It Takes a Village

Let me tell you a thing about motherhood. While it comes about as a tango by two (in any iteration), it is an experience that can make you feel very much alone. Motherhood can be a very lonely thing. Why do you think so many moms form clubs, have meetings and create online communities commiserating with each other over the common crazy and wine? There is an ‘if you know, you know’ sentiment where shared experiences help to make the entire journey easier once you know that others are going through the same.

Moms hold in their hearts the worry that comes with pregnancy, the pangs and the pain, the trauma of childbirth and breastfeeding, the pervasive thoughts about their non-biological children, the self-doubt, the mom-guilt, the societal expectations and the obsession over doing it right by these children all from year 0 to year 18 and beyond.

Now in light of this. all mothers are not perfect. Some may not get it right and others don’t deserve the title beyond the biological process. So where can they get support for the sake of the babies? Enter the village.

In our nine-day news cycle in Trinidad and Tobago, one particular tragic circumstance is front and centre. read about it here and come back.

I purposefully activated the turbo in my scrolling finger mainly because Trinis can get very stupid in a social media comments section and sometimes my brain doesn’t cope well with that. In reading the story however I stood with those who wondered why the neighbour would have seen the child in the road and not raise an immediate alarm…in the road….. I stand on that opinion despite her viral video explanation re not being able to catch the child as well as the blame being placed squarely on the mother who should have kept an eye on the child.

A village provides extra cover for a mother who has failings, check all the societal traditions over the course of history to see how this plays out as fact. I have run out of fingers and toes trying to count the amount of times I have done absolute mess as a mother. My own mom (who is my village leader) reminded me of this recently:

Ting tuh cry for……

A strong sense of community is a critical element in the mental, emotional and psychological state of those on parenting journey. Some have no one to rely on to ask for help or to teach them how to do this parenting thing properly at a time or in a manner that would benefit of the child. This is why some are run ragged to the point where no ‘self-care Sunday’ would suffice. Community is a tradition that seems to be missing very much in Trinidad society (except of course in a negative way).

If you are close to a mother in any sense, don’t shy away from being a part of her village even in the age of “drink water and mind yuh business”. There is a way to do it without being ‘fass and outta place’*

Are you a mother? Can you identify who is in your village or do you feel alone and helpless? If you’re not a mother, are you an active part of a village?

I’d love to read your thoughts in the comments!

Blessings

TMIDM

*nosy and unbearable

The Thing About Teenagers…

Is this thing on?

Back from an absence and to be honest I was stalling quite a bit to write and to post because I’m feeling very compelled to give my blog a whole refresh again especially in time for my bloggerversary in April. However, like a prisoner with a lucky break, time just seems to escape me.

Anywhooo…

I’ve been steadily trying to adjust properly into my new role as Trini mom of two teens (and by steadily, I mean from about October of 2021). Everything is in full swing now though and while sometimes I run like clockwork, there are many days when I feel like…Jesus just take the wheel, the car, the tune-up, the monthly installments AND the insurance because EYE not able with this!!!

Tew….much…

I feel like NO-ONE adequately informed me about mothering teenagers and I have questions. The sad part is that in my decade (plus) career as an Educator (including a lengthy spell as a Dean of Discipline), you would think that I would have learnt a thing or two about dealing with them. I did, but here’s the thing though, I can’t send mine home to their parents or suspend them from school for seven days to get them out my sight. They actually live in my house so alas, there is no separation of church and state. This is outright corruption and it stink.

Knowledge is power though and I am definitely learning every damn day. If you thought the lack of sleep/milk factory newborn stage is rough or the draining/demanding toddler stage is exhausting, guess what? It just morphs into a new set of challenges at the adolescent stage where you (more often than not) question your sanity, walk on eggshells, get irritated quickly, manage your expectations and worry….and oh you will worry…. a lot….more than you need to, but as much as you want to. Once you have children “it” never ends.

Here are a couple things I’ve learnt on this journey so far:

