‘Life is about embracing the mess, because it is messy and we are going to make mistakes’

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Op-ed, Susan MacQuarrie

In regard to Justice Minister Peter MacKay's recent chauvinistic comments and emails, his wife was good to come to his rescue.

As a person who often speaks freely without thinking about consequence I feel (some of) MacKay's pain. His comments give us the impression that he believes in the old adage "wife at home, man brings home the bacon."  This is a conservative way of thinking and he comes by this honestly. I think Peter has good intentions albeit he is tied to a party long entrenched in old school beliefs out of date in our world today. 

            Is it wrong? Who is to say? I am a mum who had the economic advantage of staying home with her kids. I left my dream job that I loved and where I was highly respected when my son was five years old and my daughter was two. I initially struggled with this but have no regrets. I was fortunate to be able to do this. After 14 years I am now ready and willing to get back to the industry I loved and, unfortunately, it is not that easy. I have given this particular situation plenty of thought as of late. I understand why "women will never rule the world"...  as ambitious and as successful as we can be, we are also the part of the human race that can give birth. Those of you who have experienced this can attest to the feeling(s) maternal instinct leaves you with; it is indescribable.

            Very few of us make the corporate world our "life" and that is the expectation out there. Many companies speak of respecting work and family but I have yet to witness this. If someone can prove me wrong I welcome the challenge. MacKay may be right, not many women apply for judge positions. The question he should be asking is why? What do we need to change? If corporate Canada sincerely want women in these prominent positions then they should "work with us," not "against us." To me, and I may be a bit bias in saying this, many women add a much-needed gentle touch to this crazy world that has been hardened by narcissists, control freaks, jealousy and narrow-mindedness. 

            Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook chief operating officer's 2013 bestselling book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, is honest and forthright.  Critics have beat her up. True, her book doesn't apply to everyone, as my opinion here does not, but on a balance pertains to a large number of women. She speaks of cultural limits instilled in us as children that are hard to shake. Particularly when they are constantly reinforced by society at large, i.e. MacKay's comments.  The book is a great roadmap for our new generation entering the workforce.

            As Nora Ephron, advises “embrace the mess.”  Life is about embracing the mess, because it is messy and we are going to make mistakes.

            Laughter is key and success for women in both family and career is the last laugh.


For inspiration: http://www.forbes.com/sites/jennagoudreau/2012/05/10/worlds-20-most-powerful-moms/


Truro resident Susan MacQuarrie is a mom and community volunteer.

Geographic location: Canada

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Recent comments

  • Susan MacQuarrie
    July 03, 2014 - 07:30

    Thank you Mr. Wellwood. I appreciate the feedback. I never mean to offend or judge.. my "free" opinion only, and it is nice to see it appreciated for what it is. Very nice addition to my comments :) Susan

  • Allan Wellwood
    July 02, 2014 - 12:03

    Ms: MacQuarrie, In regard to your column in Wednesday's (July 2nd) Truro Daily: You really impressed me! Responding first on your topic: Speaking freely is something most people have forgotten how to do. “Freedom of speech” is usually connoted to pertain to political matters only – not to the 'everyday living' that we all do and cherish. So long as we use our 'free speech' (everyday opinions) with honesty and without intention to do harm, it is anyone's prerogative to so speak and not to be chastised for it. Yes, MacKay is in a position of importance, but his mind is is own (or should be) and without pressuring anyone, but simply stating his opinion, he is exercising his freedom as a Canadian. Secondly you wrote about “Freedom of choice”, another of our tenets of Canadian living. Whether a woman (or man) chooses to work for salary or work as a volunteer or work as a builder of society by caring for a family at home; that choice should be admired and supported. So many lives are stressed by having been 'channeled' into areas where the career doesn't fit the personality. Money is a means to an end – to enable us to accomplish the noble goals we set for ourselves to be able support others, not in itself as a sign of success in life. Some forfeit having a career based on money but by doing so succeed in building strong character in themselves and in those who observe them through their examples of altruism and service to society. A person's worth is in their ability to contribute to the lives of others – whether in a corporate setting, a governmental setting, a community setting or a home setting. There ought not to be any adverse criticisms for the choice – the choice will be judged in a much higher setting at the end of our days. Thank you for bringing the importance of these two freedoms to the fore-front in our community newspaper. Everyone needs to be reassured that their personal contribution of voice and action, however different or less visible than our politicians', are the 'grass-roots' that hold our society together and builds the platform of liberty on which our country exists. The mighty cannot be mighty without the support of the meek who uphold them in their places of esteem. Allan Wellwood Valley

  • Hattie Dyck
    June 30, 2014 - 16:58

    Right on Susan.