Leading Parallel Lives: Are A Mother & Daughter Really Walking on Different Paths?


FOF Diane Danvers Simmons helps women embrace new chapters in their lives by using three guiding principles: Own your Power, Feel your Spirit, & Live your Life the way you choose, with Wit and Wisdom. She wrote this essay four years ago, upon realizing that she and her 17-year-old daughter weren’t traveling on paths quite so different as we generally think.

She’s in the last stage of puberty; I’m menopausal.
She’s experiencing the throes of first love;
I’ve been thrown by love. She’s finding herself; I’m rediscovering myself. Two perspectives, one special relationship, and, to top it all, she’s stealing my
clothes, shoes, and jewelry.

The differences and similarities are uncanny, and more than enough to test any good woman on either end of the spectrum. While she’s bent over in pain, hugging a hot water bottle and sobbing over her cracked baby eggcup, I’m pulling off my clothes, stepping into a cold shower and weeping over the heel she just broke on my new red stilettos.

Tissues, self-help books, exercise, journals, chick flicks, wine and chocolate are all imperative at this time for both of us, and that’s just the starter kit. Round two: meditation and yoga, both of us lying on our backs with our legs in the air, to get the blood back into our brains, calm the nerves, and give us a whole new perspective on any situation. A cup of tea helps to seal the euphoric moment.

Both of us are coping with a set of new dynamics as women. I’ve had to own up to my choices, respect that she’s becoming a young woman, and she’s now more than just my daughter. She’s learning to respect me as a woman with feelings, desires and dreams, too. Both of us are stepping into uncharted territory, even if my stilettos are more worn out than hers!

She looks to the stars and thinks, “The world is my oyster.” Meanwhile, I’m thinking, ‘Enough of the oyster, now where’s the damn pearl?’ The truth is, I have a treasure chest of pearls, glistening with wisdom, many of which I will pass on to her. But the true beauty of living life now lies in the fact that there are so many more pearls waiting for both of us to discover!


Meet Coach Sherry Matheson

Sherry Matheson

Age: 46

Tell us about your background.

I am 46 years young, married with a blended family of five girls and one boy, and two dogs. I worked for 17 years as a corporate paralegal at various mid size law firms and then in the legal department at a large corporation. Before becoming a corporate paralegal I worked in the oil and gas industry for 6 years.

Why did you decide to leave your profession and become a coach?

I was working until 11:30 at night and weekends at the big corporation and I burned myself out after three years. I didn’t have the right skills and tools to be in that environment and developed shingles on the backs of my knees to the point where I was sitting in my doctor’s office and she was handing me a prescription for anti-depressants and wanting me to take a leave of absence. I decided I needed to quit my job in order to heal and get better. We are a blended family with six kids and it wasn’t an easy decision.

I accidentally discovered coaching after I quit working as a paralegal and started my training five months later with the Coaches Training Institute at the University of Calgary.

We often put everyone else first. It’s the ‘nice girl syndrome.’

My coaching style has a big focus on positive psychology, so if beating yourself up isn’t working for you and you’re not feeling empowered, I can help.

Explain your approach to health and wellness coaching.

I take a comprehensive approach to health and wellness by looking at how all the areas of your life are connected to your wellbeing. I like to open up the realm of positive possibilities for others. I feel my journey prepared me well to understand and emphasize with my clients and makes me a better coach.

I create action plans to help my clients make the sustainable changes necessary to improve their health and live better quality lives. We tackle issues such as managing stress, increasing energy, achieving more balance, sleeping better, eating healthier, getting into more movement, achieving and maintaining an ideal weight, reducing food cravings, improving self perception, improving relationships, increasing productivity, and enhancing decision making.

Health and wellness coaching combines psychology, behavioral change theory and life coaching. The field is on a swift positive trajectory due to the evidence demonstrating its role in improved client/patient outcomes, medical compliance, employee health and productivity, and lower health care costs. Health and wellness coaching effectively bridges the gap between traditional, organized healthcare and behavioral change.

How do women most sabotage themselves?

We often put everyone else first. It’s the ‘nice girl syndrome.’ My coaching style has a big focus on positive psychology, so if beating yourself up isn’t working for you and you’re not feeling empowered, I can help.

