The Day My Mother Stopped Looking for Love

Not my Mother, but she was just as beautiful!

Not my Mother, but she was just as beautiful!




My mother was a stunningly beautiful woman. The oldest of nine children of first generation landowners, she grew up on a tobacco farm in the deep South. Unlike my sweet grandchildren, my mother never knew what childhood felt like. She told me stories about standing on a stool on cold winter mornings well before the sun came up making biscuits alongside her mother, warmed only by the wood-fired stove. When she shared the stories, she never smiled. She wore her anger and sadness all over that beautiful body.

What she wanted, second only to her freedom from taking care of her siblings, was to be a model. Tall, stately with the most beautiful long legs and perfect lips, she was something to behold. At 18 she was out the door. Working as a telephone operator to earn a living, she began to do some modeling at local department stores. She was finally on her way! Until, that is, a very handsome man showed up with enough charm to sweep Ava Gardner off her feet. Every woman loves a man in uniform and those Coast Guard whites must have done her in. Before she knew it she was married with three children soon to follow. That scene wasn’t in her dream, but then again, women’s dreams rarely came true in the 1940’s.


My Daddy died young and left a beautiful widow with three children to raise, but my mother never missed having her “hair done” and as they used to say, “always looked just like she stepped out of the band box”. Though we had very little money, she always looked beautiful, even when “nobody was coming”. And, she never lost her interest in a good-looking man.


Over the years, she dated men, many of whom were truly a mess. But, she kept that spark for love until she was about 60. That was the day I remember seeing her in a jogging suit and a pair of Keds. In the days that followed, she bought more jogging suits to wear and the dresses disappeared except when she went to work. The sparkle in her eyes seemed to dull and my beautiful mother seemed to grow older every day. Years later, I realized this was when she “gave up on men”.


This is how it goes for some people, and they don’t even have to be 60. The feeling that love isn’t worth the trouble, that they always choose the wrong people, that sense of hopelessness about ever finding love. Like my mother, they just put on those jogging suits and never take them off.


The search for love takes effort and it’s easy to feel it isn’t worth it. Perhaps it isn’t for some people. But, I’m here to tell you that finding love again is so worth all the effort it takes. Just because you’ve not yet found the person that makes your heart sing, because you think he/she isn’t out there or that you are too old, or your “chooser” is defective…making the decision to do whatever it takes and asking someone to walk with you while you open your heart to love can mean a sweeter, longer, more beautiful life. Companionship, touch, sharing your joys and sorrows…who doesn’t want that?


Before you settle into your jogging suit, ask yourself if you wouldn’t rather have a glass of wine or watch a sunrise with a handsome man or a beautiful, charming woman with dreams and passion that might just be yours too!

If you know someone who’s about to put on their jogging suit, please send them the link to this post. It may just be the thing that inspires them to keep their dresses rather than shipping them  off to Goodwill!


If you are tired of watching sunsets alone and are willing to do whatever it takes to find a special someone to share this next amazing chapter of your life, I’ll show you how and be there to hold your hand.

Email me at or call 510-817-4242 to set up a time for a Complimentary Strategy Session with me. Let’s see what the NEW YEAR can bring to you!

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big Red Chair    510-817-4242 


Big Red Chair

What DO We Want in Love Now?


Recently I met a man online who was new to the scene. Bright, articulate and very clear about what he wasn’t looking for in a woman and his next relationship. Reading it, I thought, “I like how clear he is. He’s honest and confident and really a bright man…an amazing writer and he can spell!” I could almost feel the chemicals being released in my body and it felt wonderful, that sweet sensation letting me know I wasn’t dead yet.


At the same moment those hormones were taking off their pajamas, a light came on not only because I couldn’t sleep, but because I was about to sleepwalk right back into a familiar place…a black hole that I’d fallen into many times before. I felt a smile come across my face and like a recovering alcoholic, I knew this time I would take a different street even though there was a lot of comfort in that hole.


I’m addicted to the mysterious man who is a bit of an unknown quantity. He’s “almost there” or “exploring” love and relationships, and always, very “conscious”. He says he wants love in his life, he’s happy with his life, likes living alone but wants to find someone special to spend time with and share some things in his life sometimes. You get the picture, but do you get the attraction? It’s a bit like Ernest Hemingway with a dash of Richard Gere. Illusive, handsome, bright, creative, romantic and ever so charming. I’ve had some amazing food with these men. Fine wines, beautiful settings in gorgeous locations, romantic sails and even spent some wonderful holidays right out of a movie set. What more could a woman ask for? 


I’ve grown over the years, perhaps, grown up. Still drawn to those men who sort of want a relationship. I now know that although the honeymoon will be amazing, what will follow for me at least,  is the emptiness, confusion, struggle and drama that belongs in that Hemingway novel but not in my precious life. Now, I know to walk around that hole, take another street. That other street is less familiar and requires more from me than blithely following those delicious hormones down the road. Now, I must choose what is right for me and that requires knowing what that truly IS. It means facing my fear that he might not be out there, or at least within 50 miles of me. And the temptation to settle can return again and again when that fear appears.


