Life of a Hustler (part 1)

I am always hustling. Counting minutes in my head, always watching my timepiece. I am a veritable slave to time. It is the only way that I know to exist.

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(Nobody is usually smiling  like that though. There’s usually urging, yelling, snapping fingers, pleading and total forgetting of the usual family pleasantries, I’m late dammit.)it’s bad, I know.

During the week I wake up at 4 am. I strive to pray but it usually ends up with me telling God, “thanks for waking me up, we’ll talk more in the car.” I actually get off my bed around 4:30 or 5am depending on whether young Boyo is lying next to me under my armpit or how much prep I have to do to send people off with food. Then I have to make sure to leave home before 6:45 or else I’ll have to resort to driving like a maniac so I can screech in to work on time. So my morning routine is like a checklist going of in my head, of course subject to delays: car trouble, burnt breakfast, last-minute bathroom trips. Then I offload the gremlinz at my mother’s in the opposite direction. Sometimes she wants to do small talk which I don’t usually mind but other times: tick tock. Sometimes the gremlinz forget stuff at home which allows me to reconnect with God as I royally get pissed off. “This is a well-oiled machine that isn’t supposed to have any kinks! Get it together!!!” It is bad, again, I know.

I work one and a quarter hours away and the roads are really bad but punctuality cares nothing for distance. I make sure to get gas for my car the evening before because any delay could cause me to get stuck in traffic that I wouldn’t have been stuck in, had I left earlier. I have every single traffic light timed in my head and memorized. I have shortcuts mastered. I even try to anticipate how fast a driver looks like he will go so I will know not to get stuck behind him.  I know all the potholes in the aforementioned bad roads. I know the distance from A to B is 12 minutes, B to C is 3 minutes, C to D is 11 minutes, D to F is 7 minutes with complete exactness. Sad? Yup….

Don’t ever be a teacher who is late. You might as well be carving your own to cross to properly well plant into the ground in a place called Calvary. Not to mention, you are exposed for principal, colleagues, students, everybody to judge no matter your lame/valid excuse. I have 45 minutes late against my record for the year. I CANNOT afford to add to it to be supplied with letters and to suffer through warnings so I try my best. But then there are others who operate  like time in a non-muthaluvin factor. My husband is like that. No concept of time whatsoever and he cares nothing for it, whenever he reach, he reach which I think is a little selfish.

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Sigh….Get there on time! The world does not revolve around you and your tardiness!

I could try to slow down but then the joke’s on me as everything then piles up like dishes in your sink. No one feels as obligated to get tasks done in my camp which would assist everyone. I tend to run out of constant reminders for the fam so I might as well get up do it myself. It will work until I drop down. One of these days I will activate the FUCKIT button though.  Bad? Definitely. Next up….weekends….

Bless up

TMIDM

Winning!

She looked at me and deadpanned, “Ah cyah handle allyuh sometimes yuh know”. And then let go a long watery steups. I started to laugh.

Some time ago I was pregnant. It wasn’t a totally glorious time with sunshine, rainbows and idyllic photoshoots in the woods. It was painful, I was heavy, my bones ached and I was so ready for it to end post week 28. However, I must say beyond my beyond beyoooootiful baby boy (hereafter referred to as Boyo), the best part of being pregnant is all the courtesy I got as I ventured all over the place. The malls, the church, on the road Carnival Monday and Tuesday (yes, I went through bravely and that was awesome)…People were like ‘watch out’, ‘be careful’, ‘take my seat’, ‘ok I will spare you this time but don’t let me catch you on the bus route again’…..that sorta thing. I was so appreciative and sometimes just a kind word helped me along the way while I was doing business on the outside when I just wanted to be home in meh bed.

Flash forward to post-pregnancy……After I recovered, life continued so I still had to move to suit my other two gremlinz. In addition, I had other personal business to see about, so I had to load up baby in car seat and hit the road. Well if I was surprised at the kindness of people while I was pregnant, I was blown away by the courtesy I received when toting 2-week old Boyo around. In a financial institution I got a cheque cashed when the official policy is to deposit it directly into your bank account. At three banks, I was immediately ushered to the counter. In a government office I got skipped to the front of a loooooong snaking line and got through in 20 minutes. The same thing happened when I went to pay a utility bill. I begged a park in a car park in the heart of POS and got through. In the grocery a lady took the items out my cart for me, even though it was a few things I ducked in to get. I felt really special, so special that my husband said I was milking it. I started bragging to no end :D, hence the reason for my sister’s response at the top of the post here. She told me I need to shut up when I kept talking about how easy and quick I kept getting through at places when I have Boyo with me 😀

