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Momfidence Blog

  • Lisa Popcak



A couple of weeks ago a woman named Laura called into More2life. She was feeling completely run down, and like she wasn’t enough. She went on to explain that she had a 10 month old daughter who thankfully had overcome medical issues that were present in her first months of life. She and her husband both had to work full time. She also briefly mentioned that she had some medical issues involving her thyroid and hormones. She said that all the additional appointments and everything she has to do is leaving her feeling frustrated with her life and exhausted. But she was feeling guilty for feeling that way. 


As we talked more it occurred to me that not only was she minimizing her own medical concerns, as though she wasn’t important enough to mention them, she also hadn’t even factored in that when her precious baby was 4 months old the world began the pandemic that we’re all still trying to cope with as I write this. In fact when I mentioned it she gave a little “oh, that old thing” kind of laugh. 


As I started to point out everything she has physically and emotionally gone through over the last 19 months, starting with the beginning of pregnancy until now,she actually seemed surprised. We talked about how she hadn’t had time to emotionally process any of it, or physically recover.


Then I told her how I genuinely, deeply felt, that she is a superhero! Far from feeling guilty for needing time to rest, recover, and reorient, she should instead hear that she is AMAZING!!! Amazing for coping as well as she has, for managing to do everything she’s doing every day, for acknowledging that she didn’t feel right inside, for pursuing help. 


It was a wonderful conversation, and Laura cried with relief at what she was hearing. There were factors in play that she hadn’t taken into account. Being overwhelmed caused her to focus solely on what she perceived, wrongly, as her shortcomings.


How often do we each do  something similar? We are awash with stressors of many kinds. We begin to sense our internal alarm bells going off. We desperately want to fix something so it will stop, so we can have relief and peace. But often our stressed out brains decide to fixate on one thing. “If I could only change______, everything else would get better too.”  We might narrow in on our perception of some aspect of ourselves, a relationship with someone, the work we do, a cause we care about, etc. Often the thing we focus on is too big for us to deal with in a way that will give us any immediate relief. “If I could just... get a different job, lose a large amount of weight, fix all my relationship issues, push the hold button on my life and sleep until I feel completely refreshed, energized, and all the stress magically goes away!” When we feel overwhelmed by the bigness of our target we feel more overwhelmed and disempowered, so much so that we don’t give any value to the things we have managed to do.


This is the place Laura found herself in, like so many of us, especially right now when so many things feel threatening and we’ve lost so much that we took for granted. But as we talked Laura began to see that she was actually coping far better than she gave herself credit for. She began to open a little space in herself for grace and self acknowledgment. We then moved on to things she could do to help her cope better and feel more empowered.


 As the days since our conversation have passed, I have seen more and more of a need for these suggestions for so many people, so I thought I’d share them here.

grace

The first thing I encourage anyone who are feeling similarly to Laura to do is to . It’s really ok if you don’t feel right inside yourself right now. There is so much  presently that  isn’t right or normal so it’s absolutely appropriate to feel off in some or many ways. We’re all grieving the loss of normalcy right now, but many of us are not acknowledging it because we don’t think we have a right to grieve, or we’re afraid to look at it. But that also means that when you do manage to do anything “normal” you need to give yourself lots of extra credit points. Instead of just thinking that any “everyday stuff” you do is ordinary and just expected, allow yourself to realize that the extra emotional weight we’re all carrying is making everything harder to do. Just acknowledging that can bring some much needed grace and relief. So if you do any of those daily tasks, give yourself credit for it and take a moment and give yourself an emotional high-five.


