lifestyle, parenting, Sunday Confessions

Sunday Confessions

 

Comparison is the thief of joy. A lovely quote I stumbled upon many years ago. I have to admit, I used to compare myself and my life to others. Feeling like I was missing out, or not doing enough with my life. I would hear of vacations, career changes, new houses, new cars, you name it…if I heard about it, it was always accompanied with a dash of jealousy, wishing I could have all those things too. Nowadays, not so much. Maybe it’s maturity, maybe it’s my hysterectomy, maybe it’s the fact I am going to be 46 in a few days, maybe it’s perspective, maybe it’s everything coming together all at once.

This October I am taking a trip to Vancouver with my husband and I am going to my first concert with my husband. We have been together 26 years, married for 24. When I tell this to people, I almost always get “the face”. You know the one, the look of pity, or shock or sheer disbelief that I have not traveled or rocked out at a concert in 24 years. I have had people ask if our marriage was in trouble and if we are trying to rekindle the spark. I have had people tell me it’s about time I started living. I have had people say “…so what have you been doing with your life?”. Ten years ago, these phrases would have flattened me. I would have let the opinions of others take the helm of my life’s journey. I would have felt embarrassed or ashamed of my life, or lack there of. Today, not so much.

A long time ago, I decided to put my marriage, my family and our life together first. Over the years, we have faced job losses, lay offs, health issues – some scary, some not. We decided it made more sense financially and emotionally for me to stay home with our daughter until she reached school age. It didn’t make sense for me to be out of the house 40 hours a week to hand over most of my paycheck to a daycare provider. We made a one income household work, hence no travelling. When my husband was faced with manufacturing layoffs, I stepped up and worked 6 days a week. Keeping our house was more important then having a family vacation photo. My mother in law broke her hip, twice. That summer we took care of her, got her the rehabilitation she needed, took care of her home and finances, so our summer vacation plans fell to the wayside. I could go on an on, reading the list would make your eyes blurry and would give me carpal tunnel. Sure, we could have gone on trips and rocked out at concerts, but we couldn’t afford it, and honestly, I, hell, we were stressed enough, why would we add more financial stress to our platter? How would I enjoy myself sitting on a beach knowing that I had a credit card bill waiting for me in my mailbox with the vacation and hotel charges that I couldn’t pay? I guess all I am trying to say is shit happens, plans change, life gets in the way and never be ashamed of your life because you aren’t doing what everyone else seems to be doing. This is your life. Your choices must be what is best for you, and for your family (for those of us that have one). No one else is living your life but you. Another great quote I stumbled upon is “the opinions of others do not pay the bills”.

I am proud of what my husband and I have accomplished. It hasn’t always been pretty, sometimes it got ugly, but we are still together, fighting the good fight. We never lost sight of the fact that we love each other and that the problems and arguments were because of life getting in the way, not loss of love for one another. We have our home, we have our health, we have a beautiful daughter who is coming into her own and doors are opening for her at every turn…and although it is later than planned, we are going to travel and rock out at a concert.

 

Beauty, health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Women

…speaking of Beauty

In the age of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, you name it, it seems that beauty is all around us. Everyone has beautiful hair, beautiful clothes, beautiful vacation destinations, beautiful homes, hell, even beautiful pets. Being on the cusp of 46 years in this earthly realm, I know that everything you see and everything you hear may not always be true. Unfortunately , being bombarded by all these pictures, posts and hashtags on a daily basis, many women I know and hold dear to my heart are feeling less than beautiful. Feeling like they don’t measure up or feel like they are missing out or made the wrong life choices, be it marriage or their new hair style. All of this came to a head for yours truly a few days ago when I was chatting with my daughter. She is now 21 and going through what we all did at 21. Trying to figure out where our lives will lead. Wondering what path is the correct path to take. Feeling like the only person in the world going through this strife. Wondering why everyone else seems to have it all together. Wondering what’s wrong with me?

