Catherine Bennett

I am a mother, daughter, sister, loyal friend, niece, and cousin. Traveling the world, having fun, playing sports, being in nature, laughing and spending quality time with family and friends are some of my interests! My son is 8 years old and I am loving his age! I feel like a kid again as we take part in many child-friendly activities together! I love his laughter and smiles – as it brings me so much joy and happiness!

I completed two degrees: Social Work and Criminology. After University, I worked for years with high-risk youth/adults in conflict with the law and grew a lot from those rewarding experiences. Currently, I find myself happier and more at peace in my job as a Community Relations Manager with Retire-At-Home Services. I love helping people of all ages and making a difference in their lives. Everyday I provide real solutions and options for families struggling with challenging caregiving situations. I am very proud of the ethical Home-Care company that I work for and this makes getting up in the mornings very easy! I love spending time with our clients as I learn from each person. Sometimes I have to pinch myself and thank my lucky stars to have a job that I love going to. I truly have the best job for ME! Finally it matches me authentically!

Who inspires you in your life and why?

Definitely my father. My father became a Mr. Mom at the age of 44 on December 19, 1991. On his own, he raised us daughters ages 10, 14, and 18. I was 14 when my Mom passed away suddenly of a massive brain aneurysm. My mom had been a fabulous Stay-At-Home Mom and my dad worked in a demanding accounting job therefore he had a HUGE domestic learning curve to do.

He is my role-model as I watched him gracefully keep our family together as he continued to work full-time while also taking up cooking, house-keeping, and chauffeuring us to many extracurricular activities. He even learned which feminine hygienic products to buy for us with grace! He never once complained about his new role as house-manager. My father is the most SELFLESS man I know. I remember him coming back from work in his three-piece suit, run upstairs and change into his athletic clothing. We would then all run outside and play sports with him, have dinner and then he would help us with homework (for me that was Math!). My father encouraged us all to obtain educations and our own careers. He taught us the importance of being financially independent (money management was taught at a young age) and to rely on ourselves. As you can see, he made his daughters, his life – he told work he couldn’t travel anymore for them. He taught us resilience and to keep moving forward despite the hardships we all faced. My sisters and I are so fortunate to have our father support us in every way and put us first. Once we all grew-up, he remarried and currently lives happily with his wife. They travel the world but he never goes away for too long, as he is now helping us with raising our own children! He’s the first one we call for babysitting services! Imagine that! 🙂 My Mom sure married one amazing man! And we will be forever thankful! The only issue is he has set the bar very high for us when trying dating! lol

What have been some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your life?

I would say becoming a motherless-daughter at 14 was a huge challenge to overcome. When most teenage women lean on their moms for advice and guidance, I was abruptly left to figure it out without my caring and nurturing Mom in my life. Fortunately, as stated above I had a wonderful father who tried his darnest to step into that role. We all turned quite well despite that traumatic incident at a young age.

At the age of 27, I decided to finally follow a dream of teaching English in Japan with the JET program. I left my full-time job, rented my house, told my boyfriend I would be back in a year, and flew to Japan to full-fill this dream! It started off really well. Met new people, travelled around Japan with friends, but things turned very quickly when I discovered I had a stalker who was breaking into my apartment while I was at school teaching. The stalker was actually the office manager of the school I worked in. It’s a very long story, but ultimately I had to fight with the patriarchal system to get the help I needed to convict this man despite not speaking Japanese. With the help of the Mayor of the town as my lawyer and my father flying in for the court case, I won the trial. The man who had become obsessed with me confessed to his wrongdoings.

From what I heard, I was the first Canadian English Teacher who fought successfully against a perpetrator in the Japanese school system and won a case. For this reason, I have set a precedence and the Japanese Embassy knows it as the “Catherine Bennett Case.” So I guess I learned that I don’t back down too easily. I believe in fighting for Women’s Rights. I was again very fortunate to have had the support of the Mayor of my town and my father in order to fight a good fight against injustice. By the way, the Mayor and his wife allowed me to live in their home for safety reasons while this case was going on. Maybe someday I will write a book, as the story is very long and intriguing to many!

I have had other big challenges in my life but I will just keep it at these two mentioned above as I am writing too much!

What did you do to move through them? What did you learn?

The way I moved through my Mom’s death at young age was by seeing a counsellor, joining a support group for teens who lost a family member with Bereaved Families of Ontario, and seeking the strong support of my friends and family. I also spent a lot of time in nature. I hiked, swam, travelled the world and enjoyed life. I was fortunate to have had a stable and loving father who kept our family together and who demonstrated resilience. I also kept remembering my Mom’s favourite quote: “Get out and Be Part of the World!” My Mom wouldn’t want us staying stuck in grief over her death. She led by example of living life fully. She was often on the move: volunteering, socializing, exercising, loving life. I know she’d be happy to know her daughters all live with passion and have a zest for life.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of my son, Callum. He brings me so much joy and happiness every day! I love watching him grow and learn. It’s so fascinating to see!

I am also most proud of how my ex-husband and I have amicably separated. It was the hardest decision of our lives – to separate from somebody you love deeply. But we learned that we aren’t compatible in many major ways (money, religion, life goals, interests, etc.) which was only bringing each other stress rather than joy. We thought about staying for Callum’s sake, but that dysfunctional marital role modeling and unhappiness isn’t what we wanted to teach him.

Liam and I uncoupled without hurting each other. For this reason, we have maintained a very amicable friendship and love for each other. When he needs help, he can call me. When my car broke down on the road, I called him. We are co-parenting Callum very well together as he is the love of our lives. We still spend Christmas, birthdays, Halloween, etc, together as a “family”. When Callum sees us – he sees very happy parents together – parents that love and respect each other. And this is one of the biggest gifts we can give our son.

What do you want younger women to know?

Listen to your gut – it knows the truth and answers.

Please don’t let fear hold you back from living your authentic self.

Learn money management at a young age, get educated and find a career you are happy with!

There are no guarantees that relationships will last (due to death or divorce), please don’t depend on a man to take care of you for life.

Always maintain your girlfriends. They will never let you down if you remain loyal and available to them as well. It’s a give and take. My girlfriends have held me up during some of my most difficult life events. In return, I am always there for them!

Remember you only have one life – this is no dress rehearsal! (the Tragically Hip)

Life can change in a moment – I know this VERY well. Don’t take people for granted.

What does living fully mean to you?

To me Living Life fully means:

Living in the moment and for today.
Living each day authentically and honestly.
Learning from my past and moving on with my new life lessons – as there’s so much joy this world has to offer – just get out there!
Doing what feels right for me. Not letting societal pressures tell me how to live my life.
Embracing getting older as not everybody has this privilege.
Eating well, exercising, surrounding myself with positive people and energy.
Laughing as much as possible EVERY DAY!

Favourite quote?

“Feel the Fear and Do it Anyways.” Unknown

“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher” – Oprah

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams “- Oprah

“Keep a smile on your face, it’s the best accessory you can ever wear.” – Unknown

“Challenges are what makes life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.” Joshua Marine

“Be a lover, not a fighter. But always fight for what you love.” Unknown

“Don’t wait. Life goes faster than you think.” Unknown

“Take every chance you get in life, because some things only happen once” Unknown

“Don’t settle for anybody, just so you have somebody” Unknown

“Difficult roads often lead to the most beautiful destinations!” Unknown

I love quotes….I can read them all day long!

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