She sat lightly on the sofa of the Shangri-La hotel and embraced me early as I entered. From the beginning it felt as if I was hanging out with a best friend. We talked of shoes, child rearing, philanthropy and music. I was astounded at Chantal Kreviazuk’s poise, her passion for knowledge and the way she broke into song to illustrate a point using favourite lyrics.
Walmart introduced the Mom of the Year award last year to celebrate moms as both role models and integral members of the community, and gives Canadians an opportunity to say thank you for everything moms do every day. “We’re thrilled to bring the Mom of the Year Award back for a second year,” said Emma Fox, chief marketing officer for Walmart Canada. Judges include notable comedian, actress and radio host, Sophie Prégent, the 2012 Mom of the Year, Katie Schulz, editor-in-chief of Walmart Live Better magazine, Sandra Martin, Emma Fox and Ms. Kreviasuk review the entries.
One of the most important jobs on the planet does not come with a paycheque, but Canadians have a salary in mind. According to a recent survey conducted by Leger Marketing on behalf of Walmart Canada, Canadians would pay their mom an average annual salary of $161,287 for all of her hard work. Asking about how she will begin to choose the finalists, Chantal paused and admitted that mothers are so exceptional that it would be difficult. “I think that the good the amazing mom today to honor would be that woman who has life experience, has overcome some things but she still has strength and resilience.”
When I searched the #momoftheyear hashtag on twitter I was disheartened to see that moms across the globe use it in a disparaging way. They forget to bring diapers on an outing and they ridicule themselves. I asked Chantal about this trend. She has noticed that women in general are very critical of themselves. “Canadians are very different than Americans in that we have this bizarre thing in our particular cultural nature whereby we diminish our successes and dwell on our mistakes. Americans don’t do that – Americans are very proud and they tend to want to celebrate their success. I think also as mothers we make a mistake and it defines us. We have so much power as as a parent – we really need to define ourselves by the greatness, not the errors.”
Not only has Chantal Kreviazuk been influenced by Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace (her eyes light up every time he’s mentioned) but her mother-in-law has played a huge part in how Chantal has carved her style as a mother of 3 boys. She is “very graceful and elegant in her style of coping and resilience – the older generation just gets up and keeps going with that classic beauty”. Travel and philanthropy keep her busy but she is highly attentive to ensuring constant communication with her kids. “I’m really frightened of the idea of raising children to be too certain.” She admits her mistakes to the kids and takes time to answer questions. Remembering when she attended an event for a hospital foundation and the kids asked a ton of questions, she used it as an “organic opportunity to tell them why and who benefits from the charity and what it’s like for a child that you know is born three months early”. Highly involved in building schools in the third world and the charity War Child, Chantal continually exposes her kids to the notion that their circumstance is not reflective of the human condition. “Currency is many things. It’s not just money and I really believe that a value system for all those currencies is what creates a great human being because we are more than just you know money mongers and it’s not just living to work.”
An electric and intelligent woman, Chantal spoke about her passion for science and how our brains work. She always framed her thoughts from a mother’s point of view and it was clear that research and career exist to make life better for her family and the world around her. Yeah – beautiful, talented, incredibly smart and does some light neuroscience reading in her free time.
She focused our discussion on modeling for our kids – and why moms who are condescending towards themselves are not doing their kids a service. Modelling is vital (and scary) in parenting, and I personally believe that corporations and can help us model well for our children. That Walmart is celebrating moms who model beautifully for their kids is a great step. All I know is after spending quality time with Chantal, she can model what a woman should be for my kids anytime!
New this year to the Mom of the Year contest is public voting, where Canadians will have the chance to review the top 20 candidates and vote for one mom they want to see become one of the eight finalists. Each finalist will receive $10,000 to spend on themselves and the remaining seven will receive $10,000 for the charity or cause of their choice. The Mom of the Year award recipient will receive $100,000 for the charity or cause of her choice.
The Mom of the Year finalists will be flown to Toronto for a day of pampering and an awards gala on October 6, 2013. Nominations for the Mom of the Year Award close on June 16 and My Finalist public voting will begin on July 4 through August 1. The eight finalists will be notified around August 6. To participate in the program and support Canadian moms, visit www.momoftheyear.ca.