This brings me to some of the practical suggests we gave Laura:


It can be vital when you’re struggling in some way to keep a “got done” list. While “to-do” lists are very helpful to keep our minds on track, they can often have the side effect of making us feel disempowered when we see that we haven’t accomplished everything that’s on them. So it can be energizing and empowering to keep a list of the things you’ve gotten done as you do them. I’m not talking about just the big things off your to-do list. I’m talking about all those little things we usually think of as distractions from the important stuff. This includes things like: changing the babies diaper, cleaning up the spilled mess, comforting the crying child, spending time on the phone fixing the incorrect charge on the credit card, making and cleaning up lunch, finding your child’s missing shoe, spending twenty minutes stuck in a phone queue dealing with another hassles, sorting the mail, etc., etc., etc.  Our lives have so many of these et ceteras, especially in mom life,  that they can eat up our days and leave us feeling defeated and like we haven’t gotten anything important done. But when we take time to actually write them down and review them at the end of the day we begin to give ourselves credit we deserve. We often have that “Wow! I did that! Good for me” moment.


Making a “got-done list” is particularly helpful because feelings follow actions, not the other way around as we often mistakenly believe. Most of us think that when we feel good, or at least better, we’ll get things accomplished. I think this comes from staying home from school on days we were sick as children. We were trained that when we felt well we would return to normal activities. This is right and good if we are contagious and need time to physically heal. But it is the opposite for emotions, by getting up and doing something, even something small like brushing our teeth, then acknowledging and giving ourselves credit for that something, it’s like putting fuel in our emotional tank. We begin to feel able to do the next small thing and the next until we look at our “got-done” list and realize we’re actually accomplishing quite a lot, we feel good about it, and we think we might be able to do it again tomorrow.


Another thing we encouraged Laura to do is to look at the moments in the day that went well, that she felt good about, and then think about the things that attended (not caused) the positive difference. When we examine the little things that attended our better moments, such as what we or our kids have eaten, the amount of rest we’ve gotten and what allowed us to get it, how much fresh air or sunshine we’ve experienced, the atmosphere we’ve created or experienced in our home environment, we can then intentionally begin to put them into place regularly to our advantage.


Lastly, we encouraged Laura to keep a gratitude journal. Again this is something that is best done throughout the day so that you don’t have to try to remember everything at the end of the day when you’re too exhausted to write anything down anyway. Write down anything you are grateful for in the moment. Nothing is too small. But look especially for little ways you’ve made a positive difference in someone’s life. Things like: I made my baby giggle, I held the door open for a stranger, I got my family's clothes clean, I spent time getting in touch with a friend, whatever it is, write it in your gratitude journal. You will be encouraged and empowered to have a visual record of the ways you’ve done something positive to bless someone else.


Lastly and most importantly invite God unto the midst of it all. He is not waiting for you to be perfect and then reveal it all to him in a big ta-da moment. He wants to embrace all of you - your fears, insecurities, desires, hopes, all of it. He wants to help. Talk to him about it all. Ask for his help and for clarity. Talk to him about it all through the day. Thanking him for the successes, asking for guidance and help as you need it. He loves you and doesn’t want you to go it alone. Take His grace and extend it to yourself.


Laura is an absolute super-hero! But she hasn’t had the time or energy to recognise it. If you are similarly struggling to give yourself credit for doing the best you can during these weird, uncertain, life changing times (or anytime), here is your written permission slip to do so. Give yourself grace.



A couple of weeks ago a woman named Laura called into More2life. She was feeling completely run down, and like she wasn’t enough. She went on to explain that she had a 10 month old daughter who thankfully had overcome medical issues that were present in her first months of life. She and her husband both had to work full time. She also briefly mentioned that she had some medical issues involving her thyroid and hormones. She said that all the additional appointments and everything she has to do is leaving her feeling frustrated with her life and exhausted. But she was feeling guilty for feeling that way. 


As we talked more it occurred to me that not only was she minimizing her own medical concerns, as though she wasn’t important enough to mention them, she also hadn’t even factored in that when her precious baby was 4 months old the world began the pandemic that we’re all still trying to cope with as I write this. In fact when I mentioned it she gave a little “oh, that old thing” kind of laugh. 


As I started to point out everything she has physically and emotionally gone through over the last 19 months, starting with the beginning of pregnancy until now,she actually seemed surprised. We talked about how she hadn’t had time to emotionally process any of it, or physically recover.


