I HATE MOTHER’S DAY! ©

 

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“If you can’t be bothered with me any other time of the year, don’t bother coming round or buying me flowers on Mother’s Day!” C’mon, Moms. I bet there isn’t one of you out there who hasn’t felt this at least once, even if you never said it right out loud.

Mother’s Day is tough for many women I know. For some, it’s the only time they get any attention from their families – the older they are, the more invisible they become. In seniors’ residences, the number of cards on the dresser is like a badge of honor and the main topic at the dinner table. Talk to any of the staff and you’ll discover who’s good to their mother and who only comes around on Mother’s Day.

Dear friends have other reasons to have heavy hearts when this day rolls around – one’s oldest son was murdered at this time of year, the others have lost daughters and sons to drugs and alcohol and car accidents.

It’s tough for kids, too. Some have mothers who mis-treated them when they were little and aren’t nice to be around. Should you still show her respect, even if you don’t feel much for her?

My own mom has been gone since I was 17, so I transferred my attention to my grandmothers while they still lived, and now I have aging aunts and a stepmom whom I send cards to. But there’s still a little pocket of sadness inside because I can’t participate in the idealized Hallmark way.

When my son was about three, I remember feeling so resentful on Mother’s Day because my husband forgot what day it was until mid-morning, then rushed to Safeway and brought home a pot of chrysanthemums – not a flower I ever liked.

It was a tense, instead of a beautiful day, with him feeling guilty and me feeling hard done by. Then we talked about it. We talked about which occasions in the year were ones that we wanted to honor. My mother had placed a special emphasis on birthdays, so that was important to me. Our anniversary and Christmas were the two other days that had significance. We agreed to resist the commercialism of the other designated days and established our own family rituals.

With the pressure off, we had more fun being spontaneous. Since I liked the ritual of breakfast in bed, my family would surprise me with memorable times of French toast and tea on a tray with them beside me. A homemade card from my son added an extra bit of delight.

Paying tribute to all moms who work tirelessly and often selflessly throughout the year is a good idea, but why have we turned it into yet another commercial time of sappy cards, wilted roses and long waiting lines at restaurants? Phew! Got that over with – now let’s get on with our lives – Mom will understand how very busy we are!

Here’s my question – do we use this day as an excuse to ignore our mothers the rest of the year? My grandmother once said, “All I really want is some of your undivided attention.” We don’t need all the hoopla of one day if we already feel special because of continuous regard and contact. A regular phone call to check in or an unannounced drop-by means so much more, especially to seniors dealing with health and mobility issues.

As for me, I like to pamper myself on Mother’s Day. If I can entice a friend – we go to a concert or get a pedicure. My son will be away on his honeymoon. I do not expect a phone call!

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What I Wish My Mother Had Told Me about Sex©

When it came to the topic of sex, mostly what my mother told me was, “no!” (I think she might have told my dad “no” a few times, too.)

Growing up in the “Father Knows Best” 50s, I learned at a very early age that sex was totally taboo – no talking about it, no touching of private parts, and certainly no experimenting with neighbor kids. Dad never interfered, because Mom’s job was to raise the kids – unless of course we got out of hand and she threatened the old, “you wait till your father comes home!” Poor man never knew what hit him most of the time.

In grade 6 we watched the film in health class about how our bodies would be changing. Naturally, the boys were in one room watching their film, with the girls in the other. I’m sure each group was desperate to know what the other was learning! It was all very mysterious, and I confess to not really understanding what they were talking about. When I took the pamphlet home to my mother, she was annoyed that the school had taken over what she thought was her job.

As my breasts started to sprout, mom could no longer ignore the fact that her only daughter was moving into womanhood. I still chuckle at the girlish giggling of her and my grandmother as I tried on my first bra. When my period arrived, even though I was highly embarrassed, mom showed me very matter-of-factly how to look after myself.

She was right there when I got my first kiss at 15. Too protective to allow me to ride in my first boyfriend’s little Sunbeam, she was the chauffeur for our last date before he moved to Vancouver. He kissed me in the back seat of Mom’s Galaxy 500. I felt like a princess in a fairytale.