I’d like to share a testimonial from one client, who wrote: ‘I’m never usually at a loss for words, but I find myself hesitating to express my gratitude because words alone can’t convey my emotions. What I originally thought was going to be a simple plan for weight loss and exercise, to my surprise and delight turned into a journey of self-discovery and self-acceptance, of which you were the catalyst. From our first coaching session you had the wisdom and listening skills to pinpoint my needs. The information you forwarded to assist me in working on my goals was invaluable. You will forever hold a place in my heart as the person who helped introduce me to a better version of myself.” —Sharon, Ontario

Why is your company called “Ingredients For A Healthy Lifestyle?”

Each client is unique and so are her ingredients to create a healthy lifestyle. What roles do eating, exercise, work, family, etc. play in her life and how can she balance them to achieve her goals?

Where and how often do you meet with clients?

I coach the majority of my clients over the phone so they can be located anywhere. Our calls are 50 minutes long, twice a month, and we have unlimited email contact.


36 Reasons To Give Mantra Buttons

Betsy Karp, who calls herself The Colour Coach, says she can help you start transforming your life today. Through the simple use of color, she will give you the tools that teach you how to shift your energy, attitude and perspective. A former artist, textile and fashion designer, Betsy is now a certified health and wellness counselor. She helps women–mind, body and soul–to “paint the picture” of their lives. Read more of our interview with Betsy.

“Mini mantras are your daily dose of self love,” says Betsy. “They are a fun, playful way to connect to those around you. Use them to feel empowered, positive and focused. Let them define who you want to be.” We couldn’t stop thinking of reasons to gift them! Here are 36 fun, serious, heartfelt, friendly and clever reasons to give a mini mantra button to someone or to wear one yourself!


Meet Coach Rosanne Leslie

Rosanne Leslie

Age: 52

Are you married?

I’ve been divorced for 12 years. I was married for 13 years and have three children. My marriage taught me what love is and, most importantly, what love is not. Raising my three children alone showed me how our society views single women and mothers and gave me the freedom to stand autonomously outside of that paradigm. Recognizing the dysfunctional dynamics of my marriage I was able to (slowly) extricate myself from it.

What did your parents do?

My father was an engineer for an international company and my mother was a stay-at-home mom.

Why did you become a coach?

I became a life-coach as a result of coaching myself through several years of single parenting. I discovered some of the perennial answers to questions I believe we all have when faced with life challenges and changes. Who Am I? What is love? Why am I here? What is my purpose? How can I be happy?

Happiness is found at our core and so long as we have hope and dreams we can find joy in any day.

What kind of Fab over Fifty women can most benefit from your coaching?

Any woman can benefit from coaching if she is ready to make a change and is earnest. However, the woman who will most benefit from my style of coaching is one who would like to redefine herself and still believes that she has dreams left in her and that she possesses the power to make them come true. I work a great deal with women who have teen-aged children and parenting challenges. One of my greatest strengths is guiding women through the process of divorce, especially those involving domestic violence issues. These women have special needs and because I lived this kind of marriage, I understand them. My empathy and compassion runs very deep for them.

What is your mission?

My mission is manifold. We all suffer and complain too much. There is a certain camaraderie and “acceptance” in the conversations between women in their complaining and suffering and I would like to show them that they can be happy now, in this very moment. Happiness is not contingent upon anyone’s external world or life circumstances. Happiness is found at our core and so long as we have hope and dreams we can find joy in any day. My mission is to guide individuals to autonomy in a society that does not readily embrace that. My greatest mission is to show women how to love and be loved and to celebrate their femininity as a gift and not a weapon against men or themselves.

Tell us about your typical client.

I don’t have a typical client. Everyone is different and comes to me when they are either excited about changing their lives and careers or they are devastated and traumatized and don’t know where or how to begin their day.

What is the greatest piece of advice you can give women?

To recognize that they are alive and what alive really means. The pulse of our society and the world is extremely fast and prevents many from understanding and feeling that they are “here” and that being “here” is precious and a gift.

What woman do you admire most?

I don’t have a particular woman I admire. Perhaps it is she, the silent and nameless one, unrecognizable in the crowd and the world, that I admire most. She is not famous or rich by society’s standard, but she knows how to give and love selflessly. She silently struggles every day to get by and has boundless compassion, integrity and humility. I think she is in every woman. She is my hero and I look for her, every day.

