The Modern Mrs.

 

 My name is Jaclyn and I am a 30 year old, married, mother of a 1 year old baby girl. I love to blog about love, life, marriage, motherhood, and everything in between. Follow me as I chronicle the adventures of my modern life. These are my originial thoughts, opinions, and experiences. I am not an expert... I just live.


Events
Monday
Jun242013

Dark Girls

As an adult I realize the best things my mom ever did for me was not let me date until I was 16 and live her life fiercely. I realize a lot of issues women have with themselves and other women solely revolve around men, more specifically how men view them. Because I was not allowed to get serious with boys at a young age, my mom encouraged/forced me to get to know and love myself, and I did. To the point where a man’s opinion was a never a deciding factor in my life, aside from my father's. My mom was my icon for beauty. She was so confident and where ever we went people noticed her and complimented her. She was happy with herself and it radiated through her. I learned from a young age people are attracted to happy, confident people and I looked up to my mom.

The best thing my dad ever did was love me completely.  Because of his love for me I knew I was worthy. Because he loved my mom so, I knew I was made from something beautiful to be a reflection of that beauty. That’s something I never questioned.


Every time I see the trailer for Dark Girls on OWN, I cringe a little. I am sure it is emotional and riveting and may impact the world for the better, but I am not interested. From what I’ve seen it appears to be dark girls/women revealing how hurt they are by black society’s rejection and how hard it is… I honestly don't know if I could sit through it. I’m torn only because I do not discount the hurt that many have undoubtedly endured, but I am not a victim. It's hard for me to understand how something I was raised to love could be viewed so negatively. I refuse to betray my beauty, value, and heritage with feelings of inferiority and inadequacy solely because of the hue of my skin. As a child I always adored the richness of my skin. I wear it as a badge of honor and a quilt of my rich heritage and ethnic background. I do not have low self esteem, I love the way I look. I do not feel inferior to a lighter complexioned person, nor do I equate beauty with light skin, light eyes, and hair. That’s just not my reality. On the flip side I am not at all bothered to compliment the beauty of some one with different features than me. I am just bothered that in 2013 this is still a conversation. I get tired of hearing it to be honest. This is not to say that people do not suffer because of how they look. I’ve seen it, and I’ve heard it. I’ve seen people make distinctions in their own family, among their own children and it’s nothing short of disgusting to me.

Thankfully my family and my culture is one of pride. My father is African my mom is Jamaican. Black is truly beautiful and celebrated and it’s not just something we say, it’s embodied in how we live. So I’ve NEVER felt insecure about my appearance. Beauty is beauty but it's so much deeper than the layers that color us. For those that choose to dwell on the surface, well that's what they will get, something very shallow. What I don’t want is for people to think all “dark girls” have self esteem issues or shrink in the presence of others. I love my friends of varying complexions, hair textures, and eye colors and I celebrate their beauty.

I will teach my daughter the same. Some one else’s beauty doesn’t diminish her own, nor is it a threat. Don’t expect everyone to find you attractive, and don’t surround yourself with people that are more concerned with your looks than your heart. Just focus on loving and living. 

I hope we all can find healing and stop this nonsense.


Wednesday
Jun052013

Topic of the Day

Ok I really want to know what you all think about this:

This morning I was talking to one of my co-workers. Somehow or another we started talking about me being a working mom. ( I was getting coffee. I am a coffee drinker now but usually I get my coffee closer to the afternoon so I am not exhausted by time I get home.)

She’s an older lady, by older I mean probably mid to late 50’s. She can be hard to read but it’s obvious that she is some one who can take a lot. Her job is proof of that. So I started talking about how I felt guilty when I first started working and she began to tell me the story of her life. In short form, she went to college met a guy and fell in love. After college she started a career and he joined the military as an Officer. She confided that she never wanted to be a mother but once she became one, she quit her career and became a stay at home mom. She didn’t work for 20 years! She said to over compensate for not wanting to be a mother she poured herself into her children and her new life as a wife and mother. She thought everything was great. Her husband was the provider and she was the caretaker and grounds keeper.

