2

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.

 

 

0

…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.

 

 

0

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.

 

1

Share and share alike

Everywhere you look, people are sharing. Sharing “likes” on Facebook, sharing pics on Instagram, tweeting their latest opinion on Twitter, snapping a moment on Snapchat. I often find myself wondering, what is real and what is not. Over the past weeks, you may have noticed that yours truly hadn’t been sharing much on my blog. It wasn’t for lack of material or opinions…as those who know me know all too well, when it comes to opinions I have a deep well to draw from. The reason for my lack of sharing you ask? My life and the lives of those I hold dear needed some attention, some tending to if you will. I also needed some tending to. I realized I had to take a step back and take a good look at what I was doing, where I was going and where I wanted to go. Now, before you all start to create scenario’s in your head to spill at the watercooler, let me make things clear. No one is ill. No one is leaving anyone. No one has been arrested. I came to realize that the powers that be that directed me onto this road after the closure of the shop had given me a gift. That gift being time.

I used to have time. I used to make time. I stayed home with my daughter until she was 5. Back then I would make time for me. I would make time for chats with my hubby, walks, coffee with friends, well, for life, plain and simple. I would make time for me so I could enjoy the time with my daughter, so I could enjoy the multitude of questions posed by a toddler – 100 before 7:00a.m. ( I counted one day – hey it was educational…I taught my daughter to count to 100 didn’t I?). Over the past weeks, I realized that I hadn’t made time since my daughter crossed the threshold into her kindergarten class. I went right back to work, full force. Always moving on to the next thing, finding the next idea. Over coming financial struggles, dealing with plant closures and lay offs, taking any amount of hours given so we could keep our home. Those days are long gone, but the memory of them still reside. I had put myself in survivor mode and forgotten to change the record. I had become so focused on working and keeping my house, paying off debts and having money in the bank that I hadn’t realized that I still had my house, the majority of the debt is paid off and there is money in the bank.

I realized something last week. I am always telling the women I know to make time for themselves. I thought I was. It wasn’t until last night as I was painting my nails that I realized this was the first time in along time I was painting my nails, for me. Not for an Instagram shot, not for work. For me. On the weekend, I was having a really good hair day, so I took a selfie. For me. Yes, I put it on Instagram, but I put it up there for me. If no one had liked it, I would have been fine with it. People liking it was a perk. I did it for me. I have adored photo’s since I was a child. I could and can sit and look at photo’s for hours. I wanted that picture because whenever I look at it, I remember how I felt and remembering happiness is a good thing.

The moral of today’s tale? If you are going to share your moments, your opinions, your snaps and your chats, make them worth remembering, for you. Create moments worth sharing. Do not create moments just so you can share them. Plain and simple.

2

Long days in short years

Today marks my 3rd anniversary as That Girl in the Red Coat. I had to keep checking the date of my first blog. March 16 2012. Wow. 3 years. I remember the weeks leading up to my first post. I had no idea what I was doing. I was filled with fear and trepidation about what may or may not lay ahead. I was diving into the unknown. I began my blog in hopes of educating the masses about professional hair products, helping stylists and salon managers & owners increase their retail sales and client retention. I wanted to educate and enlighten. What I didn’t know then was how much I would be educated and enlightened, about myself.

Those familiar with my blog know that yours truly is no stranger to insecurities, on every level. I have a library of self help books. I know the “secret” and that I should harness “the power”. I know Jesus loves me. Oprah’s AHA! moments lasted for a moment or two. I tried to Martha and make everything “a good thing”. I was searching for answers and happiness everywhere but where it was, and always had been. In me. I have been the woman locked in the bathroom hating her hair. I have been the woman who had the hairstyle everyone told her she should have…and hating it. I have been the mother who worried too much about other’s opinions on my parenting. I have been the woman who after childbirth was unsure of her body and let it affect her life in the boudoir. I have been the young woman who did not like her reflection. I have been the young girl who listened to the wrong people and continued to listen to them into adulthood. I have been the young girl who thought having hips was awesome until some girl told me they made me look fat. I have also been the 5 year old girl who thought she could be anyone she wanted and do anything she wanted…and I am happy to say, at 42, I again believe this to be true. Letting go of my fear of the unknown and letting go of the fear of what people will think, I found happiness. I feel content. I am proud of my daughter and feel I am doing a good job being her mother. I look into the mirror and like what I see. I have the hairstyle that I like and that I want. I love and am in love with my husband of 20 years. I embrace my curves and from time to time can be caught shakin’ what my momma gave me.

