That Really Fine Line

25 Aug

One of my favorite sessions to present to both educators and parents is called Unleashing Excellence – I’m going to thumbnail it for all of my parent, teacher and coach friends – and also anyone who manages others in any capacity.

This is a way for each of us to take a good look at ourselves and see which side of the ‘line’ we stand on – and to recognize how we might be perceived in the eyes of kids and others… Continue reading

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Going Into Chapter 9

29 Jul

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I have had eight careers in my way over 50 years…A teacher, coach and school counselor, a private practice counselor, the owner of a cheer camp (what an incredible time that was!), a motivational speaker, blogger and whether Ben wants to acknowledge this as a career or not – a mom.

And now I have decided to add one more title to my resume… I have just become a boutique owner – a woman’s clothing boutique, to be exact -in downtown Franklin, Michigan. (No, I do not have a degree in fashion merchandising, retail or business – but…)

It kind of hit me in the past year that my speaking career has been slowing down and since I can continue my blog no matter what else I’m doing, I started to think about what else I might be interested in. I have missed having my own business terribly since I sold CHEER! MICHIGAN – I miss my office and staff, the creativity, the problem-solving and to be quite honest, I miss being the boss.

And as much as I might feel like the boss of my home, as the person who oversees and takes care of a whole lot of things, somehow my ‘employees’ don’t seem to cooperate the way they did when I had my camps and a business away from my house.

So….one day I wandered into this little boutique close to where I live, which I had been in a few times before and thought ‘I would like to have this boutique’. I knew it was owned by two women who might be close to retirement, so I begged my sister to go in and ask if they would sell it to me (I’m kind of shy about these things). She refused. I asked my accountant to send a letter on my behalf. He told me to man up and go in and inquire in person. But I didn’t – I was too nervous about being rejected!

But life has a funny way of handling things – shortly after I was told to do it all by myself, Gary and I were out with our friends who happen to be active in the village where the boutique is located. I mentioned to my friend Michael that ‘I would like to have that boutique’….

So, Michael pulled out his phone, emailed his friend, who just happened to be one of the owners’ sons and asked if they would entertain an offer. After an email exchange or two, I was invited to go into the shop and talk with the proprietors. The following Monday, I finally manned up (half a Xanax helped); walked into the boutique and well…the transition began!

Now the boutique is officially mine. I have spent the past three months, researching brands and POS systems (that means point of sale, I’ve learned). I have asked countless questions to the lovely ladies who sold me their treasured business and to anyone who has ever been in retail. I have cursed every on-line application for business licenses and tax numbers (hate them all). I have scoured every clothing shop in Michigan to figure out what I want our shop to look like and discovered what I don’t want it to be.

It’s a blast!

We just opened after a month long renovation and an attempt to learn every angle of the business – my sister has been, as always, a huge help and we have assembled the finest little ‘sales team’…what a fun next chapter!

How long will I be there? Well, my mother-in-law bought a Hallmark store at age 60, sold it a decade later and runs the gift shop at a local assisted living community. She’s 88. My mom still does the books and runs a small arm of the business she built with my stepdad years ago. She’s 89. I retired from my cheer camps at 50 – an age most of my mom friends are barely approaching.

I’m thinking. I’ll be there quite a while….Come see me!!

(Oh – and ‘like’ us on Facebook – The Village Boutique of Franklin)

How to Tell You Are the Parent of an Only Child

2 Jul

I always read bits and pieces about how being an only child affects kids – both in the positive and negative. In the past I’ve weighed in as the “older mom”, so I think it’s time I offered up my perspective as the mom of an only kid – both positive and negative.

This is how it is for me…being the lucky and sometimes exasperated mom of Ben:

