The Mama Masks We Wear


I’ve never been a fan of masks. Sadly, I own many and wear them often.  Sometimes I put on my happy mask, my favorite! Why? That’s easy, it keeps people at a safe distance. In reality, I may be genuinely happy or “stuffing” my emotions to avoid any form of emotional pain. My scary mask is worn when I feel I’ve lost control or want to push people away. I’m known to get close to another mama and start to withdraw. Getting close is scary for me. Deep connections with others push me and push me hard. I have to be real and raw, and that’s unsettling to my soul. Just like a child learning to swim, staying on the surface is safe. Putting my head underwater involves risk, trust, and the unknown.

My mama mask is tattered and worn. I wear it a lot to protect my children. Shielding them from the reality of this world makes me feel safe. Focusing on the good deflects those hard questions and conversations—more avoidance on my end. My silly mask protects me from anxiety-provoking situations. Humor deflects potential raw emotion. If you are making others laugh, it’s not the time to get real and messy. My sad mask is my least favorite because it shows I’m crumbling. When I fall, it’s not pretty. I need space and time to regroup and get back up again. One day, I will remove all the masks. It’s a process. I’m working on it. 

It’s heavy and hard to manage life. We are all broken. We all crave acceptance. Feeling judged hurts. Mamas, we love hard and do whatever it takes. If you are like me, your masks are interchanging on the fly. One minute you are wearing the mask of bravery, and within seconds, you switch to the mask of protection. We all have a story. We are quick to assume, yet have no idea what another mama is experiencing. We need to extend grace to one another. Pause, and ask yourself if you really know the whole picture, or are you making assumptions? When we are unhappy or unsure of ourselves, we often put other mamas under a microscope. I adorn many masks to avoid being judged or hurt, yet I am quick to jump to conclusions and unfairly judge other mamas. I own it. I’m working on it.  

If I am being real, I judge and make unjust assumptions more than I like to admit. Typically they are negative and false. Making assumptions about appearance, parenting styles, actions, words, overall demeanor, facial expressions, and the list goes on. It feels ugly, yet I do it often. What if I turned that judgment into empathy, compassion, and loving words? We are all just doing the best we can. Do you know what happens EVERY single time? I get a punch in the gut because I was wrong – way wrong about another mama.  So wrong that often she becomes a member of my tribe. Funny how that happens. Now, that’s a hard reality check and punch to the gut. The work on me is clearly ongoing. The roots of my soul run deep, and when they are tangled, I’m more likely to judge and compare. I’m working on it.  

Who am I to judge? I’m far from perfect, and in all reality, I’m a hot mess. Aren’t we all hanging by a thread? My words are not always kind, dry shampoo is my friend, scars tell my story, closets are jam-packed with junk, my body aches, I crave sleep-deep sleep, sometimes I’m distant, the McDonald’s drive-thru is a frequent stop, I’m late, moody, sassy with my husband and kids, and I’m stressed. Always moving and sometimes missing the most beautiful moments. Don’t even track the hours my kids spend on devices just so this mama can catch her breath! Mamas, we all need a moment. Expecting grace from others when my life is out of control, yet not extending the same to other mamas in return. That’s sad and hard to admit, but true. I’m working on it. 

It’s in our nature as mamas to do the best we can. Parenting is so hard. Often, we feel isolated. We need other mamas in our lives. Don’t forget that we aren’t just defined as mamas. We are individuals. We make decisions that we feel are best for our children. Decisions that are not made lightly. Our personal history, resources, temperament, needs, experiences, faith, and connections guide us.  Have you ever tried folding a fitted sheet? There is no best or right way. You just do your best. You know what? Your best is good enough. You are enough. One day at a time. One foot in front of the other.  We stumble, trip, and at times fall face first. Mistakes are made, and we learn. We all have a story and often many forms of trauma in our lives. We all have needs that go unmet and create stress and anxiety. What you see is not always what you get. Judgments are made when grace needs to be given. Perhaps, a mama friend you love and adore is wearing a mask. We all are. Rather than judging and making unfair assumptions, let’s bond together. I’m working on it.