As Mother’s Day approaches I have to ask myself: When you follow your spouse, can you be a good mentor and role model for your own daughter?
Last year I was lucky enough to attend an event where Maureen McTeer and her daughter Catherine Clark were speaking about Gender Equity in Canada. (Maureen McTeer is a highly esteemed women’s advocacy Lawyer, author of several books, and the wife of former Prime Minister Joe Clark. Catherine Clark is a speaker and television journalist.) The conversation was exceptional. How far we’ve come, the fight for equal rights and how far we have left to go. As women. As people.
As I sat in the audience I watched the interaction between these two fascinating women. Maureen McTeer exudes strength. She is strong, exceptionally intelligent, well spoken and fearless. Her daughter Catherine is not only strikingly beautiful, but also exceptionally intelligent, eloquent, and confident. What struck me was the tenderness between the two them. Catherine clearly looked up to her mother, and Ms. McTeer often looked out at the audience to her daughter for affirmation about the ‘youth’ perspective. She looked out at her with great respect.
This blog isn’t about Gender Equality in Canada. This blog is about mentorship and what we teach our girls by how we live our lives. Catherine Clark is a likely a strong woman because of, in part, her exceptional Mother. Ms. McTeer has shown by example that leadership, advocacy, and strength are qualities that make a woman beautiful.
I follow my husband around the country in a 1950’s construct. I have long ago given up my own career. Moves every two years to follow the army have made that virtually impossible. I am ok with this. I think I am ok with this. We have a strong nuclear family. I am involved in my community, I volunteer, I advocate for my kids, and I support, but I also wonder… Am I showing my daughter that she can be all that she can be since I am ‘just a housewife’?
Since that day I have done a lot of self-reflection. I had a very strong Mother. She was a strong and exceptional career woman, I was proud to be around her and admired the choices she made. I do think that being a mentor to your daughter means different things to different people. I do not have a big career (or any for that matter) but I do try to show my daughter what it means to be a strong, confident woman, as my mother showed me.
Leadership, advocacy, support are all exceptional qualities that Military spouses adopt in their daily lives. I think we can be good mentors even without that career that we have given up. I can only hope that one day, my daughter will look up to me as I did to my Mother and it appears that Catherine Clark looks up to hers.
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