  • Teens want space. All of a sudden, I live a house with a corridor flanked by closed doors (NOT locked in my damn house). I knock for proof of life but most times I don’t need to as I usually hear giggling or bantering as they are ‘online’ with their friends. They don’t know how lucky they have it nah.
  • Said space will be acceptable to their standards which means it will be messy as hell if you don’t reign it in. I usually tell my gremlinz to at least neaten it up, nobody is saying to put down a Christmas cleaning, but try not to have stuff strewn all over when there are clear receptacles available.
  • Said space will also be the prison for your missing cutlery and crockery. When I see the stacks of dishes emerge from their dungeons in the evening, I shake my head and wonder how personally invested I would have to be in order to NOT make this a “thing” as de young people like to say. (Answer: Not that invested, and it depends on what the stack looks like.)
  • There is a slight obsession with hair. The elder gremlin asked me to grow his out while he would need curl activator and a hair sponge. (Naturally I enabled this as casual observation from the after-school population shows that teen boys find and express themselves through hairstyles). The younger gremlin all of a sudden wants to “see” what her hair would look like straight, it’s too thick for her to handle and apparently, I don’t do a well-enough job to make her look fly. Then she changes her mind because she gets fed up easily. She wouldn’t drive me mad.
  • Bad moods are de rigueur. Sometimes they scowl, fret and argue for no reason. One minute they will make their own breakfast, next minute they’re mad because I didn’t make anything for them. No amount of “this-is-the-day-that-the-Lord-hath-made-we-will-rejoice-and-be-glad-in-it” will help. My house gets very angsty and most times I just leave them alone yes because I doh want no bad vibes and they wouldn’t drive me mad.
  • You compete with headphones and earphones for their attention so they don’t “hear” you. Thankfully I have 5-year-old #gremlin3 who dutifully serves as town crier when necessary so I am safe. He handles the sentence “MUMMY CALLIN YUH!!!” with such ease.
  • Teens are masterful in identifying the random moments when they feel like talking. It is at this point you laser your focus to make sure that it appears as though you are doing nothing or doing some nonchalant activity. At this very random time they just appear, start with one word and then the rest follows like word vomit. For this sharing of thoughts I am always grateful but of course expect them to disappear shortly after they have unloaded on you.
  • Teens still need physical touch. They might roll their eyes, hit you the “oh gosh man!” or the “don’t be weird”, but they melt like butter once they get hugs etc. and then for a brief moment you see the inner child flicker in their eyes.

I’ve learnt so much more, but these are my main lessons. I still feel like as much as they brilliantly package the “what to expect” for pregnancy, babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers, all the feverish teachings die out at the later stages of a child’s life so it’s more of a ‘do what works for you but don’t raise no more shitty kids, the world has enough’ scenario. Therefore sometimes I am left with going back to my own teens trying to remember what I liked and didn’t like to influence my present parenting strategy. But then again….these children different….

Am I alone in thinking that way? If you have teenagers, do you feel the same? If you have littles, are you even thinking about coping with the teen years? Let me know in the comments below and be sure to follow me on:

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Bless!

TMIDM

Bring de cake!

Happy New Year! Feliz Año Nuevo! Bonne Année! Xīnnián hǎo!

(Google helped me with my Mandarin…)

I feel like I can still send you good tidings even if we are still in the 9th month of January and while it may feel old (especially fuh we who crawling to payday), the year is still basically new. Hell, some people are still writing 2021 for the date, ah could bet meh last struggling Christmas snacks on dat.

I have long given up on the idea of New Year’s Resolutions and if there is anything the last two years of ‘WTF’ have taught us, it is to just be resolute in living every day. So for this new year, much like 2021 (especially when we thought the ‘rona would disappear at midnight and we would return to normalcy), I am keeping my aspirations very measured and I am trying to live my best life one day at a time. As a matter of fact, I have taken up the hashtag #bringthecake stolen without remorse from a recent release from Mary J. Blige who is my aunty/godmother even if she doesn’t know it yet. #bringthecake is a reminder to me to live everyday like it’s your birthday (much like the song which I have on endless repeat). Life is short and rather than live in anticipation of the next big thing, I choose to regard the small victories, day by day.

Now this may not be your recipe, some people are still throwing their line, aiming far to reel in the big goals while others are experiencing ‘failure to launch’, not sure of the what or the how or the why, still shell-shocked from 2021. I regard both positions and to me, they are both acceptable as I am a very strong advocate for ‘do what works for you’.

My 2022 hashtag goes well with my 2022 quote which is again stolen without remorse from Carl Jung, a Swiss theorist I studied many blood moons ago but whose words will be relevant for me this year:

Jung Inspirational Quotes Vision. QuotesGram
A whole Tedtalk in a couple ah lines

I don’t know if it is a thing with being in your forties (and those in the later forties feel free to let me know in the comments please) but suddenly I feel very purposeful with being self-aware and what genuinely connects me to me, as though it is now THE THING that matters. I feel like it is not a new journey but a new type of discovery I am yet to undergo. One thing for sure is that I have made it a definite priority to remain focused on celebrating the person who is going to grow from it all. Sounding good?

Aye, do me a favour and remind me of this whenever I say that my work/gremlinz/husband/plants/students/Trinidad society in general are driving me blasted insane. Feel free to send some damn cake! Ah will appreciate dat.

Bless

TMIDM

P.S. I also have a word for 2022, check it out here and of course lemme know what you picked for your word, quote, mantra or hashtag for 2022 in the comments below!