Yep! It’s my day to be lazy. I will get

Yep! It’s my day to be lazy. I will get to it right after work!
🙂
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Confessions of a Recovering Yeller

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A gentle answer turns away wrath, but harsh words stir up anger. Proverbs 15:1

She sat across from me, looking drained, defeated.

“I am a terrible mom. I can’t stop yelling at my kids.  When I get ticked off, it’s like a tap that’s been turned on, under very high pressure. Everything just gushes out and I’ll not stop till am spent. It’s like a bout of ”- she looked away and sighed – “diarrhea. Then later I feel so terrible! I can’t erase the look of pain on my son’s face. I think I am ruining them and I can’t stop myself! What is wrong with me?”

Sigh. My heart resonated with her words. Her predicament struck a familiar chord within me. And here’s why.

My name is Carol and I am a Recovering Yeller.

And like all bad habits we need to recover from, I was not born…

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The Best Laundry Scent Booster Ever!

I’ve never been the artsy craftsy, DIY type, but I’ve realized recently that I have become more open to these types of things. I don’t know if I’m spending too much time on Pinterest or I am becoming more wifely and motherly, but I have been trying my hand at this DIY thing a lot recently. First it was my backyard herb garden, then it was DIY Christmas decorations, and a variety of other things have followed after.

So, I am obsessed with cleanliness and having a clean, fresh-smelling home. I apply the same to my laundry. The only thing that beats the smell of clean and delicately fragranced clothes fresh from the machine is the warm clothes fresh from the clothesline. By the way, in Jamaica we hardly use dryers because we have several hours of sunshine throughout the year. So after washing, our clothes are placed on the clothesline outside to be dried by the sun. As a result of my affinity for clean and fragranced clothes, I have invested heavily in Gain and Downy but recently, I decided to try a DIY version I found on Pinterest. You can check out the original 3-ingredient DIY Laundry Scent Booster here, but my recipe is slightly different.

DIY

Ingredients

1 cup Arm and Hammer Baking Soda

1 cup Lavender-scented Epsom Salt

 

All I had to do was combine 1 cup of each ingredient, mix well and store in an airtight container. As you can see in the picture, I have put my empty Downy Unstoppable bottle to good use. I have tried it out a couple times and as persons on Pinterest said, you will not regret it; your clothes will thank you!

This is how

Try it and let me know what you think.

Why I want a tubal ligation

I had my sons on November 24, 2004 and since that day I’ve wanted a tubal ligation. I know that I may be committing a sin to some of the mommies out there but I have to say it; I do not want any more children! I’ve felt this way and only speak about it to close family and friends as I fear the wrath of the religious and the mommies who believe that a woman should do as she was made to do “be fruitful and multiply”. To these people I must say, I am sorry.

NO MORE BABIES!

I got the courage to share my feelings today after reading the article “No More Babies: My Tubal Ligation Surgery Part 1” by Melissa (Kreative Beautii) on My Trending Stories. Since giving birth to my boys, I have spoken to my OB/GYN, my Family Physician and a few other doctors about my feelings and they all regurgitate the same script:

  • You’re too young.
    • Yes, in my twenties, maybe I was young and single and unsure of the future. The one thing I did know, I did not want another pregnancy or more children!
  • You’re not married yet. What if you get married to someone other than the boys’ father and he wants a child?
    • So, I have married the father of my children; I still don’t want another pregnancy or more children.
    • If things were different and I happened to have married someone else, I still would not want another pregnancy or more children. As such, this new man/husband would be marrying me knowing from the very first day that this is how I feel.
  • Tubal ligation is too permanent; what if you change your mind and want more children later?
    • It is because it is permanent why I want it! It is the best way to guarantee my wish, hopes, dreams and desires of never having another pregnancy.

So, I think you get the gist by now; I feel very strongly about this. Don’t get me wrong, Matthew and Michael are the best things to happen to me and I would never give them up for anything. So, why do I not want to have more of these blessings? Several reasons:

