Is it possible to be your daughter’s best friend and strict disciplinarian?

Back in the day my friends and I would often plan these extravagant excursions. Okay, I admit our plans were pretty lame. But to us, they were super exciting. It consisted of things like walking to the mall. I know it sounds pretty boring, but it wasn’t to us. Those walks were literally like five hours long each way! But, some of the plans we came up with were put on hold because my strict disciplinarian mom just wouldn’t allow it.

In fact, the thought getting permission from her to do something gave me anxiety. I remember some of my friends planning a slumber party. We’d put together a presentation explaining the reasons and benefits to me attending the sleepover. I’d wait until she was in a good mood, before attempting to lay out my proposal. But before I could finish my sentence, she’d say no.

Then there was the time I wanted to go out on dates. Yeah, those conversations didn’t go over so well either. I remember telling her that a guy wanted to take me to the movies. The look she shot me said it all, and I knew the answer was no. Then there were those conversations about relationships.

I remember telling her, “I’m going out with him.”
With her thick Jamaican accent she’d respond in patois, “A way ya go?” She didn’t understand that the phrase meant ‘dating.’ Going out with someone – to her – meant actually going somewhere.

Having been born in Jamaica and raised in America, I often felt stuck between two cultures. That said, my mom kept me on a tight leash. In retrospect, I totally get it. We were in a foreign land, learning new customs, and some things she really didn’t understand.

I grew up during a time when the Internet wasn’t as popular. The only social media I knew of at the time was Black Planet. Needless to say, our idea of fun mostly involved being outdoors.

My relationship with my mom back then was a struggle. We were far from being best friends. Instead, we were two type A personalities that didn’t mesh well. Now that I’m grown, the tables have turned. We get along great! We talk on the phone everyday and she’s always spending time with my kids.

grandma

Now that I’m a mom of a daughter, I wonder how our relationship will be. Princess is only three, but she’ll one day be a teenager one day. She’s smart, witty, and quick with her words. She’s already negotiating bedtime, treats, and whatnot. I find myself thinking back to when I was a kid and the struggles I had with my mom. Some would call this history repeating itself, and that’s probably right. I’ve definitely met my match with my daughter in more ways that one.

Despite the challenges, I hope that we can talk through them. I want her to feel comfortable talking to me about anything. I know there are going to be things I may not understand, but I’ll try to have an open mind. But let’s not get it twisted, if she gets out of line, there will be consequences.

Like my mom, I just have to do the best I can and hope that everything turns out ok. I guess when it comes down to choosing between being my daughter’s best friend, and a strict disciplinarian, I feel both is possible.

me & a

mommy and daughter

Do you think it’s possible to be your daughter’s best friend and strict disciplinarian?

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Why I’m so lucky to be alive

2#blizzard2013

I’ve covered so many snowstorms that I’ve gotten numb at the thought of getting any of the white stuff. That said, I do love tracking snowstorms – heck, any storm for that matter. But covering storms for the news is completely different from actually traveling in it. One recent snowstorm dumped five to eight inches across New York City. It wasn’t nearly as bad as previous blizzards I’ve experienced. But, it still could’ve cost me my life.

It was a typical snow day for me. I was scheduled to report to work in the afternoon. Fortunately, my husband was able to work from home. That meant more time to prepare before hitting the road. Despite a slick and slushy commute, I made it to work safely. However, returning home was a whole other story.

After my shift, I stayed late to get some schoolwork done because lawd knows Baby O would be ready to nurse the minute I got home. Besides, I didn’t mind waiting for the plow trucks to clear the roads.

Before leaving, I did my usual check in with my mom. Likely every other ride home, I got on the ramp to the parkway. I saw one of those big monster plow trucks out of the corner of my eye, and that’s when it HIT ME!

“I GOT HIT. I GOT HIT!” I shouted.
“YOU GOT HIT?” My mom asked.

We were still on the phone and she sounded nervous. It all happened so fast.

Waves of dirty snow flowing from the plow truck came flying at my SUV in slow motion. In an instant I felt like I was buried alive. My windshield was completely covered with snow. I couldn’t see Sh**. Most people would panic, but for some reason a feeling of calm washed over me.

My mom kept asking me what was happening. I assured her that everything was ok, although it really wasn’t.