As we were chatting, the conversation came around to social media…being a parent of a millennial, this is a constant issue. I reminded her, as I have to remind myself, that people don’t post the ugly, only the pretty. I posed her the question I have posed to many others, “Wouldn’t it be lovely if more people posted and spoke of the ugly?”. One of the many reasons I am proud of my girl is she is honest with her posts, be it her achievements or her struggles. It’s a scary thing to put yourself out there, warts and all, and I for one believe people should be applauded for it. I also told her, much to her chagrin, that those feelings will pop up many times over the course of her life, that they are not only a factor of being 21. What she, and we all need to focus on is what matters most. Our inner beauty, for it doesn’t matter how coiffed our hair is or how we achieved the perfect smoky eye if our soul and our mind cannot see it, or feel the wonder that is us.

At some time in our lives, we have all felt fat. We have all felt ugly. We have all shrugged at our reflection under the horrible lighting in the change room. We have all felt our stomach drop when invited to a pool party knowing we have to put on a bathing suit. We have all burnt dinner. We have all yelled at our kids for something that was not their fault. We have all dismissed our spouses. We have all “forgotten” to call our parents. We have all lost our shit. Speaking from personal experience, all of the above happened when I was focusing outward, not inward. Think of it this way, you remodel your bathroom, it is Pinterest worthy. If the plumbing wasn’t put in correctly…it ain’t so pretty. I came across a great passage courtesy of Iain Thomas…

“…and every day. The world will drag you by the hand, yelling “This is important! And this is important! And this is important! You need to worry about this! And this! And this!”

And each day, it’s up to you to yank your hand back, put it to your heart and say “No. This is what is important.”.

Comparison is the thief of joy Beauties. There is no comfort in that. Where there is comfort is in our commonality, in our stories of short comings and how we overcame them, in speaking of the ugliness that came along with pulling ourselves out of the mud, how we brushed off the dirt to find we were fresh and clean underneath.

As for all the pictures and posts you will see today, see them for what they are. Moments. Be happy for others achievements. Celebrate their moment of happiness. Remember, we are all just trying to get through the day, and most of all, be your own beautiful. In the end, in the wee small hours of the morning, that is all that really matters, what you think of you and how you feel about yourself.

In the immortal words of  L.M. Montgomery’s character Anne Shirley “Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it yet.”.

 

communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, Parenting past 15, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Making time

 

Over the past year, those familiar with my tales by now have noticed that yours truly hasn’t been posting much. This is true. Last August, the Salon/retail shop I managed closed, so I no longer had my daily escapades at the shop to write about, nor was I privy to all the latest and greatest hair products coming down the turnpike. I found myself wondering where my blog was going to go…was it going to choose it’s new path or was I going to choose it? What would I write about? What do I have to say? – which is hilarious to those who know me, since I always have something to say. I went through my archives, 5 years worth and found the tales with the most impact were those of kindness, of life, of riding the rollercoaster of parenthood, of the gifts bestowed upon us when the shit hits the fan and we think “This is it. This is how it ends.”. So, yours truly has decided to change it up a bit. More often than not, my tales are going to reflect the above, and hopefully shed some light on a dull day, add some laughter to your life and to let you know that you are not alone…and hopefully, get some heads out of some asses. Here we go.

 

“People who truly care about you will make you a priority”. “If your friend is truly your friend, you would get a text back”. “People make time for people they want in their lives”. Everyday, at least once a day on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, you name it, I see the following quotes or some rendition of them. I find them to be passive aggressive and quite honestly, stupid. Yeah, I said it. Passive aggressive because if said person means so much to you, you wouldn’t be posting quotes, you would be at their front door asking them “What’s up?” or to physically check that they were alive and in good health – physically and emotionally. Stupid because, what are we, 12 years old talking shit behind the school? Come on.

I have just celebrated my 45th. year in this earthly realm. On my Birthday I found myself looking back on the past 5 years – not just reflecting on my blog, but on my life. Over the past 5 – 6 years, my beloved hubby had a heart attack, my dear ol’ Dad had a heart attack, both suffered from Afib (atrial fibrillation), both had health issues and physical issues due to their heart medication, I was raising a teenager who was facing obstacles of her own with self image, mental health etc… . I was (and still am) building my brand, the business I managed for 5 years closed, oh yes, and I still had a household to run and all that entails – making sure bills were paid, mouths were fed and clothes were clean, just to name a few. Any spare time I had, I used to go to the bathroom. So yeah, the quotes about those who are important you make time for kinda piss me off because I was making time for those who were important to me. Yes, many of my friendships fell on the backburner. Just because I cancelled plans or didn’t text back the exact second I received their text did not mean I wasn’t thinking of them, wondering how they were. It didn’t mean I loved them any less. I was a little overwhelmed and sometimes just keeping my head above water. As a Mom, you have to be strong for your child, even when you think you have no strength left. As a wife who still adores her husband after 23 years, you must be calm and reassuring when all you want to do is cry and freak out when the love of your life is on his 10th hospital visit to the E.R. because of chest pain. (the upside to all those visits was I was able to help my Mom and my Dad when he went through the same thing).