  1. I had a complicated and emotional roller coaster pregnancy. My pregnancy was not easy; it had many challenges physically, mentally and emotionally and I do not wish to go through that again. While a pregnancy now would be different and I wouldn’t face some of the things I did then, it would nonetheless come with challenges I am not willing to face or have the strength to face now.
  2. I believe that my two boys are more than enough. The journey from conception to the birth of my boys has its ups and downs; and this has carried on to this very day. I have watched my boys grow from babies to now pre-teens and I am not only happy with what I see but I am also extremely satisfied. My husband and I have managed to turn all our obstacles and challenges into successes and we have done tremendously well in raising our two boys and I honestly believe that our boys are enough. They provide us with all the joys, laughter, sorrow, tears and anything else you can think of that a child brings to a parent’s life. There is honestly no room for anyone else.
  3. Children are expensive! This is what people always call the selfish reason and I say this with no apology, I am entitled to it. If you know my story and you know what I have been through, you will know that I deserve a little selfishness every now and then. I don’t know about where you are from but where I am from, babies cost a lot of money. From birth to feeding, clothing, education, etc. they come with a huge bill. My family and I enjoy a modest life where we occasionally go out to movies, dinner, travel, etc. and we do not wish to disrupt that equilibrium. It is my belief that another child will take away from that and result in us having to shift our priorities and give up on some of the luxuries we have come to enjoy. I say this with no apology; I am not willing to do that. I love my life as it is and I want it to stay as it is.

I don’t know if this will inspire anyone else with similar views to share them but I hope that it will impact someone the way Melissa’s article impacted me. For the persons I have offended, I am sorry but these are my views and I pledged to be honest in my blog posts when I started this blog. Whether you agree with me or not, share your thoughts in the comments section below so that we can have a spirited discussion.

Boys are better than girls!

Yes, I said it! Boys are better than girls. I say this from the viewpoint that I believe boys are easier to raise than girls and not that I think boys can do better or more things than girls. I have read a lot of articles about this echoing similar points to support each side respectively, but I continuously side with the boys.

What does the research say?

There are varying theories and studies to give evidence for both sides. An article, Who’s Easier: Boys or Girls  by fellow mother and writer Renee Bacher in Parents Magazine, outlines the differences between the two genders. For example, she stated how girls are “emotionally high maintenance” and “talk back more” while boys are “aggressive and physical”. In Boys vs. Girls: Who’s Harder to Raise, an article by Paula Spencer in Parenting Magazine, it is said that boys are harder with respect to discipline, physical safety and school (education).

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What are my thoughts on this?

When I found out I was having two boys I was ecstatic because I think girls are more work than boys and here are my reasons.

  • I was not looking forward to combing their hair. As someone of African descent, I have very thick, curly hair that was difficult to contain as a child. I still remember the difficulties my mother had when shampooing and combing my hair. I did not want to deal with one girl’s hair much less two!
  • I am not a girly-girl. I was and still am a tomboy. Don’t get me wrong, I have fabulous legs and love to show them off in skirts and heels, but that’s where the buck stops for my girly-ness. I could not see how I would muster up the little oestrogen in me to teach my daughter(s) to be a girl.
  • I do think girls talk back more. I did it, so I’m sure my daughter would! I was not looking forward to a double dose of the feisty gene.
  • Girls are harder to handle in their teens and pre-teens. For the simple fact that girls mature earlier than boys, it makes me have to deal with the pre-teen and teen drama earlier than I want to. The crushes, boyfriends, makeup, going out with friends, sex, drugs, etc., I just cannot deal. I want my babies to stay babies for as long as I possibly can.
  • Boys like to climb, throw things and play rough. So did I as a child and I was looking forward to it! Playing with dolls and having tea parties is not my cup of tea. Give me a game system with fighting or car racing and I’m happy!

I cannot comment on what it is like to have girls but I can say that life with my boys these past 11+ years has been a breeze.

  • Discipline
    • Parents have often commented on how disciplined they are and how much they listen to and respect others. My sons have never and will never run amok in a store, my workplace or anywhere other than a play area. They have never and will never throw a tantrum in public and when I think back, they have never done it in private either.
  • My boys were physically active.
    • I don’t recall them being any more active than any regular, healthy boy child. That’s what children do when they discover their legs and start to discover the world. All we can do is to help them do it safely.
  • School/ Education
    • Matthew and Michael are brilliant boys. Maybe it was all the studying I did when they were in utero or the classical music I played for them, or maybe it was the breast milk. Whatever the reason, Michael and Matthew have always been at the top of their class.
  • Emotions
    • I taught my boys from early on to share their thoughts and feelings with us. If they don’t think they can share something with one parent, share it with the other. So far, its working and I will keep my fingers crossed that it continues as they are about to enter high school, which brings on a whole new world of emotions and experiences.

