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
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.

Wednesday
May082013

Random thoughts

Random thought of the day:

I wish I cared that my grandfather could careless about my existence. I wish I cared that he has done nothing in my 29 years of existence to establish any sort of a relationship with me, my siblings, or my cousins. It’s sad. Perhaps I do care, perhaps I am wounded - I doubt it though. It is honestly not something I give much thought to, ever. But today after speaking with my father who is scheduled to return from a tour of duty overseas next month (YAY!!), and hearing the sheer excitement in his voice about being able to spend all his time with his grandkids – made me think. He’s been gone for nearly two years and the time away from his grandchildren and missing major events has literally broken his heart. It makes me wonder how a man could miss a lifetime of events and not even care. How do I know? He communicates with my mother. In fact I’ve spoken to him on the phone - rather answered the phone when he’s called. Not so much as a “Hi” “Hello” “How are you?” All I get is “Let me speak to your mother” in a smug disinterested tone harshened by his accent. That is the extent of our conversation. I find this rude, yet it doesn’t rise to the level of hurt. I am certain it hurts my mom, even if just slightly. So as you might have imagined, he’s not some shadowy figure of a man that once existed but has lost touch. No, not him. He’s very much present. Very much uninterested. He has visited the US on multiple occasions to do things I’ll never know about. Why? Because he didn’t so much as call to let us know or schedule a time for a visit.

When I was younger I wondered if it was because I was half African. I wondered if it still bothered him that my mother chose to marry some one other than a Jamaican. That thought is quickly halted when I think of how he is just as elusive to my cousins. My aunt married a Jamaican man… he still doesn’t care. They do have a leg up on me as they have actually laid eyes on the man. He sat in their house, spoke with their mother, and never acknowledge them once. Not really a leg up.

He’s sounds like quite the SOB, but my great grandmother was a cool woman. To be fair, I’m sure he has some redeeming qualities, even if they are only the romanticized memories of a child who loved and missed her father dearly when she moved to America. My mother is very aware of her father’s flaws. She’s honest about his short comings, yet there is still the child in her that very much loves her father. She always tells us of what a great dad he was, caring, adoring, funny. Listening to her stories can almost make you like the man, if just for a moment. She loves him. She says he’s a lot like my father, which often annoys me. I know she means in the way he cared for them and made sure they had what they needed.

In my mind he’s nothing like my dad.

I guess the truth of the matter is he doesn’t really exist to me. Sure, I’ll take bereavement leave and fly to Jamaica for his funeral, though I doubt I’ll attend. If I can find time to fit it into my vacation schedule, perhaps I’ll swing by. Even so, it’ll probably be more out of curiosity than from grief. To lay eyes on a man who I’ve never met, even for the briefest of moments as he lay in a leathery lifeless state.

I’ve asked myself if I should forgive him, but for what? For not being in my life? For leaving me in a single grandparent home? I’m not sure. It sounds ridiculous but perhaps it’s necessary. It’s something I need to devote some thought to. I will say I have often wondered what it would’ve been like to have a loving adoring grandfather. My father’s father passed away when he was young. Would he have cared for me? Adored me? Reveled in my successes? Enjoyed being a great grandfather, if time had permitted? I guess I’ll never know. I suppose I could warm my heart by fantasizing about the fun we would’ve had, the stories he would’ve told, and the hugs he would’ve given – but I don’t. It’s not something I can waste time thinking about. My parents provided us with enough love to make up for the supplemental hugs and kisses we missed. But again in the nature of being fully honest, I crave this relationship for my daughter from both her grandfathers. It may be a bit overwhelming to her but when she is my age I am certain she will look back on it with fondness.

So I guess I do care...

Wednesday
May082013

Assume the Good, Doubt the Bad

In married life, you have to celebrate what you do have and not mumble about what you don’t. My husband once (more than once) said to me, “You’re quick to point out what I don’t do or what I’ve done wrong but you barely remember or mention the things that I do that are good.” It’s true. The negative always outweighs the positive and it shouldn’t. I’ve recently made a commitment to myself to be more self reflective. When I am tempted to place blame, I try to look at myself first and see what role I play in the situation. It truly has helped me to relate to people better. I pride myself in being a level headed, reasonably prudent person, yet I’m not always. Even when I think I am being prudent I realize that I need to understand how other people percieve my actions and words. I love words and the effect that they have. Being that I am a writer, a thinker, and trained legal orator, I know how to use my words in ways that are not always positive, though very often unintentionally... Knowing this I have to be conscious of how I speak to others.

I liked this quote:

 

So as I sat at my desk this morning I was tempted to complain about how I didn’t get much sleep last night and my husband appeared to be snug as a bug. I wanted to be irritated, then I took my sandwich out of my bag and quickly realized that I was biting into a sandwich my husband made for me. I didn’t ask him to but he did. Because of his gesture I have a healthy lunch to eat. I caught myself in that moment and felt blessed and loved. No he didn’t do this and that, but he did take the time to care enough about me to make me lunch. That is love. That is wanting the best for some one. Reflecting on that just reminded me that there is always going to be a lot to complain about but if you can find the stuff to smile about, that should be the focus. I always try to remind myself to focus on the heart of the person, like the quote says. Though action may temporarily upset, there is a permanence of love that has been established throughout the course of the relationship.

Here's to being better and focusing on the positive!

Saturday
Apr132013

I'm Freeing Myself

I’m going Aluminum free!

Today was my first day using this Tom’s ® deodorant that I purchased from Target and I must say I have no complaints. I was fresh and dry all day, much to my surprise.

There are some control factors that I would be remised if I did not mention. My office is like 20 degrees making sweating or even getting warm enough to sweat next to impossible. The other factor is that I was sitting at my desk for the majority of the day reading/researching. Nothing strenuous at all. I say this because our bodies react differently in different situations. On a day when I am more active and my body is warmer I may not have such glowing results. So I will do updates from time to time.

Why am I going Al free you ask?

You probably didn’t ask because I’m sure many of you are aware of the information that has been circulating the internet for years about Al in deodorant and it’s link to BC. Well in my quest to “save the TATAs” and preserve my health, I thought I would give it a try. I don’t know for sure that this is the answer and I certainly do not want to find out if it doesn’t – I just feel like when you know better you ought to do better. Not saying this is better, but the more natural the better. The evidence suggests that deodorants containing Al block the body’s ability to sweat, hence blocking the glands under the armpit which is unnatural. Now I don’t think going deodorant-less is the answer. I grew up in Europe and lets just say I remember a lot of the smells I encountered. With that being said, I’ve often wondered if there is research out there (perhaps I should look), comparing European women to American women and the occurrences of BC across the groups. Deodorant was very much optional in the town I grew up in Italy and so was shaving. If those women have lower incidences of the BC, I’m sold.

This really isn’t a laughing matter but it’s something to consider and research. I’m not a fan of sweating and underarm odor but I’m all about being as healthy as possible even if it’s slightly inconvenient and/or unconventional. Since I've been married I've been sharing my husband's deodorant. he uses Degree and I have to tell you I've never been more dry in my life, but now I realize this may not be the best idea given the research on Al and possible correlation between blocked sweat and BC. 

I really don't know but I figure it's worth a shot.