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As a busy mother especially in Trinidad where customer service is close to nil and services move like molasses at particular times of the month, I was eternally grateful and ok maybe a tad over-zealous with it. I kept daring the system and felt like I was winning.  My mother volunteered to babysit but I was like “Nah! I’m good! Both of us going!” I felt like as a mother you gotta do what you gotta do. So if I hadda be smart and use meh popo as leverage, I doing it and if I continue annoying people like my sister who hadda stand in line, so be it. The nine months have to count for something :’D

Bless up

TMIDM

Sadness

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On Sunday night I got some devastating news about a friend of mine who passed away.  Of course I refused to believe it at first but when I got confirmation I felt as though someone knifed me in the heart. I plunged into sadness because to me grief comes not when you know someone is going to die by illness or suffering, but when it happens unexpectedly. That is the worst kind. On top of that is where your mind tosses about the couldas and the shouldas and the wouldas and that this death that was totally unexpected happened under questionable circumstances, makes it even worse. Now I have all these how and why questions that no one can answer for me now and I think that is what hurts the most. I have no immediate and absolute facts to deal with other than the one that is most poignant, that he is dead.

Of course all of the memories came flooding back, all the occasions, the serious conversations, the laughs, the singing and dancing…I knew that it would be a lot to bear. Yesterday at work I armed myself with various distractions, couple of DVDs, games, so I managed to block out my thoughts for bits at a time but he came back in a few random moments. I managed to smile today as I remembered a few and sighed rather than cried. I don’t feel as devastated as I did on Sunday into Monday but the sadness is still there as I suspect it will be until he is laid to rest.

It doesn’t happen often but I embrace my sadness. I wallow in it  because it comforts me and at a time like this, it is the only emotion, the only feeling that I am sure of.  I give it the attention it needs and then it goes away eventually. It might sound strange but it works for me much like anger, anxiety and fear.

So my friend is gone. It pains me to believe and it’s difficult to accept but I will get there and I have my sadness to help me along.

Bless up

TMIDM

Happy Mother’s Day!!

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Another year is here of well wishes, gift-giving and general pleasantries by all towards mothers and all representations on this Mother’s Day 2015. Happy Mother’s Day to all and sundry and on this day! I hope that each and every one of you spends the day as you see fit whether it be with family enjoying company, being waited upon and eating to your heart’s delight or completely alone enjoying the escape and relishing the peace and quiet.

This may sound weird but I’m not a hundred percent sold on Mother’s Day. I’m not completely against it like some men and Valentine’s Day but let’s just say I can understand the sentiment. “Why do I need a day to celebrate what should be celebrated everyday?” I’m certain for some mothers it’s a tad weird being fawned over and getting praises heaped upon for all that you do as opposed to tomorrow when it will be back to the regularly scheduled programming. It’s a tad facetious don’t you think?

I mean I understand the recognition and I’m one zillion percent behind showing appreciation to mothers for not just what we do but for who we are. Being a mother is the hardest vocation thrown at me by life because there really are days when I feel like I have it totally on lock and then there are others when I wish I could call for a time-out and let the substitute run on and take a sweat for a while.

What I’m saying is that appreciation should be shown every day, not necessarily the doting, but a mother should definitely feel  supported and loved all the time, rather than one day when all these flowery things are written and said giving hallmark extra revenue :D) . Let me know if I’m alone thinking on that wavelength.

That being said after a bumper breakfast I’m off to lunch with the fam (cuz Lord knows nobody else does cook in here but me!). Here’s to your special day lady whoever you are wherever you are, whatever you choose to do…

Bless up

TMIDM

My two cents on the 9-day wonder….

Me again! New thoughts have been processing but Lordt hav’ mercy the time! Anyways, here’s one of ‘em…

Everything goes through phases in Trinidad and Tobago. The ‘9-day wonder’ we call it where all of our attentions and passions are directed to something for nine days and after that we focus on another topic. These days the health care system is in for a rough ride as the Minister of Health Fuad Khan has recently revealed proposals to ‘shake up’ the health system in light of recent deaths of mothers in the public hospitals due to complications of C-section births. Among these new policies include fathers being allowed in the delivery room, increased visiting hours and a female relative being able to stay with the mother 24/7.

I feel it for the relatives of the mothers who died. I can’t even begin to imagine the trauma of entrusting the life of your precious wife/daughter into a shaky hospital system where she has to bring forth a child only to suffer the pain of losing her and in some cases, the child as well. It is a reality that the majority of the Trinbagonian society has no trust in the health care system. Very often from Port-of-Spain to Mt. Hope to San Fernando you hear tales of ‘hoggish’ nurses and nonchalant doctors intermixed with hours and hours of waiting, sparse pharmacy facilities, paltry bathrooms and no beds.