That is until he decided it was over. She said he walked out on her. She thought it was just male menopause and he would return to home but he never did. He waited until their youngest daughter was 18 and walked out. She said it took months for her to figure out that he had cleaned out the accounts and she was flat broke and indebt. After being out of work for 20 years she was forced to find a job, only to find out that all the skills and experience she had meant nothing 20 years later. She was obsolete and out of touch. With no savings, no retirement, and nothing to her name; she started the long process of digging herself out of a deep hole both emotionally and financially. She had to establish herself when most people in her age group were winding down and preparing for retirement. She was hurt and humiliated. Her words of wisdom to me were to work and to have my own stash on the side to protect myself…if.

She’s the second person to tell me a story like that of being stripped of everything and left with nothing. While I was listening to her, in my head I was like I can’t see it, not me. Almost as if she could hear my thoughts, she said “I never thought it would be. If some one would’ve told me this was going to happen I would’ve called them a liar to their face.” 

Of course I talked to my husband about it and his thoughts were interesting. I also began to think that whether she knew it or not maybe she began to let herself go, became boring, disinterested, stingy with the marital benefits...etc., none of which are excuses for what her husband ultimately did but it is something to consider as well.

I hate to even give voice to the thought of divorce, but what do you all think? Is it sneaky and deceptive to keep a personal “just in case” stash or is that a doomsday way of thinking or is it wise?

Wednesday
Jun052013

Mommy and Daddy bust out! 

My sister was in town for the weekend and offered to babysit Ava. In my mind if someone (family members, close friends) offers to watch my kid so my husband and I can get out, I’m going to hop on it! And that we did!

We rarely go out without Ava. We’ve probably been on 4 or 5 dates since she’s been born. Which is not too bad. She’s only 11 months and I just like to spend time with her. We’ve never been away from her over night and the thought honestly scares me but I know I will have to at some point. Now that she is older it is easier to leave her and really enjoy myself without feeling the need to call or text every 15 minutes.

We had a really good time. We went out to eat and went to a new jazz club in our area. It was so nice. Afterwards we went down to the beach to hang out and then we went home. Nothing too over the top but definitely much needed and a lot of fun. Life is so different once you have a child. You’ll never be out without thinking about and talking your child but it’s good to be able to focus attention on each other. I think my husband and I spend a good amount of time with each other and with Ava going to bed at a decent time now, it gives us time to do things we like. I look forward to the time with him alone. It’s still nice to just get out the house and enjoy each other.

Wednesday
Jun052013

Toms Update 

I just wanted to do a quick update on my deodorant situation in case anyone cares. A few months ago I decided to try an aluminum free deodorant. The brand I purchased was Toms® from Target. I liked it, I like it, but in the interest of being completely honest, I relapsed back to sharing deodorant with my husband. One morning he saw me reach for “our” deodorant and he said “You’re lying to your readers!!” Haha.

A week or so ago when the temperature went up so did my body temperature. The Toms worked well however it didn’t keep me from smelling what I call “heated”. I’m not a big perspire(er) if that’s a word, but I do tend to sweat in certain situations. Additionally running after Ava in the heat is just not a good combination so for my senses and other’s I made the decision to gingerly apply “our” shared deodorant on days when it is particularly warm or when I will be active. To be clear I didn't stink, but I just didn't smell as fresh. I have a very sensitive sense of smell and I like to smell good. If I don’t think I smell good, I just don’t feel right or fresh. I still think it’s a great alternative for those wanting to get away from the aluminum, but it just doesn’t seem to work with my summer body chemistry. 