More often than not, when someone isn’t keeping in touch as much as you would like, it has nothing to do with you. Many of my dearest friends have admitted to me that they weren’t telling me their problems, or were “keeping it light” because they knew how busy I was and how emotionally and physically spent I was and didn’t want to add to my load. To me, that is one of the kindest actions – to realize someone you care about is carrying as much as they can handle, so why add more weight.

Here’s the deal. Life is messy and gets in the way. Sometimes you get a call, sometimes you gotta make the call. Some texts are answered, some are not. If you miss someone – call them, go to their house with a coffee and a smile. If you feel out of touch with someone, decide this – do you see them in your life 5 years from now? If the answer is yes – seek them out and rectify the situation. If the answer is no, well, there’s your answer. Leave well enough alone and hope for the best. It’s all you can do. Plain and Simple.

health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, Parenting past 15, That girl in the red coat

It’s not personal…it’s parenting

 

 

When I found out I was pregnant, I read What to expect when you’re expecting. Once my darling girl was born I sent out my hubby to get me What to expect The First Year. The day after her first birthday I hopped in the car with my girl in tow to Chapters for my coveted edition of What to expect The Toddler Years. Over the years I searched out answers to everything from when to introduce solid foods to how to get my child to poop….they never tell you that your child will hold onto that poop like it’s the hope diamond when it comes to getting on a toilet.

There are an endless number of books, articles and websites catering to parenting and child rearing, yet not one ever delves into the abyss of the one commonality we as parents all have and never talk about…taking it personally. Oh sure, you may be fortunate to find an article that tells you “every parent feels responsible for their child’s happiness or lack there of” or “every parent feels they should have done better”. Feeling responsible or feeling we could have done better is a hell of a lot different than taking it personally.

For those of you with children under the age of 12, I do not mean to frighten you. For those with children over the age of 12, I know you get me. All of a sudden we go from being our child’s fountain of knowledge to the douche wearing a dunce cap in the corner of the classroom. Our sense of humor that used to leave our child in stitches is now stared down with a blank stare and the occasional eye roll to prove sign of life. The begs of wanting to wear our clothes and fancy shoes are now met with mumbles of disgrace at our ensemble choice. Hurt feelings that used to be healed with a hug now are something we possibly couldn’t understand. A favorite treat brought home from the grocery store that was once greeted with squeals of delight and “thank you mommy!” are now met with shrieks of “Mom! You know I am fat! Why are you tempting me?!?!” sigh …kinda tough not to take it personally.

Ladies and gents, I am here to tell you one thing. It is not personal. Oh hell, it feels personal. Trust me, it’s not. Taking it personally not only makes you feel like shit, it feeds anger and resentment that does not need to be fed. Irrational words and behaviour from our kids met with irrational words and behaviour from us is well, irrational. … and stupid and serves no purpose. The only result is slamming doors, tears, people feeling the same way in separate rooms in the same house. Don’t get me wrong, ground rules of respect, kindness and courtesy should be in place and when those lines are crossed they should be pointed out. When your child gives you attitude, they need to be told that they are out of line. After that, you have no control over eye rolls or the silent treatment. It’s not personal…remember, no one likes it pointed out they just acted like an ass.

Your child doesn’t even realize the magnitude of their words or actions or the hurt they have just inflicted. Oh, they may realize after they have been said, they just aren’t at a place they can admit that. Yet. They will get there. Not on the schedule we need or desire, but they will get there. I promise. Being a parent of a 20 year old, I can honestly attest to this. If today’s tale stops one parent from taking it personally, I have done my job.