Many parents ask Gabriel and I what is the secret to having boys who are so different from the stereotype. The answer to that question – I don’t know. All I can say is, a child’s outcome depends a lot on the parent and the parenting. Nature will do part of the work to determine how your child will be and nurture will take care of the rest. I tell parents to nurture their child in the way they want them to be. I wanted brilliant, disciplined, well-mannered boys and I nurtured those behaviours. The how is different for all parents and is a great topic for a completely different blog post. Let’s leave that for another time; until then – take care!

Why ruin life with a pregnancy?

That’s the question so many people asked me when they found out I was pregnant. If you remember from one of my early posts, I had my sons at a young age, 21. At that time, many persons thought I was too young to handle the responsibility of raising not just one, but two children. I remember people saying, “You have a bright future ahead of you, why ruin it with a pregnancy so soon?” It was these words and those naysayers that made me decide that I will do more than just raise my two boys, but also be an exemplary role model for them. I pledged to raise intelligent gentlemen and achieve all the goals I set for myself while in school. From that moment on, they were my inspiration and motivation to succeed in everything I set out to achieve in life.

Don't focus on the negatives, always look at the bright side!

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’d know I had a physically and emotionally challenging pregnancy. But at all times I was determined to show everyone that not only will I survive, but I will triumph. As challenging as my pregnancy was, giving birth and raising my boys while studying for my masters degree proved to be a completely different set of hurdles. But my boys proved to be a great motivation because not only did I put those days and nights of studying, assignments, feedings and restlessness on their part to good use, but I was able to complete my masters with flying colours in the prescribed time and ahead of some of my classmates!

I got photobombed in 2007!

As I took on one challenge after another, my sons proved time and again to be great motivators. We faced each challenge head-on and conquered all like fierce warriors. Then it was their turn to start school. Their first day was an extremely emotional day for me; the boys and I cried buckets of tears as Gabriel and I took them to their classroom. As the tears flowed, I felt sorry for poor Gabriel, who had to be consoling all three of us, but it just seemed impossible to stop. Eventually, both the boys and I got ahold of ourselves and we accepted our realities. As we embraced our new routines and roles in life, we began a new journey.

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During their years of school, their attitude towards schoolwork was amazing! Though I was always at the top of my class, I hated school when I was a child. My boys were different, as they enjoyed school and academics. They have amazingly curious minds that allow them to conquer their academics like great warriors. Each school term, they’ve earned places at the top of their class and have never faltered. In March, they sat the national exams called the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT). These are tests done by all students in Jamaican primary-level schools, for placement in high school. It is widely competitive as children prepare extensively for the two days of tests to ensure that they get into the high school of their choice. Again, my boys made me proud as their results came back with them gaining grades in the high 90’s and 100’s, earning each of them a place in one of the top schools in the country.

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Today I am beaming with pride! We just got home from their graduation and man, I am proud! Matthew and Michael took home almost all the academic awards, proving yet again that Gabriel and I (in our youth) have done something right. Once again, our sons have proven to be great inspirations and motivation for me. They have shown me that not only is it important for me to do well to show the naysayers, but also for my boys to see that they too can achieve what they set out to do in life and that they too can succeed when they put in hard work.

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My pregnancy didn’t ruin my life, it saved my life. This post is dedicated to my sons, my saviours, motivation, inspiration and centre of my soul. They have made Gabriel and I proud parents who are happy and grateful to lead them into adulthood; congratulations on the first leg of your journey and all the best for the next leg.

What’s in a name?

When I found out I was having twin boys, I thought long and hard about their names. This is because I have a strange name that people often mispronounce and misspell, so I didn’t want to inflict the same pain upon my children. So, for my precious babies, my criteria were simple:

  • Easy to pronounce
  • Easy to spell
  • Must have a profound meaning

What's in a name-

During the months leading up to their birth, Gabriel and I went over various options for our second son (Michael). This is because I already knew I wanted the first one to be named Matthew. How did I come by this name? It wasn’t anything great or profound, I simply met a two year boy when I was in my teens named Matthew and he was the cutest and nicest little thing ever. When I researched the meaning of the name Matthew, I was hooked! Matthew is derived from the Bible and means “Gift of God”. Saint Matthew is said to have been one of the twelve disciples, a tax collector and the author of the first Gospel in the New Testament. Now, my husband and I are not religious persons but for us the name was fitting. Our children are a gift from God and it was only fitting that the first born got a name suited to that.