We never talked about my changing feelings as a teenager – the dreamy “I’m in love” or the unexpected surge of groin warmth the first time a guy touched my breasts. (Through my heavy winter coat – on a double-date with my older brother – this was the 50’s after all!) Okay, there was kissing, too. I won’t tell you his name, though I remember it well – he had bedroom eyes that caused many a girl’s sighs!

Mom never had the “birds and bees” talk with me, but she and my older brother hovered over me at any sign of potential trouble. I rarely risked her displeasure by stepping out of line.

I wished she had told me what part goes where and where babies come from. Instead, I saw in graphic detail on the big Technicolor screen of the Medical Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal exactly how babies are born and what part of the mother they come out of. I was a shocked and mortified 17-year old. “Well if that’s where babies come from,“  I thought to myself, “I’m never having any!”

But I still knew little about “the one thing” that was on a boy’s mind. I wish she had told me that it was o.k. to pleasure myself, that an orgasm was wonderful to experience, or that multiple orgasms were better than 10 A&W root beer floats. (I finally learned all that in a sexuality workshop when I was 27!)

I think she didn’t share any of that with me for a couple of reasons. First, she either had never experienced some of that, or she just didn’t have the words to talk about it. The second, more important reason was that she never got the chance, because she died suddenly when I was 17.

All her history – her thoughts, dreams, feelings and experiences were gone in an instant. Over time, her sister shared some of what she knew of my mother’s single years. How she’d narrowly escaped rape by the high school principal in grade 11. She quit school because of that, though she’d always wanted to go to university. My grandfather never forgave her for quitting – she couldn’t tell him why.

During World War II, she worked on the tarmac at Bowden, Alberta where they trained the British fighter pilots. She fell in love and got engaged to one of them, but he was killed. She had a beautiful soprano voice and sang on the radio, with my aunt accompanying her on the piano.

She was a talented writer with a great sense of humor. She wrote little skits that the curling members performed at the Derrick Club. All I have of her writing is a letter she wrote to my grandmother from her hospital bed when my youngest brother was born. My brothers and I laughed when I shared it with them recently.

I only knew my mother while I was a teenager – with all the edginess and accompanying angst. I missed getting to know her adult to adult. So when my own son was born, I was determined that he would have written evidence about his birth – what I was thinking and feeling and what he meant to me.

I started writing him letters. As the years passed, I made sure to write at least one letter on his birthday so he would feel the essence of me at that age. I tucked them away for when he was older.

Now at 64, because writing is both my passion and my vocation, I feel compelled to document my history – a memoir of sorts. I hesitated for a long time because I thought I had to be someone “important or famous” to publish a memoir. Now I realize that I have a treasure trove of stories and something of value to share. I don’t want to leave this world without some kind of mark to show that I’ve passed this way.

As I move to a more reflective time of life, I believe it’s an honor, a privilege, and part of our duty to share our thoughts and wisdom for the generations to come. Our sons and daughters have a right to know where they came from, so they can decide where to go from here. My mother died too young to write any of those words, so I have written some of them for her – as I will write my own story for my son. (I confess I didn’t tell him much about sex either!)

If you are a Baby Boomer, or you still have parents, I encourage you to write your story and their stories – before it’s too late. Our children need your wisdom, and they need to know their roots.

“I’d Rather Stay Single than Settle!”©

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“What’s with these guys, anyway?” a friend recently lamented.  Single again after a nasty, long term relationship, she had cast her line into the online dating pool.

Bemused and disgusted, she related tales of guys with lengthy lies, poorly written profiles, and lousy pictures who railed at her because she dared to question and test out whether or not they were for real. One man accused her of being a man, not a woman.

Her reply, “Well, I have been told that I have more balls than most men, but I’ve never been accused of having a penis!”

Another man wrote her that once they met for the first coffee date, he expected her to commit permanently – no testing out of any kind would be allowed. When she shut him down, he tried to re-connect using a different name (but the same photo – duh!). At that point, she was pretty sure he was ready to be committed alright – to a padded cell!