Wednesday
May082013

$$$

I think I’ve made my love for Suzie O known and my admiration for financial savviness/management- but it never hurts to say it again. I have LEARNED A LOT in my late 20’s about making good financial decisions. In my younger and honestly reckless days I did not give money the proper respect. I did not make proper decisions. I had credit card debt for things that were so unimportant it’s shameful. I was stuck in the minimum payment rut, but guess what I was popping tags! To the point of every weekend – new outfit, new this, new that – eating here, drinking there. I won’t lie it was certainly fun but when I was home alone and looking at my bank account I felt desperate and foolish. I had stuff but at the rate I was going I was never going to have the things I was supposed have. My credit was on its way to destruction and I was absolutely living outside of my means. My husband, then boyfriend, always offered to create a budget spreadsheet for me. He would always caution me that I was living outside of my means. At the time, truthfully I thought he was dull and not living life to the fullest. At the time he was making double what I was making, living with two roommates and had no student loans. I lived by myself renting an overly priced condo and I had student loan payments to make. I was having fun but I was unwise. Blissfully ignorant to the future I was creating for myself. Prior to starting law school and getting engaged, my parents had finally had enough. My mom told me that I could not even consider marrying my husband until I cleaned up my financial mess. Just like that it clicked to me and I realized that I needed to get it together. I moved back in with my parents, paid off ALL my credit card debt, and guess what… even saved a good amount. I was proud and more so relieved. As happy as I was, I was also deeply ashamed of my foolish behavior.

My father never wanted me to move out so soon after college and many times asked me to move back in to save. I never listened. In just 4 short months of living with my parents I was able to completely change my financial forecast. I got a second job and diligently dug myself out of a hole. I could only imagine what it would’ve been like had I listened to my dad for the 3 years prior, but sadly at the time I valued my freedom more.

My husband lives a debt free lifestyle and I can honestly say it’s amazing to not to be drowning in debt. We are able to save and still have the things that we want. My husband has taught me to make wise financial decisions. If you can’t afford it now, if you plan you can have it later as opposed to charge now pay later. It really is life changing. That’s why when people say “I can’t believe you traded in your BMW for a Jeep.” Believe it! I LOVE my JEEP. I do, I really do! I loved my BMW but the truth of the matter is it was too small for my needs. We out grew it. With my husband having a similar car, we didn’t have the space we needed for our growing family. When I said I was looking for an SUV a lot of people were assuming I would purchase something fancy. To be honest, I was too. At first I was like there is no way I cannot have a BMW or something comparable. That was my old way of thinking, and unfortunately the mentality a lot of people have even if it’s not the best decision financially. When I see people say “Look at my new car” and it’s a 10-15 year old luxury vehicle it’s just not impressive at all. Just to say you drive a luxury car? Really?

My husband, being the wise guy that he is did not necessarily have a problem with the idea of getting a luxury SUV, but went into immediate financial planning mode. In order to make a large purchase like that without me working fulltime would take some time. As I started researching SUV’s outside of luxury class vehicles, the Jeep kept sticking out in my mind. I researched until I found exactly what I wanted. My husband was surprised but once we both drove it and looked around we both agreed that we loved it. With the BMW trade in and the combination of our negotiation skills we made out very well. It was a responsible decision. The constant expense of diapers, formula, and potentially day care at some point far outweighed the need to be seen. With luxury vehicles comes the maintenance, insurance, gas, and oh yea the car note. This was a decision made based on our family’s goals to live a financially responsible and happy lifestyle. I’ve heard and witnessed relationships fall apart because of financial stress. They have all the nice things but HUGE money problems. Chasing an image. An image that is not cheap to maintain.

I decided to post about this because I was in the store today and I saw these two women, presumably mother and daughter. They both had these large beautiful Louis Vuitton bags a cart full of nice things. I looked at the bags and saw dollar signs. For a second I was like wow, must be nice. As one of them was checking out beside me, she agreed to sign up for a store credit card and did not qualify.* I could tell she was somewhat embarrassed because she was not immediately approved but it really made me think. I strolled out the store hopped in my car and thanked God that I was no longer a prisoner to an infantile mentality that equates having expensive things to being rich/beautiful/successful. Just a good reminder that it’s better to be financially secure than to “look rich”. So you may see someone riding down the street in a Range or Benz and wonder or wish but you never know they could be in a real struggle with Visa, Master Card, and Chase.

*I don’t know that lady’s situation there are a lot of reasons why she may not have qualified, having nothing to do with poor financial management; but for life lesson purposes thinking about it in that way is helpful.