Known by her online persona Dr. Mom, a University of Alberta doctor is entering her third year of blogging about parenting, children, and women’s wellness.
Dr. Stephanie Liu, or Dr. Mom as she’s known online, is a U of A alumnus, clinical lecturer, and a doctor of community family medicine and acute care at the U of A Hospital. She runs two websites, Life of Dr. Mom and By Dr. Mom. Her blogs aim to provide accurate and up-to-date information on topics including overall family wellness, child wellness, women’s wellness, and other parenting-related topics such as raising your children in a bilingual household. She also sells products for children and families, including rompers and kid’s books about COVID-19.
According to Dr. Liu, her main goal is to use her own experiences and knowledge to help other families thrive.
“I think that mothers and fathers want to do the best they can for their kids, and I think that sometimes when they are struggling, it’s really hard to be able to look after others if you’re struggling yourself,” she said.
Dr. Liu said she is a firm believer that one must take care of themselves in order to take care of others, which is why her blog actively promotes women’s self-care.
“It’s hard because I really love being a family doctor, working with medical students, [and] doing the blog, but all of that takes time away from the kids,” she said. “I don’t want to give up those aspects of myself, but I sometimes do feel torn.”
Dr. Liu has struggled with what she calls “mom guilt” when she has to leave for work or stay late, a feeling she believes other mothers employed outside of their home can relate to. She said talking to her mother and taking time for herself have both helped combat this feeling.
“I used to go for massage therapy,” she said. “I [also] really enjoy working out. I find that when I make time twice a week, I’m a lot happier, and when things are kinda crazy with the kids I can laugh it off instead of getting easily angered. I think that’s better for all parties involved.”
To continue with her goal of helping other parents, Dr. Liu started selling products inspired by her own experiences as a mom. Her children’s distaste for long sleeves that stick during hand-washing motivated her to make and sell rompers with shorter sleeves to make hand-washing more comfortable.
Additionally, she wrote her books Georgie Shark and COVID-19 and Madi Monkey Learns the Body because of her own children’s curiosity concerning these topics, hoping to help other parents educate their children as well.
“My daughter loves anatomy, she likes learning,” Dr. Liu said. “She would ask me ‘what’s the purpose of feet? What’s the purpose of hands? Why do I have eyes?’ So I decided to write a book for her that explains basic anatomy.”
Despite all of her accomplishments, Dr. Liu has unfortunately experienced racism online and in person, which has at times impacted her motivation to keep up her websites. However, Liu emphasized that these comments are not worth stressing about.
“I need to have confidence in myself and know that that person is speaking angrily and hurtfully and not based on anything I did, but because of something going on in his or her life,” Dr. Liu said.
Growing up in a bilingual household, Dr. Liu takes pride in speaking Cantonese with her children, and encourages others to do the same.
“I think it’s great to be able to share your culture with your kids. That’s what I hope to do with my kids,” Dr. Liu said.
Liu feels lucky to be both employed outside of her home, while also being able to spend quality time with her family, which is one of the main things she hopes to help other parents balance as well.
“I feel really lucky to have a job that I really like, that stimulates me, [and] where I’m learning on the daily. That’s definitely medicine,” she said. “One of the cool things about it is that it’s impossible to know it all. Every day is a little bit different, and I think that’s really exciting.
“[Also,] I love that when I go home and get to be with my kids, that part of my brain turns off and I get to just be a mom [by] being goofy, watching movies, having snacks.”