 

We are here to be the parent, not the friend. it’s not personal, it’s parenting.

 

 

communication, health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

…there isn’t an App for that

  My view this morning.

Over the past months, speaking with countless ladies and gents of all ages, there has been one striking commonality. Everyone seems to be wanting. Wanting appreciation. Wanting to be seen. Wanting to be heard. Wanting a better job. Wanting a better life. You name it, someone wants it. Unfortunately, all these wants are wanted NOW and most cannot understand why it doesn’t happen as fast as they can snap their fingers. Being a parent of a “millennial”, I have had many an interesting conversation, debate or all out argument over this exact phenomenon. So, today Ladies and Gents, boys and girls, I am going to tell you what I have told my daughter (I can feel the eye roll), …”there’s not an App for that.”.

Think about it for a minute. Gone are the days of the waiting list for the one encyclopedia at the library you need to complete a paper. Need facts? You can pick up your phone and Google it. No more lines at the card catalogue with pencil and scrap piece of paper in hand to write down the Dewey Decimal number to retrieve the book you need. Looking for a book? Your local library’s web site can do it for you as you pick up your pre ordered Mochachinofrappalatte. No more pining over that shirt you had to have, but were too late deciding and now it’s been sold. Hop onto amazon and have it to your door by tomorrow. Remember the weekends as a kid? Wondering if someone was home? Trying to call but the line was busy, so you kept trying every two minutes to see if it would ring through to the other end as your parents bellowed “Get off the DAMN phone!!!”. Today, surf your Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and not only can kids find out who’s home or where their friends “are at”, you can also know what they had for breakfast, what they are wearing today and how unfair they are being treated at home because their Mom asked them to ….gasp…empty the garbage.

Here’s the deal. You want something out of life? You gotta do the work. No App is going to clean your house, or change the oil in your car. No App is going to mend a broken heart or take back an unkind word. Sometimes, you will not get a text back as soon as you send it, it’s okay. Maybe the textee had a bad curry for lunch and is tormented in the bathroom and just doesn’t want to share “whassup”…yet. I am sure you will hear about it on Facebook or god help us, see it on Instagram.

They say that whenever you get a “like” or a text, dopamine in released. Guess what? It’s released in other ways too. Before you get up on your soapboxes, yes, I realize I am blogging, and yes, I realize I share this on Facebook and other sites. Yes, I post pics of the cookies I made on Instagram …I also hand deliver said cookies to share with those who see them. I physically go and see people and I look them in the eye when I speak to them, face to face…not to be confused with Facetime. Dopamine sans technology my friends.

Life gets in the way. Trains are late. Flights are delayed. Emails go unanswered. The only thing you have complete control over is yourself, so why not make it as enjoyable as possible? Set up a little corner with your favorite things that make you happy and bring back the warm fuzzies. Go outside and look around, not for anything in particular, just look. Surprise a friend with a coffee…without your phone in hand. Hand deliver a Birthday wish instead of making Facebook do all the work. Try to live every moment and laugh everyday. Plain and simple.

 

 

health and wellness, lifestyle, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Women, writing

Objects in the mirror may be closer than they appear

You can get back up off the floor now. Yes, yours truly is posting again. I have taken some time away, to figure out my focus and where to go from here. Five years ago, as a manager of a retail shop/Salon, I sat down and began my blogging adventures. Starting with humour and hair “how to’s” in hopes of helping the Ladies and Gents gain control of their hair. Within months, as I regained my self confidence, my blog began to take on a life of it’s own. Job opportunities arose, questions were posed, I became a Retail Consultant and the light began to shine a little brighter. Fast forward to present day. I am no longer in the Salon. Although strong ties to my beloved industry are still intact, I am no longer on the front lines so to speak. At first I didn’t know what to do or where my blog was going. So, I took a step back. I turned my focus onto my life, my family, and quite honestly, how and where I was going to earn a living. I thought my blogging days were done, the powers that be had other plans.

Whenever I spoke to friends, I would find myself thinking “I bet a lot of people feel this way…I should write about it.”. Be it marriage woes, attempting to walk the tight rope of parenting millennials, watching a loved one in pain, emotional or otherwise and having no control or say in the matter or simply feeling overwhelmed by life in general. When discussing my idea’s for my “new and improved” blog with those I trust, many who have never met each other, they all told me the same thing. “I like your blogs about hair and products, but I LOVE your blogs about life.”.