The snow was so wet and heavy that the windshield wipers couldn’t clear it away. I drove for about a quarter of a mile to the next exit. There was no way I would have risked pulling over onto the shoulder. I’ve heard stories about people getting hit by motorists as they cleaned the snow off of their cars, and that wasn’t going to be me.

I was able to park on the service road immediately after exiting the parkway. I used my passenger side window as a guide.

I carefully got out and cleaned my car off. During this time I filled my mom in on what happened. She was amazed that I was able to drive without crashing.

Sometimes I ask myself, “Why didn’t I flip out?”
But after much thought I’ve come to the realization that I just didn’t have time. The fact that I took my usual route home helped me. I knew exactly where I was, and how far I needed to drive to get to the next exit. I also had a snow remover in my car.

It was a crazy night. You know, I stopped believing in luck after watching an Oprah episode years ago. She said there’s no such thing as luck. “It’s all about opportunity meeting experience.” After a night like what I had, I may have to start believing in luck again.

Either way, it just wasn’t my time. I’m just happy to be alive.

Have you ever experienced anything like this? If not, what would you do?

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It’s Hard Spending the Night Away From My Babies

As the second snowstorm of the season approached, I knew that there was a good chance that I’d have to be away from my family.

Family

My daughter has grown accustomed to having Mommy working long hours whenever the weather gets bad. However, this would be a first time experience for her baby brother – not to mention their Dad. It’s one thing to be stuck in the house with a small child. Adding an infant to mix brings it to a whole new level.

Lucky for me, my job is to track the storm. As soon as I knew snow was on the way, I went into preparation mode.

Before heading out the door, my hubby and I coordinated our schedules. With Grandma stuck at work and daycare closing early, we had to pull it together in a short period of time.

It was a long night, and I made it home once our streets were plowed. Princess was fast asleep. But, Baby O stayed up all night waiting for me to come home. Apparently, he refused to sleep the entire day.

Head over to my  Baby Center blog to find out how I survived the snowstorm without my kids.

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Would you change your appearance to look like another race?

Weather Anchor Mama

People would sometimes ask me if I’m part Asian. I’ll usually respond by saying, “Somewhere down the line.” My slanted eyes are a dead giveaway.

I used to feel self conscious about them. Whenever I laughed they’d become more pronounced. There was the occasional annoying class clown who would slant his eyes by using his fingers, as a way of poking fun. But, I never let him bother me. There were others who would compliment their unique shape. I remember being told by pageant coaches to apply eye shadow and make them pop.

I’ve grown to love my eyes for its uniqueness. I appreciate the encouragement I received from mentors to make them stand out. However, some people aren’t as fortunate. When TV host and anchorwoman, Julie Chen revealed that she went under the knife after being told that her hooded Asian eyes would stunt her career, it brought me back to being teased by that class clown. Even though I never felt pressured into getting plastic surgery to alter my appearance, I do understand the desire to want to succeed. I can relate to Chen’s struggle with wanting to blend in. As an on-air personality, I’ve been told that I wouldn’t be considered for a job because of my dark features. I’ve also been called into the office for my ‘hair issues.’

In the news biz straight hair is often preferred over curly hair. For me, getting a relaxer every six to eight weeks was a must. I no longer straighten my hair, but I do rock a wig. Is that selling out? No, I call it making a smart choice. Rather than fry my own, I’ve decided get a fake one. I’ve got bills to pay and a family to take care of. So, I’ll do what I have to do.

As a parent, I feel that it’s important to set an example for my children. I wouldn’t want them to feel that they must change their appearance to fit in. But at the same time, they may have to find some sort of middle ground. I’m prepared to have that discussion with them when the time is right.

The bottom line is that sometimes you have to make difficult choices in order to reach a goal. For Julie Chen, it happened to be getting plastic surgery so that her eyes would appear bigger. She’s received backlash from people within the Asian community. But for what it’s worth, I applaud her for making that tough decision. It couldn’t have been an easy thing to do. Critiques say that she’s giving in to the Western standards of beauty, but I think she’s courageous. Besides, she doesn’t look less Asian to me!

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My Encounter With an Angry Viewer

I love my job.  Even though things get a bit crazy during severe weather coverage, I get excited.

When boss lady asks me to come in a bit early for cut-ins, I’m happy to oblige.  Forecasting the weather can get tricky.  It’s important to be on top of your game at all times.  People usually are quick to ask, “When is the storm coming?” “How long is it gonna last?”