  1. Even if your son (mine) is only going into 10th grade, when you are at Party City or Target and pass by the graduation party supplies, your stomach turns a little and you try (unsuccessfully) to hold back the tears. Or when you watch a mom and son dance at a wedding, you almost have to excuse yourself to the restroom to get a grip, as you likely see your face on the face of the groom’s mom and your son’s (baby) face on the groom and begin to fall apart. (Pathetic, isn’t it?)
  2. You are planning on relocating to wherever your kid goes to college. And plan to relocate again when he gets her first job. Oh – and again when he gets married….
  3. You drive your kid and all his friends everywhere because you are the only one who doesn’t have a couple other schedules to consider or kids to cart around. You do this not so much for the kids, but so your mom friends can have a little break once in a while. And you also do it because, well, let’s face it, when you only have one kid, everyone kind of expects you to volunteer for everything, right? I mean, what else do we have to do all day (wink, wink)?
  4. You wish you had another child – not so your son doesn’t have to take care of you all alone when you get old, but because then he’d have someone else to annoy and could then leave you alone. And even better, he’d have someone else to fight with!
  5. Your son’s unintentional nicknames are Lucky, Gus and Rusty – coincidentally, those are also the names of your dogs.
  6. Speaking of animals, if you don’t want your kid to get too full of himself, you remind him that your pets came before him – in my house, that means he’s officially number 4 on the totem pole and will be treated accordingly.
  7. You only have to fill out one set of camp or school forms!! Woo Hoo! And even more fun, only one well-child or orthodontist appointment to schedule, and one kid’s homework to deal with. (On the flip side, my guess is that moms of only children typically save wayyy too many of those school projects and childhood mementos!)
  8. You know all your kids’ teachers’ names and a little bit about each one. Ditto for their friends, friends parents, friends siblings and pets, coaches… You get the picture.
  9. You have to work extra hard to make sure your kid doesn’t think he’s the center of anyone else’s universe but yours.
  10. You get a little squeamish when friends are over and the rough housing begins, until other parents remind you to relax and let them do what brothers and siblings normally do (which looks to moms of only children like combat warfare).

Maybe the most interesting thing about having an only child – or my only child is that if you stop by my house on any given day, you would think I’m the old lady in the shoe – living with a multitude of kids, baking endless batches of chocolate chip cookies and making sure everyone has a pillow, blanket and place to sleep every weekend.

I wouldn’t have it any other way….

Is the Big Picture Shrinking in My House?

19 May

I’m not sure if I came to value the ‘Big Picture’ concept from working with teens and young adults most of my life, running a tight-ship kind of a company or maybe even just personal paranoia, but I have always been a ‘Big Picture’ kind of a girl…meaning that it’s essential for me to look ahead and project the results, aftermath or effects of preparation, actions or words. Continue reading

Free to Be…..You and Me…: Three Rules for Personal Comfort

7 Apr

Part Four of Four

And finally – wrapping up and rounding out my previous posts (Part One, Part Two and Part Three) on personal comfort – we’ve reached the end! And as we know as the adults we are – the end is usually just the beginning…. Continue reading

Free to Be…..You and Me…: Three Rules for Personal Comfort

4 Apr

Part Three of Four

Be sure to read Part One  and Part Two!

For adults to understand and share with their children:

  1. Be Thyself

I can’t believe this 4-part post started out as a brief commentary on self-comfort! I appreciate your positive comments and interest as I give you the second of Three Absolutes for finding and keeping one’s personal contentment. Continue reading

Free to Be…..You and Me…: Three Rules for Personal Comfort

2 Apr

Part Two of Four

As I mentioned in my previous post, Part One of this series, I think that figuring out who you are, and being confident enough to trust who you are, is one of the most important things we can accomplish in life. It’s NOT easy and I sure haven’t mastered it yet… But, it is something I work on daily and most definitely something that I try to instill in Ben every chance I get. Continue reading

Free to Be… You and Me…: Three Rules for Personal Comfort

31 Mar

Part One of Four

As I began writing this piece a while back, the Oscars were on….two of the acceptance speeches grabbed my attention as perfect fits for helping kids – and ourselves – to get and stay comfortable in their/our own skins. Continue reading

Tackling the Tough Stuff

24 Mar

First – PLEASE take the time to read this article by Adam Strassberg, M.D. about teen suicide in his community AND good parenting.

This is my commentary about both Adam’s article and my experience, first as a high school counselor and coach and now as the parent of a teenager.

Way back in the mid-80’s, on my first day ever as a young high school counselor (as in not that much older than the students and much younger than the majority of the staff) at a local Catholic girls high school, I walked into a flurry of shock, tears and grief. Continue reading

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

12 Mar

In honor of #tbt (that’s Throw-Back Thursday) we are bringing back some of our (and your!) favorite pieces, many of them updated with new pics! Enjoy!

For me, the only thing worse than my love/hate relationship with my 13 year old son, is talking to the occasional mom who maintains that she doesn’t have a love/hate relationship with her teenager because between them it is all fine, all the time… Is that even possible? Continue reading