Then there was the guy who penned story after story about all the women he had dated in order to convince her that he was God’s gift to women. He’d already been married four times.

My friend got super diligent with her tests. If the guy was from far away, she requested a photo of him holding a newspaper from his city with a current date. Some actually complied, others she never heard from again.

I shook my head in amazement. Not much had changed in the ten years since I’d tried online dating. Who needs to watch contrived ‘reality’ shows on TV when you can just fire up your computer and participate in the electronic dating scene. That brand of truth really is stranger than fiction!

Is it any wonder that we develop trust and commitment issues when faced with a big puddle of whiners and losers? Is the single set so desperate to connect that any lie is justifiable in the battle between the sexes?

After I related a couple of my own horror stories, my friend and I talked about the necessary, but somewhat painful sorting process. I was relieved when she told me that she didn’t take it too seriously, and was actually having fun testing out these guys whose stories made her laugh in amazement. She was accepting the occasional coffee date, but made sure she was safe while doing it.

Too many women I’ve talked to are so frantic to hook up that they shut off their creep-o-meters and suffer through the inevitable dating disasters. And that’s not just younger women, it’s women in their 50’s and beyond.

It’s scary to think about living alone because Mr. Right is in hiding. I get that – been there – sent that t-shirt to charity. But I’ve also experienced  the pain of the high price tag when I settled for Mr. Wrong.

Since I’m not willing to use my precious time right now in my own ‘single again’ life to re-enter the dating pool, I will live vicariously through my friend’s dating adventures. Where else will I find such great material for my next blog!

Photo courtesy of clickintobusiness.com

When the Student Becomes the Teacher

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More years ago than I prefer to count, I was blessed to have in my personal growth class a young woman by the name of Lezlie. She was eager to learn all about herself and the power within. She proved to be an apt student.

The more often we shared, the stronger the bond became between us – we were certainly sisters of Spirit. We lost touch for a while when I changed cities, but in reconnecting; it was as if we had never been apart.

Over the years, there were triumphs we celebrated and tragedies that we helped each other through. Mostly we connected by email or phone, but the occasional visit found us exchanging book titles and trying to solve the world’ s problems over a cup of tea. By that time, I rarely saw myself as her teacher, and she my student. We were sisters on a whirlwind of adventure.

In 2012, our relationship continued to shift. That July, Lezlie and Ron had dinner with us on one of their rare trips through Edmonton – heading to Hinton for a family re-union. We had such a delightful time; no one wanted the evening to end.

In September, Ron called with the heart-wrenching news that our beloved Lezlie had been diagnosed with a brain tumor and had died during surgery. Her celebration of life in Calgary proved that she had become a teacher to us all. I drew strength from the final words she had written, inspiring us to live our lives with joy, passion, and purpose.

More than once since then, have I been blessed with wise counsel from her when she appeared in my dreams.  She gave me the courage to fight on that October when I faced cancer surgery.

Earlier today, Good Friday of 2014, I was reviewing old Facebook messages. (Lezlie was always more embracing of social media than I was!) As I scrolled down, there was a gift from her dated four years before she died – a message I had not seen until now. It was like finding a beautiful gift at the back of the closet that I’d forgotten to open. The message included a poem she wanted to share.

May you find the wisdom that I found in her poem that follows.

One Moment Please

By Lezlie Molyneaux 2008

I take flight and all the world is spinning

Every need rushes in to whack at me.

I cannot grasp one stick to shake at,

For all shake furiously.

The spinning is becoming tortuous.

I can’t remember who I am.

Then

One tiny feather floats

Between the blades sharpened dangerously.

My eyes blink, yet I am wary

One moment I shake ….

I breathe

One moment I shudder…..

I breathe

One moment I close my eyes

I breathe …..

I breathe

One moment I am totally protected

In a blanket of downy white

One moment – I am

I am.

Dearest Lezlie,

Thank you for transcending time and space to share your wisdom and teach us your truth. We are bountifully blessed as we remember that we are all students and teachers of each other.

