Monday, June 18, 2012

I Am Just Like My Mother

Cebu City, 1968
My mom grew up in the Philippines and was the eldest of five children. She did a Bachelor of Science in Foods and Nutrition, and her first job was as a Food Service Manager. Then she became a hospital Dietitian, then Chief Dietitian and Instructor. She immigrated to Canada in 1971 and did a year of Dietetic Internship at Montreal General Hospital.She graduated, married my dad, and they moved to Toronto where she worked as Head Dietitian of a hospital in Scarborough in 1972. Then in 1980, we moved to High Prairie, Alberta, where she became Dietitian Manager at the High Prairie Regional Health Complex. And her career went on, and up and up.

I, on the other hand, am a different story. Thanks to contracts and my husband's career taking precedence, I think I haven't held a job for more than 10 months. At 31, when I decided not to return to work after mat leave in order to stay at home, I figured my mom would be disappointed. I just spoke with her this afternoon to recount what she had told me five years ago:

 "When your dad and I had you and Mel, we didn't know anyone well enough and couldn't imagine putting our children into daycare or anything like that. We wanted to bring your lola or grandma here but we were not in a financial position to sponsor them, so your dad and I decided that I would put aside my career so that one of us could always be at home with you. I even had to hide the fact of my profession to apply for night jobs - at the Bank of Montreal, Post Office, etc., just to make ends meet. (laughs) On my resume I would put 'Dietary Aid,' and not 'the boss' which had always been the case!  
Alberta oil field, 1981
"Five years later, the bills were piling up and I started to think, 'Who will hire me at 40?' And that's when I saw an ad for a high-paying position, but it was in High Prairie, Alberta! I told them my husband was a heavy duty mechanic, and they found a job opening for him at Red Deere. And that's how we came to move from Mississauga to High Prairie."

My mom, the career-oriented, school-board-chairing, weekend-consulting superwoman, had 'put aside' her career in her 30's to stay at home with her kids! I had no idea. And I am proud to report that she resumed her long and successful career track as an RDN, and retired 5 years ago still in high demand as an instructor and dietitian consultant. She has traveled around the world and is regularly described by her family, friends and community as "an inspiration" and "a force." 

I was able to re-post this lost blog entry thanks to my mom copying it to HER blog! 

Huangdong China, 2011

Bermuda 2008

What she taught me: "Attitude is everything."

"Do what you love, and love what you do."


  1. This is a lovely tribute to your Mom she must be so proud of you Melissa! I'm so happy you found this to repost.

  2. Thanks for the lovely tribute Melissa. Looking forward to spending Mothers`Day weekend with you and Melanie.
    Proud Mom.