Some of the favorites have been;

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/07/21/kindness-101/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/09/06/beware-of-yoga-pants-ponytails/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/11/02/receding-hairlines-and-muffin-tops/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/08/06/the-emily-post-of-retail/

https://thatgirlintheredcoat.com/2012/04/22/my-morning-coffey/

 

So Beauties, here it is, a blog to help add some humor and light into your day, about finding the beauty in everything, life, love, lifestyle and parenting a millennial …God help us.  Yes, I will still allow you to be a fly on the wall in my life and hear about the funny things I see and hear on a daily basis (well, I think they’re hilarious.). That Girl in the Red Coat Consulting services will still be available (call me.).

Beauty, communication, health and wellness, parenting, That girl in the red coat, Women

It’s the little things

It’s 5 days before Christmas and yours truly is able to enjoy some time off before the big day. The last time I had time off at Christmas was because I had the stupid cut out (hysterectomy)…7 years ago. Sure, I had “time off” at the holidays when my daughter was a toddler, but those of us with children know that although the world may see it as time off, time with a toddler is a 24/7 job with no pay, with a boss who can’t find their shoe and cries because you gave them the wrong colored cup with their lunch…so “time off” is a relative term.

As I was running errands yesterday, I found myself getting caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays. I almost succumbed to the Grinch and Scrooge mentality. Almost.  Hearing everyone around me sighing, complaining that the lines were taking too long, or honking at each other in the parking lot because they needed that parking space, it’s hard not to get sucked in to it all. As I was listening to the ladies complain about having people over for dinner as they were about to start a rumble over the biggest pot roast in the meat department, I looked over to see an elderly woman with her little basket with a few items in it and I thought to myself “she probably wishes her biggest problem was getting a big enough roast to feed her guests.”. …and that’s when I began to hum a Christmas carol, carry on with my shopping and tune out the sighs and complaints that passed me through the aisles.

Don’t get me wrong, I am no angel as my daughter can attest to. I cuss like a sailor if you are riding my tail end too close in traffic – when I have my kid in the car, her safety comes first so all bets are off. I have been known to use a certain finger when the snowplow comes by just as I have dug out their first visit’s mound of snow and I may have pretended not to speak English when a telemarketer just wouldn’t get “take me off your calling list”. There have been times throughout the days of Christmas past when I pouted even though I knew Santa saw me. There were times I started to Scrooge out or felt the Grinch was onto something complaining about the noise of Christmas, but I always remembered something that others seem to forget. At the end of both these Christmas stories, Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grinch gave over to the magic and the spirit of Christmas. If they could do it, you can too.

  • give to the Salvation army. If they are giving out candy canes for each donation, do what I do. Ask them to give it to the next child that walks by.

 

  • wave to Santa at the mall. Trust me, he is having a harder day than you.

 

  • don’t fight over a parking space. If the other person is gunning for it, let them have it. If you have to park further away, the fresh air will do you good.

 

  • If the grocery store is out of the size of turkey you need, your family and guests will survive. I promise, the sky will not turn black and the world will not swallow you whole.

 

  • when you make eye contact with someone, say hello or wish them a Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays for those weary of offending.

 

  • give to every toy drive you can find. Any toy will do. The dollar store has coloring books and crayons for a dollar a piece. …psst…you spent more than that on the mocha frappe latte concoction you have in your hand.

 

  • give to your local food bank. If you can, a monetary donation is best – the food bank can stretch a dollar farther than you can imagine.

Take a moment to remember how snow once made you squeal with glee, how hours would pass as you wondered how Santa got to every house. Remember the smell of your Gramma’s perfume as she reached out to hug you, or the cackle of your Grampa’s laugh when he got your joke. Think back to the smiles on your parents faces on Christmas morning, thinking they were so happy Santa brought you your favorite toy, only to now know, the smile was for them and you, not Santa and you. When you take a moment to remember the magic and spirit of Christmas, you too will realize it’s not having the perfectly trimmed tree or the biggest turkey that you remember, it’s all the little things that mattered the most.