I realized that over the past 3 years the days have been long and the years have been short. I learned some hard lessons, personally and professionally. I have suffered losses and gains. I have had to stand by and witness health issues and mental health issues of my loved ones – and all I could do was offer a soft place to fall. I have learned that it is not all about me – let me tell ya…that was a biggie. I am continuing to learn patience. I have accepted that I can’t control anything or anyone but myself…another biggie for yours truly…huge. I have learned that this too shall pass…in it’s own time.

The most important lesson I have learned is to go for it. Plain and simple. Go for it. The worse thing that can happen is nothing happens and you begin again.  I have come to embrace a line from one of my favorite tunes from the Rolling Stones “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just  might find, you get what you need” and it is serving me well. By staying true to myself, letting the chips fall where they may and taking a chance on myself and putting myself and my Salon Tales out there, in 3 years some amazing things have happened and are continuing to happen;

– a 6 time contributor for http://www.salonmagazine.ca

– a contributing author for http://www.hairstlye-blog.com and http://www.visualmakeover.com

– a featured blogger for http://www.justpencilmein.ca

– featured on http://www.girlbodypride.com

– featured in Piidea’s Sept/Oct 2014 Buyers Guide

– featured in ViBrant Magazine

– featured on many professional hair care websites

I am proud of the above accomplishments. What I am most proud of are the personal lessons I have learned and the accomplishments in my relationships that followed – from my marriage, to my friendships, to my family, to my relationship with my lovely daughter. I have also learned to like myself. Ladies and Gents – if you can like and love yourself – everything else slowly falls into place. My anniversary gift for myself and for you is this;

Remember, in this life,

– the days are long and the years are short.

– You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, well you just might find, you get what you need. – The Rolling Stones

– have the hair style/color YOU want

– You are enough. Plain and simple.

– Always shake what your momma gave you

 

3

Tales of Truth Part…oh I give up

Gather ’round ladies and gents, boys and girls, it’s that time once again! Time for That Girl in the Red Coat’s Tales of Truth. Now, I don’t know if the planets are misaligned, or if their is a glitch in the Matrix, lately, I have been privy to some interesting events and antics. Maybe the public at large has gotten wind of my Tales of Truth series and is hoping to be mentioned…sweet baby Jesus, I hope so.

– I heard a bang on the front window of the shop. As I looked over to see what it was, I saw a Mother applying hand sanitizer after touching the trash can lid outside the neighboring shop, all the while her toddler was banging her fists on the window as she was licking it. ….wait for it…there you go.

– A woman came in for some hairspray. As I was ringing through her purchase, she farted. Then farted again. Then again. She just stared at me, didn’t even blink. No “excuse me”. No “too much Sushi I guess”. Nothing, Just stared at me.

– I had a woman ask me if I sold a “less toxic” hairspray. So I asked her if she meant a more environmentally friendly or vegan hairspray. She answered “I just need a hairspray that will stop my son from growing breasts.”. Before I spoke, I silently told myself “don’t show it on your face” and said “Pardon me?” to which she said, “Yes, he is a teen boy getting breasts.”. I asked her if she had seen his doctor and she told me she had taken him and the doctor thought her son should become more active and cut out the junk food, but she wanted to be on the safe side and make sure his hair product wasn’t adding to the problem. …sigh

– at our shop we focus our retail on hair products and nail products. We do not carry cosmetics. I had a woman come in looking for lipstick, I let her know I do not sell lipstick or any cosmetics and gave her the name of a few shops where she could find what she was looking for. She asked me if she gave me a list, could I call around to those shops for her and find out if they had what she wanted. I politely told her I could not, but offered to find the phone numbers for her and she could call. I was told I offered poor customer service and she left.

