Letter to My Daughter

posted April 25th, 2012 by Janet Graham - One Comment

I’m a wife, mother, family member, friend, writer and career woman. I am blessed to have a daughter and son and son-in-law. When Janet Graham and I first met, we conceived the idea of writing a series of letters to my daughter that would distill some of the lessons I’ve learned juggling career and family. While these letters are addressed to Lesley, they are also sent with love to Brian and Greg.


April 11, 2012


Dear Lesley,


I’m so pleased to have your reaction to my first letter. Despite our generation gap, the concerns you raised resonate with my experience. I hadn’t realized that you and your friends are already talking about matters like dual-career families, balancing work and life, making choices about career curves and ambition. Perhaps I’m still thinking about you as ‘my little girl’?


You’ll be interested to know that Grandma has also replied to my letter. Here’s a bit of what she wrote:


I remember all the ways pro and con that women I knew reacted to Betty Friedan. At first, I was outraged that my own role as wife and mother was being attacked. With few exceptions, everyone I knew stayed home with their children and allowed their husbands to make the major decisions. I, for one, found it quite boring at times so I guess I could go along with the question ‘Is this all?’


I hadn’t thought of Friedan’s views as causing outrage. A failure of imagination on my part. And look at that word ‘allowed’. Makes me wonder who was the dominant one in my parents’ marriage. Grandma goes on to talk about the volunteer work she took on and the pride she took in her children’s various accomplishments.


As you point out, being great at your career, raising a family and doing some of the things you love is a tough challenge. I stumbled along for quite a time feeling the stress of not doing anything well and allowing myself to get rather frustrated. I’m going to delve into your questions in more detail but for the moment, here are my top fifteen ideas for keeping sane amidst the chaos. I thought it would be a top ten, but the ideas kept flowing. I’m sure other women will have suggestions too.



Well, that’s it for now. I hope these are helpful. Maybe we can chat about them on the phone … you are probably employing many of them already.


Lots of love,




This post was written by Mary Tod.  As you can see, Mary is a wonderful writer.  This is the second in what I hope is a series of exchanges with her daughter Lesley.  I know Mary would love to hear from you (and so would I). Please share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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One Response to “Letter to My Daughter”

Comment from Vanessa Vidas
Time September 2, 2012 at 9:51 am

Great letter, Mary! And great idea, Janet … I may start writing letters to my girls aged 13 and 10. Mary used to work at Deloitte with me several years ago – unfortunately I never got the chance to know her well but I am glad I will still get the chance to benefit from her advice through this blog.

Thank you!

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