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Naming our second twin Michael was a little trickier. We went through a variety of names before settling on the name Jonathan, which means “God has given”. Nice name and meaning isn’t it? Yes, we thought so too. But then we realized it didn’t sound good when you called it out loud with Matthew. For example, if they are being mischievous and I have to shout “Matthew and Jonathan”, it just didn’t have a ring to it. Also, in my country’s native tongue (patois), Jonathan is often mispronounced and that was (and still is) a big no-no for me. Gabriel and my parents also agreed, so it was back to the drawing board. One day my mother said, “What about Michael, have you considered that?” Somehow, that one eluded me so I said it out loud; Matthew and Michael. Okay, it had a little ring to it. It is hard to mispronounce or misspell Michael. Okay, we may have a winner. The final test was to check out the meaning. Lo and behold, the name Michael means “Who is like God”. Michael is one of the seven archangels in Hebrew tradition and the only one identified as an archangel in the Bible. In the Book of Revelation, he is portrayed as the leader of heaven’s armies, and is considered the patron saint of soldiers. Ding, ding, ding!! We have a winner!

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So, here I am with my gift from God and two archangels; my husband Gabriel’s name means “God is my strong man” and he too was one of the seven archangels. What more could a wife and mother ask for? Have my boys lived up to their names? Yes indeed! Matthew is a whiz at Mathematics and not someone you want to mess with when it comes to borrowing or negotiating money and finances. Michael has demonstrated excellence in his Cub Scouts group and greatness in academics, especially Science, and is well on his way to becoming a great leader. As for our archangel Gabriel, he leads the family with the strength God bestowed upon him.

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I am sure there are many other things to consider when naming your child as I found out in these articles:

These are all great things to consider and I hope my story and the articles above can be helpful to you or a friend.

Share with us your story of how you named your child(ren).

 

The pros and cons of a business trip

From the first day I started working I have had travelling jobs. Within my first month of my first job, I had to leave my boys for one week to go to the Dominican Republic. As beautiful and fantastic as it was, I missed my boys (all three of them). At the time, Matthew and Michael were almost two years old, and today, eleven years later, it is still hard leaving them. One job required me to travel out of the country for as many as four times for the year, for as much as two weeks on each occasion. For others, I had to travel to other parts of my country that required an overnight stay or two or sometimes three. Regardless of the time spent or where I go, I have a love-hate relationship with business trips.

As I write this blog post, I am sitting in the lounge of the Altamont West Hotel, a business hotel with a fantastic view of the Caribbean Sea. Watching the waves crash ever so gently on the beach is soothing after a really long day; the only drawback is the hustle and bustle of the busy street below that separates the hotel from the beach. Nonetheless, I try to block out the negatives and enjoy the positives.

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As I sit and enjoy the cool breeze coming off the sea and the smell of the jerk pork cooking at the restaurant, Pork Pit, next door, I ponder the pros and cons of my trips over the years.

Reasons why I love business trips!

  • Peace and quiet – Business trips guarantee some peace and quiet as there is no one shouting “Mom”, “Mommy” or “Hon”. These trips are a welcome break from the normal routine.
  • Food frenzy – I love food and trying different types. My boys (all three of them) do not share the same sentiment. As such, business trips are an opportunity for me to partake in diverse restaurant offerings from the hotel or nearby establishments. Tonight’s choice was sushi; and boy was it delicious!
  • Relaxation time and “me” time – What to do with peace and quiet? Enjoy your own company – watch TV (in peace), read a book, or sit by the lounge and watch people and traffic go by. Whatever floats your boat, enjoy it while it lasts!
  • Get stuff done! – Doing work at home makes me feel guilty, as if I am putting work before my family. However, I don’t feel this guilt when I work on a business trip so I make good use of the time. I make sure to call and talk to my boys, ensuring that all is well at home and everyone is okay. After that, my conscience is clear to work until I am sleepy.

Reasons why I hate business trips

  • Empty hotel room – Nothing beats coming home to a warm house, full of people you love and who loves you.
  • Not my bed – While I have slept in nice hotels with nice beds, none were my own and no bed is as warm, comfortable and inviting as my own.
  • Missing my boys – Somehow when I am home and my name or “mommy” is called several times a day I want it to stop but when I am away and not hearing my family, it sounds weird and I feel nostalgic. Does that happen to you too? Sometimes the peace and quiet is deafening and I want some noise! I want to hear my name; I want someone to shout “Mommy, where are my school shoes?”
  • No human pillow – I like to cuddle in bed; it helps me to fall asleep, and no hotel room comes fitted with my husband or a life-sized version of him for me to cuddle with. Until this is invented, I will forever hate business trips!

Business trips are bittersweet and this one is no different. I love the view from my room and the peace and quiet is great; but even when they drive me crazy, I love my boys and today I really miss my boys!