Photo courtesy of How to raise your vibration blog

Three Lies Single Women Tell Themselves©

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Single, heterosexual women, both young and old, can fall into a pit of despair because of the lies they tell themselves.

Lie #1: I Don’t Need A Man

We often adopt this lie as truth in the aftermath of a break-up or a disastrous relationship with a man. Our hearts are broken; we’re seriously disillusioned with the whole male-female connection. I’ve been in that exact place more than once.

After each of three long-term relationships ended (I guess I’m a serial Ex now) my pit of despair seemed too deep to crawl out of.  In my anger and grief, I damned all men to hell and proceeded to learn to live without them.

In true women’s lib fashion, I bought myself a cool power drill and other even more interesting power tools. I was determined to need no man’s help. Well, maybe it would be okay to let them change my flat tire. And I might need a little help with some heavy lifting or moving.

After my second marriage (of 23 years) ended, it took three years of that focused independence before I began to yearn for a little more intimate male involvement – dinner, a movie, hot sex (I’d be lying if I didn’t mention that last one!).

I missed the romance – the electric regard of a man who was giving me his undivided attention. I hadn’t felt intensely female for a while, a feeling one can only get from direct masculine interest. I longed for that shiver of anticipation over a first date, and the chance to share that excitement with my girlfriends. (Heaven knows they needed some reward for listening to all my whining!)

Lie #2: I Need a Man to Complete Me

Time was passing, I wasn’t getting any younger, so I began to worry about being alone for the rest of my life. I believed I needed a companion, a lover, a man to share my days with – in my desperation, I believed that I would be nothing if I wasn’t part of a couple.

A big danger exists if you buy into this lie.

You may be desperate enough to settle, like I did initially, for the first guy who comes along who seems acceptable. Phew! Somebody wants me. I had hoped to avoid the online dating pool and all its perceived misery, so I got involved with someone totally unsuited to me and my goals in life. When I finally came to my senses, I had a devil of a time getting him out of my life.

Women are not wired for the love ‘em and leave ‘em habits that guys seem to get away with. We get so wrapped up emotionally that we’re easily scarred – oh, and don’t forget about our tendency to want to fix every guy that’s broken. “Oh, I’m so sure Mr. Right Now or Mr. Trainable could become my Mr. Right.” Well, okay, if you have a hundred years or so and more patience than God.

Trust me, I’ve hooked up with over half a dozen “lost boys” over the years. They never changed – they just got irritated when I wanted them to change or grow. Not only have I decided to never bring another one home, I plan to avoid them altogether. I’ve learned the hard way that the only one I can “save” is me – and now I know that I’m worth saving!

The key to avoiding this lie is to accept your own wholeness as a woman. You came out of the womb complete. Even though you’ve grown and transformed from a baby into a woman, your completeness has never changed. You may want a partner to enhance or enrich your life, but you don’t need one to feel complete.

Lie#3: I’m Not Good Enough to Attract the Right Man

Most of us can easily finish these sentences with all the negatives in the dictionary: “I’m not….” I’m too…” Not recognizing your own greatness as a woman is more harmful to your psyche than anyone else’s opinion of you. Maybe when your last relationship ended, your ex said mean things that cut you to the core. His opinion should carry no weight – only your opinion counts.

If you’re feeling unworthy, what could happen if you’re “lucky” enough to attract a really great guy?

If you don’t go into the next relationship feeling whole, you’ll never believe that you measure up, despite what this great guy tells you. You might even start looking over your shoulder for his next girlfriend after you – self-sabotage at its worst!

Or, with self-esteem issues, you might decide to sell yourself so short that you lower your standards and attract all manner of weirdos. (And then moan to your friends that there are no decent guys!)

The truth is, you are good enough right this minute. To confirm this, take a fearless inventory of all the things you like about yourself – you should be able to come up with at least 100. Include your talents, skills, strengths, values, physical attributes, passions etc. When you get stuck, ask trusted friends, colleagues, and family members to add to your list. (You’ll be surprised at how much they value you.)

Now I’m not saying that you shouldn’t make any changes to improve yourself or your image of yourself – I encourage that. But do it from a desire to grow, not because you feel deficient!

