Vanessa's own mother, Helen, instilled her daughter with life lessons that she wants to pass down to her own daughters. "Love what you do, and love who you are. That was a big lesson that my mother always talked about—being independent and being who you are," she says. "Dare to be different. If you want to dress that way, dress that way. If you have a voice, stand up and speak it. Say what you want to say."
Although she and her mother have come to an understanding now, when she was growing up, Vanessa says she went through a long period of rebellion—from seventh grade until she got married! "I said, 'I don't care. I'm going to take the heat anyway, so I may as well do what I want to do.' And I would stay out or do things that I knew would cross the line," she says.
But every time Vanessa broke a rule, she says her parents enforced the punishments they gave her. "That's another great groundwork that my parents set up, that with an action, there's a consequence." Vanessa says she crossed the line so often that she was grounded throughout most of high school! "The most severe [punishment] was my door was taken off. They said, 'You do not deserve privacy,' and they took off my bedroom door," she says.
Vanessa says she finally ended her rebellion when, as an adult and a mom herself, she realized she needed her mother's guidance sometimes. "I think, as a mother of four, you certainly don't appreciate the mother you have until you have kids," she says.