else my daughter’s noticed and asks me about, which allows me to teach her the skills I’m learning.

Well, well, well, what an episode! I promise real talk on this podcast and I hope this conversation is food for thought on raising a remarkable woman.

But I know I’m not the only one with wisdom to share on raising men or raising women, so I’d love to hear from you on Instagram @motherhoodunmaskedpodcast.

Thanks for joining me today. It’s a pleasure to be in your corner. And I’d love for you to come back next time for the season 5 finale.

But in the meantime, please remember, 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.

Take Care of You, Too

Because your womanhood has everything to do with your childhood—the good, the bad, and the ugly. This book helps you care for the girl in you and for yourself.

For a free copy of DADDY’s Girl Forever and a free 30-day trial to access other books on Audible, click the button below.

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