If you grew up in a Caribbean household like myself then you know what it’s like to have awkward little sayings thrown at you from time to time. Although it may not have seemed so at the time, many of these motherly statements were uttered in order to steer us in the right direction on our way to adulthood. Some may have been delivered in a mild manner while others were a good ole fashioned verbal lashing. Depending on how much of a rebel you were as a child some of these may have come your way more frequently. Here are my 3 favorite Caribbean mom sayings.
Drink Some Tea
Mom: What’s wrong with you?
Me: I have a headache.
Mom: Chile, go make “yuhself” some tea and lie down. The heat will soothe your head.
Me: *gives mom internal side eye*
** 2 hours later **
Mom: Your head still hurting you?
Mom: Did you make the tea?
Mom: Steupps, yuh head too hard. I tell you drink de tea!
Whether you are physically sick, mentally depressed or suffering from a “buss” toe, the Caribbean mom’s response will almost-always be “drink some tea”. It’s their recommendation for everything! To this day I have still never had a cup of coffee; but if you look in my cupboard you will find at least 7 different types of tea inside. That’s all mama-bears doing. My mother, along with the other women in my family drink numerous cups of tea throughout the day, no matter the temperature. It could be 100 degrees outside with lava streaming down the road and I guarantee they’d be looking outside the window with a cup of tea in hand. I must admit, I do love me some tea. I now catch myself recommending my special anti-sick tea to friends when they are not feeling well. While tea may not cure everything, there is certainly something calming about holding that cup in your hand.
Yuh Eyes Bigger Than Yuh Belly
We all know children tend to want everything that they see without putting reasoning into place. Maybe you were that child that already had two hefty slices of bread pudding after dinner, but once you see cousin Sheila with a piece of black cake with icing on top you just knew you had to have it. Of course your mother was against it because she knew you were beyond full already. But, you just had to have it. 15 minutes later, bubble guts activated! Let the wining begin! Then here comes mom… “Ummm hmmm. That’s what you get for thieving a next piece of cake. I keep telling you yuh eyes bigger than your belly!”
I must admit, as a food junkie it is still difficult for me to control my food cravings. I’m in my 30’s and I literally just started saying “no” to my belly. Whenever I’m full and see something I desire, I always say “you don’t really need it Sha, it’s all in your head”. Then of course my mothers voice is always ringing in the back of my head too. Listen to your mom! Eating with your eyes will cost you extra pounds and dollars!
Fix Yuh Face
This phrase can go so many ways! For example, if my mother yelled at me it would take quite some time for me to get over it. Thus, my face and demeanor would be far from inviting for at least 5 hours. At some point during that time my mom might start to ask me something and then realize that I was still vex from her scolding. She would stop mid-sentence and say “chile you bettah fix yuh face right now!” Then she’d continue with her original question which might have been something like “you want cream in this tea or not?” Lol (always tea!).
Or how about when I could be happy as ever internally but my facial expression says something else. This still happens to this day!
Mom: Fix yuh face!
Me: What face?
Mom: That one you making now, why you look so? I do you something aye?
Me: Huh? Ma’am. I’m fine. I’m happy. This is my regular face!
Mom: Steupps, if you say so.
Funny part is I don’t even realize I’m making “a face”! Leave it to moms to want you to be smiling from cheek to cheek 24/7. But, you can’t blame them, they mean well! Apparently the new term for this face is “Resting B-word Face”. Who came up with it I do not know but I’d rather not have it used to identity me. Thanks to mom I’ve learned to become more aware of my facial expressions especially when in public. My goal is to emit positive vibes on purpose. It seems to be working!
We all know that moms can be loving nags at times, but Caribbean moms seem to have an extra “nag” chromosome embedded in their genes. However, if you noticed, I learned valuable lessons from each of these phrases; if you heard them as often as I did I’m sure you learned something as well. I honestly wouldn’t be who I am without them and I’m pretty certified will be saying the same phrases to my future children. So with that I say thanks mom for teaching me your ways! I think I turned out alright!
Here are a few more phrases Caribbean moms are famous for. Do you have any to add to the list?
- Closed Mouths Don’t Get Fed
- Look Presentable
- Watch the Company You Keep
- Monkey See, Monkey Do
- Waste Not, Want Not
- Take a Sense of Pride