Once you start valuing yourself and you’re feeling more at home in your own skin, you become much more attractive to the opposite sex. Then, and only then is it time to cast your line into the dating pool!

What other lies have you told yourself as a single woman? If you have friends who struggle to break free of these lies, share this article. It could save them from a relationship disaster!

Wishing you freedom, wisdom and fun! …Sue

2014 – A Year to Move Forward!

IMG_1111As 2013 came to a close, I found myself looking forward, with a great deal of relief and excitement, to the dawning of a new year. It had been a brutal year, fraught with big changes in more areas of my life than I thought I had energy for.

Yet, here was another opportunity to explore where I’d been, and more importantly; decide about new pathways and goals and plan my action steps accordingly.

Even as a youngster, I felt that my life was geared for something more, something bigger than I could then imagine. I still feel that way, believing that, despite a long list of accomplishments to date, I haven’t yet lived up to all my potential. So how will I live up to that potential? The current catch phrase is all about ‘re-inventing’ oneself, which is like a make-over only more from the inside rather than altering a person’s outward appearance.

Re-inventing means changing. Changing from the old to the new often means releasing or letting go of the parts that no longer serve. Whether it’s old habits and beliefs or an abundance of old files and office clutter, letting go can be a huge challenge.

In my home office, I started by ruthlessly purging files of old information and memorabilia – pages I hadn’t looked at for years but just kept packing around. Next were drawers, cupboards and my desk – what I kept was properly re-organized and filed. As I worked to toss that old baggage, the pieces inside cried out for one last look – so I’d open the bag – big mistake!

Because change seems to be both scary and very hard, I was tempted to hang on to some of that old, familiar stuff for just a little while longer. Kind of like an annoying relative that I couldn’t bring myself to say no to.

Courage and a vigorous commitment to the new vision for my life are the two tools I’m using to continue to set myself free.

As my office and living space began to look clean and clutter-free, I started making lists of what was most important to me – what I treasured, how I wanted each day to unfold, where I would find the most fulfilling work, and how I would build in peace and joy for my body, mind and soul. What new thoughts and habits would I need to focus on?

Here’s where the courage comes in. Courage is needed when it comes time to take the action steps necessary to make those new dreams and visions come true. It can involve many fears and much uncertainty because I can’t see the future, and I may not yet know how to get where I want to be – I only know what I’m striving for.

My commitment to getting there sure helps. That commitment builds when I examine the risks of doing or not doing versus the rewards of achievement. I know I will need patience, persistence, and compassion for myself anytime that resolve weakens.   May all your dreams and goals for 2014 come true. Trust me – you’re worth it!

My Newest Adventure

IMG_0826While I usually consider myself to be the low-tech tool in the high-tech shed, I am gradually changing.There’s an old adage that goes, “grow or die”. When it comes to communicating, I find that if I don’t grow into many of the new computer related tools, my ability to connect with new audiences will be severely limited – and my business could die!

So, somewhat reluctantly, I bought the book, Buzz Marketing with Blogs for Dummies. While I resented being labeled as a dummy when it came to the World Wide Web and all the social media stuff, I desperately needed the simple explanations and the step-by-step process provided for learning this new way of communicating. [I blessed the index more than once when I didn’t have a clue what a widget was or how an RSS feed worked.]

What will I do with all this new learning? Well, in addition to all the other fun things I do, I’ve taken on the role of blog mistress for a new site that focuses on dating tips for singles over 40. As a recent participant and eventual victor of the mature dating scene, I learned lots-the good, the bad, and the ugly. Many friends, colleagues and even strangers commented about how tough it was to find a new partner, someone who was just right for them.

Since I would love everyone who is newly single to be as happy as I am with my new love, and since I’m a how-to kind of person, I wanted to blog about this topic. My plan is to provide information, stories, opinions and strategies about mature dating that will help readers work toward their goals of finding new relationships. The site: www.maturedatingtips.com launched July 1, 2010.

If you, or someone you know is over 40 and single again, then check out our site, read the posts and send me your stories and comments. The more the merrier on this new adventure!