I had both of my gremlinz in POS although I live in the East and this was driven mainly by a lack of faith which was further driven by fear (I wasn’t going to Mt. Hope for nuttin). I wish I could have done the private room or nursing home thing in a comfortable room filled with flowers and family visiting only me but the reality is that my salary did not permit. So too are the MAJORITY of expectant mothers in the land. As an expectant mother you expect to feel comfortable to deliver your baby, you expect patient nurses, you expect professional doctors and you expect the help to guide you through this very difficult process. I got exactly that at Port of Spain General. When I had my gremz the staff was very satisfactory. I mean it wasn’t Club Med in terms of the facilities, but I had no intention of lengthening my stay longer than I needed to.  I followed all instructions to a tee from clinic days to the delivery room.

It is difficult for me to paint a broad brush even though this is what I did at when I decided to forego Mt. Hope for POS and yes there are vastly numerous cases where the burden of the unstable hospital system is felt. However as a worker in a field where the glare of public scrutiny is definitely felt, I also feel it for the professionals in the hospitals. On the other side of this coin there are some doctors and nurses who are unfairly chastised for the work that they do or are unable to do based on the resources that they have and the public cases cropping up of pregnant mothers dying. (Substitute the ‘doctors and nurses’ bit there for teachers, public servants, police officers etc. and you will understand the general state that we are in). On top of it all, there is a Minister who jumped the proverbial gun and instituted his policies without relevant consultation and added more pressure to all involved rather than intelligently easing the tension.

I hope sincerely that all matters are resolved and that closure comes to all involved in this extremely sensitive area. We are on the tail end of the 9-days though and sadly soon we will be on to the next.

Sand in my eyeballs

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I wish there was a day I could come home with absolutely nothing to do, a hot meal waiting and all my shit already organised for the next day. I want to go even further than that and say that  I wish this could happen for a full work week, I would be eternally grateful and would gladly return to the regularly scheduled programme the  following week.

Today I understand why people hire people to do stuff they could very well do for themselves. My mother is a housewife. She has tons of responsibilities and many side projects. I’ve always seen her balance it like a pro even though there were days when she was beat. I’ve never had a ‘working woman’  example reflected back to me so I developed a routine that has worked for me inclusive of the ‘family care’ part which I learned from her. Balancing the work/home life is basically 90% of my life with the remaining 10% aptly titled  ‘ME’. The thought never occurred to me that a helper would make sense, until today that is. After an exhaustive day I just wanted to faceplant on my bed but alas my gremz need to be fed etc etc etc

I’m so tired it’s like I have sand in my eyeballs but I still have to organise for tomorrow and noooooo I can’t do the extra mile on the weekend, it is loaded as it is. Noooooo I can’t wake up early in the morning either because then I would be using part of my 10% which requires that I be in the gym. 

Sigh, I’m jealous of all of you with helpers, send one my way for the week nah. No? Fiiiiine… back at it then.

This mom is…

  • dusting off the cobwebs on this blog
  • really not looking forward to work tomorrow, somebody should patent “Sunday blues”, prepare an antidote, bottle it and sell
  • behind on the technology curve with a cracked Toshiba laptop screen and a busted Samsung S3 and absolutely no pressing desire to fix either one
  • wondering what to pack in lunchkit as a month has almost gone and I’ve used up my Pinspiration
  • very glad that Fall TV has returned and is looking forward to zoning out on primetime or on downloads on aforementioned cracked screen.
  • going to listen to Sweet 100FM all day tomorrow to kick in some Christmas spirit
  • looking forward for Christmas and its associated retail therapy
  • wondering when I will ever get time to fully engage with those books on my Kindle for the sake of my sanity
  • determined to do her part to contribute to society but is growing increasingly frustrated with the part that she is playing and is contemplating a switch/upgrade
  • fed up of what is recurrent and seemingly un-fixable problems in Trinidad
  • praying that it gets better for the sake of her gremlinz
  • happy for George Clooney
  • wondering if she will ever begin her Masters
  • in need of shoes
  • working on Phonics with Mam’zelle
  • wondering if Son-son’s handwriting will improve
  • glad she is not a primary school teacher but is an admirer of their labour
  • hoping that it turns out positively for her neighbour who is currently on his second hunger strike in front of the Prime Minister’s office
  • not happy with how her fudge experiment turned out but will try back again in a few months
  • intent  to blog again soon

Bless up

TMIDM

For the Moms

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To all the Moms out there:

For that time when you watched your newborn, kept checking to see if he’s breathing and wondered if you really ready for this,

For the time when you heard her crying for YET ANOTHER a.m. feeding and let her cry because “Lord Jesus, i cyah get off dis bed nah!”……and then you get off the bed……….