– We sell human hair extensions. The brand we sell has pictures of women on the package that are of mixed descent – Asian, African, Indian, you name it. I had a woman ask me why I didn’t sell hair for white people. I shit you not – it’s 2014 and people like this still exist. After I checked for the hooded white sheet (yeah, I said it), I let her know that the hair I sell is for every woman, of every color and creed.

– A woman asked if she could put her toddler on the back counter as she shopped. I told her no, and that it wasn’t store policy. She tried to assure me he would sit still if I was worried he’d fall off the counter. ….double sigh.

That’s it Beauties…that’s all I got for today…makes me tired 😉

 

Dad's laugh

 

0

Can you fix this?

“The bottle promised bright pink hair! Can you fix this?”. “All I asked for was a bob, I didn’t want to look like a Bob! Can you fix this?”. “I was told if I used 40 volume peroxide that my hair would be platinum blonde! Can you fix this?”. These, among others, are common questions posed to me and my stylists at least once a day. At some point in our lives, we have taken our hair into our own hands and realized, oh…that’s why I am not a hair stylist. The great thing about all hair mishaps? They can be fixed. Color can be corrected. Damage from over processing can be repaired with conditioning treatments. Curls can be defined and their frizz controlled. With time and proper products, even the most botched of cuts can look good. That’s the great thing about the Salon, we can help repair the damage. Sometimes, we can even help repair the damage that isn’t seen.

Unfortunately, there are some things I cannot fix. “Look at her scalp! It’s soooo oily! Can you fix this?”. “She decided to try to color her own hair and now looks like she should be on a street corner! Can you fix this?”. “HMMPPT! He thinks he needs gel for his hair…what a diva I have for a son! Can you fix this?”. Yes, I am sad to say, these are phrases that parents have said, about their children, in front of their children, to me. It is usually at this moment I look the child straight in the eye and tell them “I may not be able to fix everything for you, but I can help you with your hair.” and I give them a wink. Once and for all, to all the parents and care givers out there;

– STOP pointing at your child’s oily scalp and proclaiming it as an injustice against you. The only injustice is against your child’s self esteem

– Do not, I repeat, do not refer to your daughter in a derogatory manner. EVER. How is she ever going to know her self worth if all she hears is worthless remarks.

– Young men want to like their reflection too. To make fun of a young man who wants his hair styled just so is mean,plain and simple. I don’t know where it began, teasing men that take pride in their appearance, but I know where it is going to end. Right here. Right now.

– When your teen wants to try a new hairstyle, let them. It’s only hair. It will grow back. Here’s a thought…if the only struggle you are facing with your teen is that they want a mohawk…this is a good problem to have.

– If your child wants to have pink hair, I highly recommend trying hair chalk – Kevin Murphy Color Bug or Joico Structure Pigment Pencils – the color washes out after one wash. It’s a win/win. Your child gets to have fun colors in their hair without the damage and you get to have a tantrum free day.

– For your curly haired cherubs – First, stop referring to their head as a tangled horrible mess. Second, invest in Salon Professional products. DevaCurl is an amazing product line, created for curls of every type. Check out the awesome tutorials on their website http://www.mydevacurl.com

– If your son wants long hair – do not tell him long hair is for girls. If your daughter wants short hair – do not tell her short hair is for boys. If you are worried about what people will think, sorry to tell you this, that is your problem – not your child’s. *this being said, as their parent, be sure to help them style their hair, or have the stylist teach them.

I am a mother and I have put my foot in it many times, of that I am certain. Another certainty…that I have needed to apologize on many an occasion, not necessarily for what I said, but how I said it. As parents, we teach our children to think before they speak. I think it’s time we taught ourselves the same lesson.