The Island of Misfit Mothers

I had this friend…..

She had talent galore….

I was amazed at her ability to organize and keep things together.  Besides being beautiful, she was talented in the homemaking world. She did all the laundry on Monday, she shopped for food on Tuesday with a week long meal plan (and coupons), she prepared meals for the week on Wednesday, Thursday was Bible study day, and on Friday she cleaned her home so it would be a relaxing place over the weekend.  She sewed, she baked, she led Bible Study, her house was immaculate, and she had the most amazing garden. Her closets were organized, her house was neatly decorated, and her children were well behaved.  She seemed perfect.

Needless to say, I felt like a mess compared to her.  I would come to her home and she would have some nifty craft project for us to do while we sipped tea and ate her amazing homemade baked items.  While her craft project looked like a piece of art, mine always appeared as if a first grader made it.  I often called her for advice on cooking, decorating, gardening and life because she was the closest thing I knew to Martha Stuart….minus the jail part of course.

Through the years, we spent a lot of time together.  I was the whimsical mother halfway put together, with stains from motherhood on my clothing.  I was clumsy and silly.  I wasn’t necessarily conventional in all my homemaking ways.  I did not shop with a grocery list because I could not predict what I would be hungry for in two days.  My husband did our laundry out of fear of me ruining it.  I cleaned our house once a week, but my closets were always (still are) a mess.

Though I had some routine in life, I never ran with a plan.  My kids and I would find an adventure or take up a craft project depending on our mood of the day.  I kind of winged it through those early years of motherhood.

My friend would tease me at times about my inabilities.  Yes, I was that woman who would cook a meal, and there would be that one dish that didn’t turn out so well.  I would wear a great outfit and discover a hole in my armpit.  I would plant a vegetable garden and it would die.  I felt like I belonged on the island of misfit mothers.

As I wrestled in those early years of motherhood, I began to develop some unrealistic goals of myself. I spent a lot of time comparing myself to others, which led me down a depressing path of secretly feeling like a failure.  Yes, I let my kids watch too much TV.  I let them suck on their binky’s until they were 3.  I bribed my kids to be good in the store and I spanked my kids and screamed at them on my very bad days.  Are these the ways of a perfect mom?

I slowly drifted apart from my friend as I began to realize my relationship with her wasn’t so healthy.  I began to grow spiritually and I got back into music.  I started leading worship at church.  I started seeing things differently and accepting myself for the way I was.  I stopped comparing myself to others and worrying what others thought.  I didn’t worry so much about doing things right, instead I focused on using my strengths in my parenting rather than my weaknesses.  It was freeing because I began to understand what it meant to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen, letting him fix the misfit that I was and still am.

Remember what Jesus said to Martha in Luke 10:38-42?

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her.”

The overachiever, the perfectionist, the disorganized mom, the depressed mom, the fat bottomed mom with stains on her shirt, we are all beautiful misfits who need to take the time to sit at His feet and listen.  We can be free of the unrealistic goals because He told us there is of only one thing that matters.  We can trust that where we fail as a mom, He can fix it.

….. It’s going to be ok all you misfits!

8 Comments on “The Island of Misfit Mothers

  1. Who is Martha Stewart?
    I don’t think I ever liked her!!

  2. That was perfectly said! Great reminder & I def. belong to the misfit mother category.

  3. What I have been learning this year – and it is so freeing! I love being a misfit mom!

  4. thank you. very freeing. I appreciate your words, tweets…. they mean much.


  5. She seemed perfect.

    Oh my dear. The key to that is “seemed”. None of us have it all together, all the time. The older I get, the more I realize that.

    The one with the perfectly clean house may be that way because they have it all together, or because they struggle with insecurity or OCD.

    The one that is so in shape? May be she loves to run and uses it as a stress reliever OR battled anoxeria OR her husband belittles her about her size.

    The crafty one? Feels inadequate when her daughter brings home her math homework.

    Or not.

    We all have our issues, its just some keep them hidden better than others.

    Wonderful post. I love reading you and watching Isabel’s work.

  6. Thanks! I needed to hear that today. Today I have been thinking of some things I have done as a mom that I wish I had done differently…thanks for the encouragement.

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