You Know You Are An Overseas Missionary Mom When

You Know You Are An Overseas Mom

I love the you know you are an… posts that are flying around the web. With this post, I’m adding in my own.

You know you are an overseas mom, or a missionary mom, when…

There is this cute youtube video going around about missionary moms. It is so fun. and very creative.

and true. I even made my own list of videos explaining missionary life. Check that out.

But, in the making of this list, I have come to the conclusion that being an overseas mom or a missionary mom should be the next superhero.

I raise my hands in complete and utter respect for ALL missionary moms who have walked the road before me.

The packing, the transition, the unknowns, the absolute craziness, the constant fears, the unending work, the loss of comforts, the raising of kids, the cultural differences, the language barriers… the sweat. lots of sweat, blood and tears… all in a foreign, overseas context. Yes, hats off to missionary moms. As I begin this road and contemplate those who have walked it for many years… you amaze me.

As I learn and struggle my way through all the beginnings and firsts… the first high fever, the first mango worm, the first cold shower, the first gazillion locking of doors just to leave the house, the first day of dirty feet, the first call to prayer, the first market experience… yes. I stand amazed.

Amazed at the tenacity, the courage, the composure, the trust that has made you who you are today.

Amazed that God would think for one second I could do this. But as I said in my last post, it isn’t me. And I’m sure it isn’t you either… but I’m amazed none the less.

So, my list of “you know you are an overseas missionary mom when…”

1} You own and use a cross over purse every single day. Maybe one day I will trust myself with an actual purse, but that cross over purse has been a life saver numerous times. It keeps everything important close to me and safe. And I think most of my pictures since leaving for the field show me with a strap over my shoulder.

2} Your hands smell like bleach. Daily. Cleaning veggies, eggs, tile floors, clothing, mold… lots of bleach gets used in the course of a day.

3} Flies become no problem. And lots of them. Flies everywhere and if you begin to think you can conquer them, you are probably wrong. Not to mention a whole host of other creepy crawlies all around.

4} When rainy season starts, your makeup and blow dryer gets packed up for 3-4 months. I have not done my hair since we’ve been here because of my tendency for a curly humid fuzzy head. I’m sure this might get better with time… but for right now, there is no point. I’ll shower again in about an hour again anyway.

5} You have dirty feet. Every. Single. Day. There is no way around the dirt, sand, grit and who knows what else. I think I will have dirty feet for the next 2 years.

6} You can drive a stick shift. Well, I can’t. yet. But if I want to drive here {which at the moment, I don’t} you need to know how to drive stick shift. And well. In the start and stop of crazy traffic… trucks, taxis, animals, people, horse carts… hence the “why I do not want to drive here yet”. But learn I will. some day.

7} You wear a whole lot of skirts. It is culturally sensitive here to wear a skirt as a woman and even as a youth. Plus, in this heat, a skirt is cooler. But yes, us missionary moms wear a lot of skirts. #goodbyeskinnyjeanssweaterandtallboots

8} You carry a portable bathroom with you everywhere you go. How does a missionary mom do that? Well, a sheet or wrap skirt along with hand sanitizer and a small pack of kleenex. Someone holds the sheet and you have a portable bathroom available. always.

9} Ziplocks and Tupperware are name brands you NEED. With the humidity and the bugs, I’m always putting something that was in a box, into a bag. Or something that is in a bag into a tupperware container. Left by itself, nothing survives a night in the cupboard.

10} You learn to save everything. Those ziplocks? Well, they can’t be replaced. Someone, probably you, purchased, packed, hauled and unpacked that box of ziplocks. So you wash them. and wash them. And stick them to the tile in your kitchen to dry so they can be used again. and again.

You Know You Are An Overseas Missionary Mom When

11} Leaving the dry laundry on the line for a few days is not a sign of laziness. It is brilliant. You see, the mango flies lay eggs on wet material. Then those eggs, if rubbed on your skin, can and will burrow into your skin and live. grow. become a worm. in your skin. {insert GROSS YUCK EW sentiments}… so, to combat that without having to iron every pair of underwear… we leave the laundry on the line for 24-36 hours… or longer to make sure. That way you know the eggs have died and they won’t become your new friend for the next few weeks. Let me just say, our laundry stays put for a few days!

12} You know where all the American food products can be found in a 200 mile or more radius. Seriously… and the cheaper products, and the bulk products, and the guy who delivers such and such to so and so. Grocery shopping in an overseas context is quite an experience. It takes many stops, many trips, many people to make it happen.

13} You spend money by the millions. This has been so funny… I’m paying 4,000 for tortillas or 10,000 for a phone top up card or 1,000 for a coke.

14} You say things like, “Did you use clean water to brush your teeth?” and “Don’t forget to check inside the net over your bed for mosquitoes before you tuck it in!” and “Cut these napkins in half. They were expensive!” and “No, your bath towel isn’t ready yet. It needs to hang longer.” and “Did you see the pig out the kitchen window?” and “Please don’t catch the gecko… he eats cockroaches. Let him go.” and “Watch where you are going. There are donkeys on the sidewalk.” and “Jeremy? Will you please find where these maggots are coming from?” as they crawl along your dining room floor. Or even, “Nope. No shower… the city didn’t turn the water on last night so we need to conserve water.”

15} You have ways to do nearly everything without electricity.

16} You can’t drink your coffee until the girls wake up so you can steel their fan for your desk. When the fan is there, you can drink coffee.

You Know You Are An Overseas Missionary Mom When

17} You are used to moving plugs around depending on what is plugged in at the moment. And you have to plug in the converter or transformer before you can use the washing machine. And the water pump needs to be on in the garage to do a load of laundry or have enough water pressure to fill the water filter in the kitchen.

18} You use bug spray like perfume. There is nothing like feeling all clean after taking a shower because you were super sweaty and covered in bug spray. Only to ruin the whole feeling by reapplying bug spray and sweating from the effort of it all. And then climbing your bug spray covered self into bed, through the mosquito netting and onto the sheets you painstakingly washed, hung, let sit for 36 hrs and put back on your bed.

19} You feel like Target was a mirage in a dream you had once…

20} You take a walk, chat with a neighbor, pretend you understand because you are completely unsure which language she was conversing with you in, buy some rice that you are pretty sure has bugs in it and return home to cook and feed it to your family. All while being followed by a heard of children asking for bon bons.

What is something that tells you you are a missionary mom?

Or for even more fun…

You know you are a teacher mom, a preacher mom, a nurse mom… Tell me about your day!



  1. I continue to be amazed at your fortitude. Your wholefamily! You are lucky to have a sense of humor through all of this. I think the bugs would be the end of it for me. Your faith is so refreshing for me to see through all of your posts!

    I continue to be amazed when you say things like “in the garage” but then you don’t have water for 3 days. You have Internet, but constantly have to do the plug shuffle. Like you’re living In a pseudo modern world that just teases you with modernity.

    I look forward to seeing more of your journey. Have you ever thought of doing posts occasionally through the eyes of Jeremy or one of the girls? Like a series built on your missionary mom post. You could do you know you’re a missionary preacher when, or you’re a missionary daughter when….

  2. I can relate to many of those. 🙂 Now I am having some different things after just returning to the US- like trying to locate a hair dryer that I know I had right before leaving the US, but didn’t take due to lack of current. And telling the kids that it really is OK to drink the water from the faucets, and remembering that much of this may be familiar to me, but foreign to them. So I’m taking the time to give reminders on the hot and cold water faucets among other things. 🙂

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