Isn’t being a grown up a wonderful thing? It may be hard work at times, but the rewards are so amazing. When I find the man I truly want and deserve, I’ll happily walk over those spent fireworks that lay on the ground,  holding the hand of someone who wants what I want. The journey begins with knowing what that is.


Do you know yourself, who you are NOW, and what you really want in your next amazing relationship? Begin there because when you know who you are and what you want, you can know them when you see them. 

I’m here to hold your hand, keep you motivated and teach you how to trust yourself…and see dating as an adventure!
Let’s meet each other and get you on the road to finding love again. For a complimentary 30-minute session, give me a call at 510-817-4242 or email me at to set up a time to talk.


Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Speaker, and Writer and Expert in Dating and Relationships for Grown-ups

Donna’s Big RED Chair

Big Red Chair

Our Secrets Keep Us Trapped


I spent the week listening to some of the leaders in the field of  human potential, I’ve spent a lot of my life rooting around looking for myself…and my potential.  Anne Lamott was the highlight for me. I’ve always identified with her, maybe because she’s honest, willing to write and speak without her make-up  on or her “best self” flag hanging out there.  As I get older, I want to be just like Anne though she’d say, “No, you don’t. You just want to be just like YOU.”


The summit wrapped its content around “Self-Acceptance”. Sound a bit woo-woo to you? Maybe you’re thinking that we’re all a bit too self-focused already? If you’re grousing about the “young folks today”, most assuredly you are thinking, “My God, we ought to be teaching them to accept responsibility, show up for work wearing some decent clothes and looking up from those damn phones long enough to cross the street or drive a car!” So, I get the skepticism. I gotta admit, I wasn’t expecting much more than fluff…except for Anne Lamott!


I tuned in to watch about 12 presenters of the over 30 that participated. Scientists talked about neuroscience and self-esteem. Coaches, speakers, writers, addiction specialists, spiritual directors, many of whom you’d know took self-acceptance to a new level…a personal one.  It certainly got personal for me.


You see, it seems that unless we really do like ourselves, it’s hard to like anyone else. And, there is no greater challenge to human beings than just that…liking ourselves. Question is, however, how can we be expected or know how to like ourselves when we’re born into such negative, untruths about who we are? Taught to be an imposter, hiding parts of our sweet selves that we have disowned because we are so ashamed of them. Things like my father and grandfather’s suicides, a mother who struggled her whole life with crippling depression, knowing what it felt like to have the repo guys come while I was in school, coming home to an empty house , and being delivered a Thanksgiving turkey and a “food bag” from the church so that we could have a holiday meal. I could, as I am betting you could as well, go on and on about the things in our lives we’ve done, been told, experienced or had done to us that cause us to carry shame. Much of my life and energy has been consumed by making sure nobody knew my secrets. I thought if they did, they couldn’t possibly love me. 


So, how do we learn to accept ourselves? We get feisty. Ferocious about reclaiming that beautiful little person that came into this world exactly the way he/she was supposed to. Not perfect for very long, but making mistakes in order to learn how to live. Problem was, somebody didn’t get the memo…our parents and our society. Seems religion told us we were already born sinners. How can you feel good about that? Then, there was that thing about mistakes. Spilled milk wasn’t a normal thing children did. Yelling, or saying things like, “You’re so clumsy!” made their mark and went into our internal storage units.


We now need to learn how to treat ourselves as well as we treat our children, grandchildren, friends and others in our lives that we know are wonderfully imperfect. It’s our greatest challenge, and the most important thing in our life. For only when we can accept ourselves as flawed, imperfect, mistake-making, desperate-for-love human beings will be begin to protect ourselves from our own inner critic and be willing to share some of those “shameful secrets” with others who have similar stories. Then and only then can we know that  though our stories may be different, we all have them. There’s such comfort knowing that because we no longer feel that deep fear of being and feeling alone. A dark place becomes illuminated when we share our stories with fierce honesty. First, with ourselves,then with others who are safe and who we know really won’t abandon us. The irony of being honest and vulnerable is that shared experiences, especially those that make us feel ashamed and alone, are the very things that bring us closer together. If you don’t believe that, look at all those amazing human beings on the ground around the world, and right here at home, being there for those who are suffering.


Don’t wait for an illness, earthquake, or life’s most challenging times to tell your stories. Ask for help if you need it any day of the week, or in the middle of the night. Be there when others give you the gift of their precious stories…especially the ones they’d rather not share. It’s an honor to to listen. Others who love you will be honored when you’re ready to share yours too.

Like this post? Re-post it on your social media so that others can begin the feisty journey toward honesty and joy!

Are you tired of being alone, but think nobody would love you if they knew “this” about you? Don’t let this myth stand in the way of finding someone with whom to share this amazing chapter of your life!

Want to talk about how to find love, both for yourself and someone special?

Email me for a Complimentary Strategy Session today! 

Donna Bailey, MS

Coach, Writer, Speaker and Expert in Dating and Relationships for “Grown-ups”

Donna’s Big RED Chair  510-817-4242


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