Then I told her how I genuinely, deeply felt, that she is a superhero! Far from feeling guilty for needing time to rest, recover, and reorient, she should instead hear that she is AMAZING!!! Amazing for coping as well as she has, for managing to do everything she’s doing every day, for acknowledging that she didn’t feel right inside, for pursuing help. 


It was a wonderful conversation, and Laura cried with relief at what she was hearing. There were factors in play that she hadn’t taken into account. Being overwhelmed caused her to focus solely on what she perceived, wrongly, as her shortcomings.


How often do we each do  something similar? We are awash with stressors of many kinds. We begin to sense our internal alarm bells going off. We desperately want to fix something so it will stop, so we can have relief and peace. But often our stressed out brains decide to fixate on one thing. “If I could only change______, everything else would get better too.”  We might narrow in on our perception of some aspect of ourselves, a relationship with someone, the work we do, a cause we care about, etc. Often the thing we focus on is too big for us to deal with in a way that will give us any immediate relief. “If I could just... get a different job, lose a large amount of weight, fix all my relationship issues, push the hold button on my life and sleep until I feel completely refreshed, energized, and all the stress magically goes away!” When we feel overwhelmed by the bigness of our target we feel more overwhelmed and disempowered, so much so that we don’t give any value to the things we have managed to do.


This is the place Laura found herself in, like so many of us, especially right now when so many things feel threatening and we’ve lost so much that we took for granted. But as we talked Laura began to see that she was actually coping far better than she gave herself credit for. She began to open a little space in herself for grace and self acknowledgment. We then moved on to things she could do to help her cope better and feel more empowered.


 As the days since our conversation have passed, I have seen more and more of a need for these suggestions for so many people, so I thought I’d share them here.


The first thing I encourage anyone who are feeling similarly to Laura to do is to give yourself grace. It’s really ok if you don’t feel right inside yourself right now. There is so much  presently that  isn’t right or normal so it’s absolutely appropriate to feel off in some or many ways. We’re all grieving the loss of normalcy right now, but many of us are not acknowledging it because we don’t think we have a right to grieve, or we’re afraid to look at it. But that also means that when you do manage to do anything “normal” you need to give yourself lots of extra credit points. Instead of just thinking that any “everyday stuff” you do is ordinary and just expected, allow yourself to realize that the extra emotional weight we’re all carrying is making everything harder to do. Just acknowledging that can bring some much needed grace and relief. So if you do any of those daily tasks, give yourself credit for it and take a moment and give yourself an emotional high-five.


This brings me to some of the practical suggests we gave Laura:


It can be vital when you’re struggling in some way to keep a “got done” list. While “to-do” lists are very helpful to keep our minds on track, they can often have the side effect of making us feel disempowered when we see that we haven’t accomplished everything that’s on them. So it can be energizing and empowering to keep a list of the things you’ve gotten done as you do them. I’m not talking about just the big things off your to-do list. I’m talking about all those little things we usually think of as distractions from the important stuff. This includes things like: changing the babies diaper, cleaning up the spilled mess, comforting the crying child, spending time on the phone fixing the incorrect charge on the credit card, making and cleaning up lunch, finding your child’s missing shoe, spending twenty minutes stuck in a phone queue dealing with another hassles, sorting the mail, etc., etc., etc.  Our lives have so many of these et ceteras, especially in mom life,  that they can eat up our days and leave us feeling defeated and like we haven’t gotten anything important done. But when we take time to actually write them down and review them at the end of the day we begin to give ourselves credit we deserve. We often have that “Wow! I did that! Good for me” moment.


Making a “got-done list” is particularly helpful because feelings follow actions, not the other way around as we often mistakenly believe. Most of us think that when we feel good, or at least better, we’ll get things accomplished. I think this comes from staying home from school on days we were sick as children. We were trained that when we felt well we would return to normal activities. This is right and good if we are contagious and need time to physically heal. But it is the opposite for emotions, by getting up and doing something, even something small like brushing our teeth, then acknowledging and giving ourselves credit for that something, it’s like putting fuel in our emotional tank. We begin to feel able to do the next small thing and the next until we look at our “got-done” list and realize we’re actually accomplishing quite a lot, we feel good about it, and we think we might be able to do it again tomorrow.