What is your favorite quote?

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”–Albert Einstein.

Meet Coach Krista Watts

Krista Watts

Age: 30

Husband? Kids?

My husband sells cars at one of the biggest used car dealerships in Ontario, Canada, and we have a 2½-year-old son.

What did you study in school?

I have a BA from the University of Waterloo (Ontario) in Political Science and Management Studies. I take courses all the time for work and for personal interest. It keeps me sharp!

What inspired you to create retirementhomeliving.com?

It came naturally after years working in sales for a retirement home company and helping hundreds of families make the decision to move a relative to a retirement home. I saw the need for a coaching service to guide women 45 plus years old through the difficult and complicated process of relocating their aging parents. The daughters need the most guidance and support. They experience intense feelings and emotions during this time. I love helping people come to a peaceful decision that they can live with in a positive way.

I make a difference in people’s lives every day. I see aging people thrive after moving to retirement homes.

Previously, they ate poorly, felt lonely and unsafe. Now they’re well fed, cared for and have companionship.

I also see exhausted daughters regain their lives once they know their parents are finally safe and secure.

How did you first get started in retirement home consulting and coaching?

I met my mentor through a mutual friend and she provided me with a once- in-a-lifetime opportunity to start in an industry where she had spent 25 years. I had the chance to learn from one of the best in the business in Canada. Everyone always talks about forks in the road and this was mine career-wise! It was better than I have ever dreamed or imagined and I am thankful I took the risk!

What did you do before working in the retirement home sector?

I sold lumber for six years in my parents’ business. I had to find a new job when they retired.

What is the mission of retirementhomeliving.com?

I want to help free women from the emotional roller-coaster of caring for aging parents. Too many women struggle with guilt and fear from their parents. They often lose their self-identity and start living in their parents’ shadow. They drop everything for them, miss out on holidays, neglect work, husbands, children and friends. I help them find their purpose.

Why is the perfect field for you?

Selling lumber filled a need but it’s extremely rewarding to help families find the right places for their aging loved ones to live. I make a difference in people’s lives every day. I see aging people thrive after moving to retirement homes. Previously, they ate poorly, felt lonely and unsafe. Now they’re well fed, cared for and have companionship. I also see exhausted daughters regain their lives once they know their parents are finally safe and secure.

Tell us about your services.

I offer Skype, email, phone consulting/coaching services and group coaching. I’m creating an eBook and online course, which will be available soon. I do speaking engagements, as well.

Do you interview the parents as well as their grown children?

I definitely spend time with parents to find out what they want and need in a retirement home.

What do you hope to learn from new clients?

I want to uncover the daily problems they face so I can see the complexity of the situation. I explain all the options after conducting an in-depth needs assessment. This can include senior communities, assisted living, nursing and long term care homes, private duty nurses etc. While others recommend only homes and communities that give them fees, I recommend what’s best for my clients.

Do you recommend specific places? In the United States, as well as in Canada?

Yes. I research the best options for your family’s needs, no matter where you live. I do background checks, set up tours and help with the admissions process.

What kind of FabOverFifty woman can most benefit from your coaching?

Any women with parents! Seriously!

How do women most sabotage themselves?

Time and time again I see women who have sacrificed their prime time years to care for their parents. They feel it is their obligations as daughters. What about being mothers, sisters, grandmothers, wives, friends, workers, volunteers and purpose seekers? Unless you truly feel taking care of your parents is your life’s purpose, do not feel bad about seeking a solution.

What’s the greatest piece of advice you can give FOF women?

Life is too short to be living someone else’s life. Take control now before all you have is years of regret about vacations not taken, friends not seen, children grown up, husbands you ignored and a life you didn’t live all because you couldn’t stand up to your parents.

Besides your work, what are your other passions?

I am constantly reading up on different topics. Business, politics, marketing, fitness, healthy eating, parenting, running, and self-help, to name a few. I love running and have completed four half marathons. When I don’t run enough in a week I get cranky and my legs twitch! Right before my wedding four years ago, I lost 40 pounds by running and eating healthy. I think that exercise and healthy eating go hand and hand with making good decisions and getting your life under control. I also love taking my son to fun places like the park, the zoo and swimming. I am reliving my childhood through him.