There are times when I’m crunching (some say crashing, I say crunching), and I’d get a phone call from a colleague- “I’m planning to go hang out with some friends later tonight.  Is it gonna be like really bad?”  I think to myself, “Like dude for real?  You’re really asking me this right now and I’m about to go up live?! Seriously?”  Instead of losing it, I give them the info they need.  From time to time there are those who will say, “I know you’ve been reporting the weather all day.  But, I wasn’t really paying attention.  So, what’s it gonna be like outside?

If you’re reading this and think that I’m being a total beeyotch, you got me all wrong.  I actually think it’s quite comical.  I remember being the one asking the Meteorologist these same questions before making the switch to weather.  It’s like karma coming back to bite be in the a**.  On a serious note, I really do appreciate the questions.  It shows that that they look to me as their weather authority.  Even if I’m swamped, I think it’s important to answer questions.  That’s what I’m here for.

I recall receiving a phone call from one of our interns from the assignment desk.  I remember her telling me about an angry viewer demanding to speak to a weather forecaster.  Normally I don’t take calls from viewers.  But something in me says to take the call.  FYI, we are going up live in less than one hour.

Me:”________.  How can I help you?”
Caller: “That’s how you answer the phone?  With an attitude?
You don’t have to have an attitude!  That’s how you treat people?”
Me: “I’m sorry if you think I’m being rude.  It’s just that we’re in the middle of storm coverage and there is a sense of urgency.  How can I help you?”
Caller: “When I call ______, they are nice and they’re not rude!  I don’t know none of these people here.  The only one I know is Stacy-Ann.  I don’t know no body else.”

This person continues to ramble on- obviously not knowing it’s me on the phone.  I don’t bother telling the caller my name), and I am hoping not to get dissed.  Thank goodness, I’m not!  Whew!

Me:  “Is there something I can help you with?”
Caller: “Well, I want to know about the weather. Ya’ll keep saying the same things over and over again.  You’re supposed to be a 24 hour channel.  Every time I turn on the TV, ya’ll are not telling me exactly where it’s raining.”
Me:  “Well, we are tracking storms and they won’t be arriving until later this evening.  We air live newscasts that repeat throughout the evening.  Where exactly are you?”
Caller:  “I’m in ______.  What I wanna know is when it’s supposed to hail.  Is it gonna mess up my house? Is it gonna mess up my car?”

This caller is clearly very irate and I wonder if I’d ever be able to calm this person down.  I give a quick synopsis of the forecast.  I mention that we’ve been tracking some severe thunderstorms out west, and that those storms are accompanied my hail, lightning, gusty winds, and flooding.  I reassure this person that we’ll be updating our forecast throughout the evening, and will inform viewers when to expect the rain to arrive.  I also provide a timeline.

By the end of the conversation this caller does a complete 180.  This person even starts cracking jokes.  The caller goes from being upset to happy in a matter of 20 minutes.  I couldn’t believe we’ve been talking for that long.  But, I don’t mind.  It’s important that this person hangs up the phone with peace of mind.  That’s what I would want for myself.

What would you have done, if you were in my shoes?

Weather Anchor Mama

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Time to Get Pampared

I remember having a jam packed schedule back in the day.  I attended school full time, worked part time, and played sports.  Okay, I don’t claim to be a sportsnista.  But believe it or not, I was an athlete growing up.  Anyway that’s a whole other post.  The point is that I thought my life was busy then…

Fast forward years later and I don’t even have time to use the bathroom without my baby girl going nuts.  From changing diapers, to taking classes and working full time, it’s been crazy.  My life for the past year has been all work, and no play.  It’s time to take some “me” time back, and I ask that you mamas out there do the same.  With that said, spa week is just around the corner and I’m gonna make it a point to hit up the spa for some much needed ralaxation.  The great thing is that I’ll be paying about half of what I normally spend.  A facial for 50 bucks, you can’t beat that!   Princess will be spending some quality time with her papa, while mommy gets pampered.  But for those of you worrying about a babysitter, there’re some salons that offer free child care.   
It’ definitely worth taking some time out for yourself.  If the spa isn’t your thing, why not go for a walk or have lunch with the girls?  Whatever you decide, you’ll be glad you took some “me” time.   In the meantime, here’s some info on spa week.   Don’t forget to share your spa experience.  I would love to read about it!
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