Another thing we encouraged Laura to do is to look at the moments in the day that went well, that she felt good about, and then think about the things that attended (not caused) the positive difference. When we examine the little things that attended our better moments, such as what we or our kids have eaten, the amount of rest we’ve gotten and what allowed us to get it, how much fresh air or sunshine we’ve experienced, the atmosphere we’ve created or experienced in our home environment, we can then intentionally begin to put them into place regularly to our advantage.


Lastly, we encouraged Laura to keep a gratitude journal. Again this is something that is best done throughout the day so that you don’t have to try to remember everything at the end of the day when you’re too exhausted to write anything down anyway. Write down anything you are grateful for in the moment. Nothing is too small. But look especially for little ways you’ve made a positive difference in someone’s life. Things like: I made my baby giggle, I held the door open for a stranger, I got my family's clothes clean, I spent time getting in touch with a friend, whatever it is, write it in your gratitude journal. You will be encouraged and empowered to have a visual record of the ways you’ve done something positive to bless someone else.


Lastly and most importantly invite God unto the midst of it all. He is not waiting for you to be perfect and then reveal it all to him in a big ta-da moment. He wants to embrace all of you - your fears, insecurities, desires, hopes, all of it. He wants to help. Talk to him about it all. Ask for his help and for clarity. Talk to him about it all through the day. Thanking him for the successes, asking for guidance and help as you need it. He loves you and doesn’t want you to go it alone. Take His grace and extend it to yourself.


Laura is an absolute super-hero! But she hasn’t had the time or energy to recognise it. If you are similarly struggling to give yourself credit for doing the best you can during these weird, uncertain, life changing times (or anytime), here is your written permission slip to do so. Give yourself grace.




If you’d like to hear our call with Laura, as well as the rest of the show you can listen here.

  • Lisa Popcak

Often when I talk to women who have called with a question on More2life radio, I hear words about their concerns that label them, or their loved ones, in some way. Things like,”I’m overwhelmed.”, “He’s got a sanguine personality”, “I’m an introvert but my husband is an extrovert”, “I’m (insert letters) on the MMPI”, “My son is shy”, “My baby is high need”, I’m really type A, and many more.


In many ways these words are very helpful, but they can be limiting. They are labels we give traits in order to help ourselves, and the other people we talk with, to understand tendencies or characteristics in a more efficient way.


It reminds me of organizing a pantry. In pantries we store things like brown sugar, castor sugar, salt, all purpose flour, self-rising flour, cinnamon, nutmeg. Some of these ingredients look very much alike but taste and react very differently when we cook with them. Labeling them allows us to quickly recognize which is which and apply our knowledge of them to know how to use them in recipes. Without these labels our cooking would truly suffer. Confusing the salt and sugar would make for a horrible cake.


But, as in cooking, the label is just a starting point. Let’s take flour as an example. Just looking at a container labeled flour does very little for us. But once we know more about it we can bake lots and lots of wonderful treats. If we learn more we can also use it to create a rue for sauces, or coat chicken for a piccata. If we think outside the kitchen we can even use it to make a paper mache piñata for our child’s birthday.


Just as in our pantries, simply having something in a container with a label on is only a first step. Labeling the traits of ourselves or others isn’t meant to be an end in itself. It’s meant to be a first step in exploring what we can do with that “ingredient”. It doesn’t define us. But instead gives us a bit of information that we can explore in order to use that trait to become our best selves. We can discover how to use that part of us to reach goals and find the blessing of that ingredient in our personality, especially when mixed with our other gifts and talents.


But just like in cooking, this discovery and transformation takes work. A good cook isn’t born knowing how to make a wide variety of excellent dishes. She or he must read and work the recipes of others who know more, learn alongside those who have more experience, and perhaps take classes with experts.


Likewise when we are able to label a trait, we need to learn how to use that trait to benefit ourselves and others. We should talk with others who have that trait and see how they have grown to use it as a blessing. We can read about how to form and achieve goals using that trait positively on our journey. We can consult with great coaches and counselors who have become experts in how to use those characteristics as a boost to help us embrace all the possibilities God may have in store.