For that time when he fell out the crib and you felt your heart crawl up your gullet and bust straight through your scalp (true story, both gremlinz),

For the times when you pack a baby bag and people wonder if you’re going to New York for the day,

For the times when you keep sniffing her neck because baby smell and giggles are so addictive!,

 

There is no shelter like the mother. There is no refuge like the mother. There is no defense like the mother. There is no one so dear as the mother 

From the Mahabharata
Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva
Section CCLXVI

 

For that time when they got the first vaccination and you tried to hold it together….and failed……,

For the times when seasoned mothers, aunts, grannies and total strangers make you feel as though you’re an alien raising a baby,

For the times when chaos follows the sentence “Mummy watch this!…”,

For that time when you walked into a room and found him and your furniture items covered in flour or powder or grease or lotion or powdered milk etc…(another true story)

For that time when she started kindergarten and you tried to hold it together……and failed……..

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For the times of yawns during homework, never-ending spelling lists, ‘whiteman’ on the knee, sibling fights, sibling-kiss and-makeups, silent screams for your alone time, bad moods, licks, cousins spending the night, toys all over the place, spending more time with the pardners, Common Entrance jitters, SEA paranoia, struggling to raise a smart, functioning teenager, boyfriends, girlfriends, breakups, fights, weddings, grandchildren and finding the balance in the middle of it all…….

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Working Mother’s Guilt

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I picked up my children from school today.

 

It might sound weird but this is a HUGE deal because it happens once in a blue moon. I work approximately 30 km from home, I live in the east, work in the south-east Trinidad and I need to get to work at 8:15 en punto. (“Late minutes” are a big deal for teachers). So today I left work on bank time, decided to give grandma a rest and picked up my children unknowing to them. 

Needless to say they were shocked but oh gosh is the reaction that warmed my heart…Mam’zelle squealed Mummyyyy!!! and ran to me with a big hug then ran back to tell her friends that I was her mummy, telling these poor girl children my WHOLE name by title oui, like I was a stranger! She was so proud, it was as though she got a new toy that came out first on the market, yelling Bye Miss! and grabbing my hand like I was on parade. Now granted if I were to pick her up every day, this probably wouldn’t be the usual reception but still…I was nearly moved to tears!….so she got a sno-cone for her efforts…:D.

Because of birthday parties I know my son’s friends more and when they see my hair they know I’m his mother (he told me  they recognise me by my hair, I dunno why! Dreadlocks so popular now! These boys so strange…) Anyway, so they ran and told him I came because allyuh hear nah…looking for a bald head lil boy in a courtyard of bald head lil boys running amok each wearing the same thing is to strain yuh eye….doh even bother. His reaction wasn’t much of a shock but his eyes opened wide because he simply wanted to know where his sno-cone was. I still got my hug in front de pardners and I felt like a bite-up shilling so he got a sno-cone reward as well. 😉

I felt so strange walking around with them in the grocery afterward, hearing their chatter, seeing them TOGETHER in their uniforms because it’s not something that happens every day. By the time I get to grandma’s they are usually dressed, fed and waiting so I felt a pang of guilt like wow, I’m missing out on this. As simple as it might seem, my children in their uniforms, fresh out their classrooms, interacting with their friends, talking about their day is a big deal because it’s a large part of their daily lives. They usually give me the run-down in the car on the way home but it’s not “in the moment” you know?

I began the justification to remind myself of the reason why this cannot happen every day: well birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, kids gotta eat and being in the middle, both mummy and daddy have to work. So this element of time is a definite sacrifice. Clearly I cannot drop my children to school six o clock in the morning and then pick them up at five in the evening, but I have seen it happen as I pass various primary schools on my way to work. I’m certain my guilt cannot compare to single parents in particular, who have their kids in school in the east but have to reach Port-of-Spain for eight am and must reach back to the school before the “afternoon curfew”. I am also definitely fortunate and thankful for the help of grandmas from since my gremlinz were born and I had to head out to work soon thereafter. However the guilt still persists somewhere in the back of my mind. I wonder if they see other mummies and wonder why I can’t pick them up too or when they have these half day events in school they wonder why I can’t attend. After a long day of teaching, scolding, listening to and dealing with other people’s children and their issues/challenges and then hopping into my car to zombify myself on the nation’s roads,  I have to have an extra store of energy for my gremlinz to ensure that I am present when they need me to be (although often times I am mentally absent because I am drained and husband more so).  It has to be done otherwise this guilt will continue to eat me alive.

Bless up.

TMIDM