Again looking at our pantry, very few of the ingredients are delicious all by themselves. A spoonful of flour, or cinnamon, or almost anything all by itself can be really awful. It can seem useless and disappointing. But when we learn how to combine it with other ingredients and cook it the right way, we can bring out the best in that ingredient and it can feed us and give us joy.


Is there a trait or tendency in you or a family member that you find discouraging, frustrating, or limiting? I encourage you to instead see it as an invitation to explore the positive ways you can train and use that part to bless your life and be a blessing to others.


Just as any ingredient in our pantry can be used in various and wondrous ways when we learn how to use it, we can use any personal label to become the amazing, unique people God created us to be. We just need to be kind to ourselves, and creative while we look beyond the label.






  • Lisa Popcak

Expectations. We all have them… usually a lot of them. But the way we manage our

expectations makes all the difference in the way we achieve them and, in the long run, in the way we think or feel about ourselves. 


A mom once said to me, “Some days I don’t feel well, and I know I could be a better mom if I could get an extra half an hour of rest in the mornings, but I feel guilty for not being with my kids during that time. In the long run though, I just end up feeling grumpy and more tired the rest of the day. I just don’t know what to do.”


This mom is not alone in feeling this way. Her expectations were telling her that she “should” be able to do it all. That she “shouldn’t” feel sick in the morning so that she could spend that extra time with her kids. But when that expectation failed her, or became unrealistic, she felt that she was letting her husband, her kids, and herself down. 


To help her work through her expectations, I asked her which option would help her be her best self: Saying to her kids, “mommy doesn’t feel well right now, so it would help me out a lot if you could do this activity for 30 minutes and then we will get together and make a yummy breakfast and have a great day together,” or getting up and spending that extra half hour with them, but not feeling well and ultimately feeling drained and angry throughout the day. 


In this situation, the answer was clear. She saw that in this way she could engage and take care of her kids, but still take care of herself so that she could be the mom she wanted to be the rest of the day. 


Her follow-up concern was that her children would get used to having mornings “off” and then fight her on days when they started their morning routine at their regular time. At this point I encouraged her to come up with a title for these more relaxed mornings such as a “rest morning,” or a “special morning.” This way her children knew that these mornings, where mom rested and they got to do a special activity, were not going to be the norm, but a special surprise on only some mornings. 


This is just one example of the common ways our expectations tend to get the best of us. We think we have to do it all and when we can’t, we feel as though we have failed. But here’s the great part: we can do it all if we do it realistically. We can be our best selves, we can do what we want to do—but we often can’t do it alone, and we certainly can’t do it without acknowledging our needs. 


So moms, make your best self your new best friend. 


What does it mean to be your best self? Start by identifying the strengths and qualities that you want to exhibit, the strengths and qualities that reflect who you are when you’re at your “best.” Examples of this could be calm, patient, creative, organized, thoughtful, loving, joyful, playful, etc. 

Once you have identified the qualities that you have when you’re feeling your best, write them down. 


Now that you have identified what it means to you to be your best self, ask yourself in all situations (especially those situations where you are feeling harried, stressed, or frustrated), “What do I need to do to be my best self in this situation?” This will prompt your cortex (your thinking brain) to kick in and let you know that maybe in this moment you need to take a deep breath before responding, you need to set your kids up with an activity so you can rest for 30 minutes, you need to take a moment to listen and understand why your child—or another adult—is acting out, you need to get a drink of water and stop and say a prayer in the midst of the activities of the day, or you need to make a plan toess your needs with another person at a time you can both be calm and undistracted. Whatever you need to do, act out of the perspective being your best self. 


Working to be our best self helps us improve in the art of balancing our expectations. In no situation does “being my best self” mean running around and exhausting myself so that I’m angry and resentful. It means saying yes to what I can say yes to, saying no to what I need to, being loving, and working to meet everyone’s needs—including my own.