Once a month we interview moms in our “How Does She Do It?” feature. If you are interested in participating please reach out on
Are you an Urban or Suburban Mama, where do you live?
Abbotsford, we live on Sumas Mountain on some acreage. I grew up in rural Pennsylvania and it is a perfect mix of rural feel, but still only being 10 minutes away from work and activities. I met my husband in dental school and he grew up in Abbotsford. He moved back after dental school in 2009 and bought our house. I moved after I completed an orthodontic residency program. I have been here for over 7 years now, which has gone by so fast!
Tell us about your children?
I have three girls: Raya (5), Della (2), Lenna (17 months). We struggled having our second child, and went through a year of various fertility treatments. We ended up being blessed during our third round of IVF with Della. The fertility treatments were difficult and not something I wanted to repeat in the future, so we assumed our family was set as a family of four. You can imagine our surprise when we found out I was pregnant (naturally) with Lenna when Della was only 5 months old!
Tell us about your typical weekday?
I am an orthodontist and own a practice in town called Abbotsford Orthodontics, with my partner, Dr. Peter Dueckman. My husband is a general dentist in town, and has his own practice as well, Tsang Family Dentistry. I feel like my week is crazy at times, but I love it! I usually work three days a week in the clinic seeing patients. Then there is usually one day that is spent at a meeting for the various positions I hold in organized dentistry and orthodontics. I am a passionate supporter of getting more females and younger members involved in volunteer leadership. Orthodontics is currently only 30% women, but residency classes are graduating 50% females, so the demographics of my profession are changing rapidly and I want leadership to be reflective of that to ensure that women have a voice regarding our profession. I travel a lot (usually about 6-10 times a year) for these positions, which can be a lot of fun and also challenging with managing things at home. I also teach once a month at UBC in the graduate orthodontic clinic. On my “day off” I love spending time with my girls and watching them grow up before my eyes!
Do you have help?
Absolutely! I think as women, we often place too much pressure on ourselves to be able to “do it all.” It took me too long to realize that I needed help and that it was okay to have it. I absolutely love my job and I love doing volunteer work within my profession. I also enjoy spending time with my husband and getting together with girlfriends while traveling. There was no way that I could balance all of that plus kids and run a household. We have a full time nanny, who is AMAZING. I would be lost without her, and while I used to fear that my kids would prefer someone over me; I have come to realize that having more people in my children’s lives, who love and support them is a truly wonderful thing. I adore that they get excited every morning when she arrives, and will run to the door to greet her. I feel blessed to have someone that we can trust to take care of them while we are at work. We also have amazing in-laws who are in town and ready to help out when needed, and some great babysitters for date nights or evenings when we are stuck in meetings or working late with patients. We also have a fantastic house cleaner who comes once a week to make our house look beautiful (even if it only lasts for a few hours!). I am a better mother and partner when I am less stressed and having help ensures that we can do the things we love with our children during the time we have. I also struggled with post partum with my kids, and I found through going to counseling after my oldest was born, that lack of sleep was a huge trigger for me. Since, as a business owner, and a doctor with patients to see, I don’t get maternity leave. I was back at work to my normal schedule by 6 weeks with all three of my girls. With my third daughter, she came early and my partner was away on vacation. I had Lenna on Friday morning and ended up working the whole next week until my partner returned, and then I got my 6 weeks off. I only mention this, because I don’t feel enough people realize that women business owners are not always afforded the same leave benefits, but I hope that we can be supportive of women in business, and understand that they may need some extra time away, or shorter working (or opening) hours in order to heal and bond with their children. Since Lenna and Della are only 14 months apart, we had a wonderful local mom come in at night to help care for Lenna while I was attempting to pump (which never lasted long for me unfortunately). She would stay in an extra room in our basement from around 10-6, so that I could get some sleep the nights before I was working to make sure I was able to focus on my patients for the day, and help keep post partum at bay. Over their time together, Lenna bonded with her so much, and now she sill goes for visits at their house and has like this whole other group of “siblings” who love to take care of her.
Who cooks dinner?
I am an absolutely terrible cook. I will try if I have to, but my husband does more cooking. Our nanny or babysitter will also help prep things for dinner if they are there at that time too.
How often do you buy something just for you?
Once a month – whether it’s a piece of clothing, or just a treat getting my nails done. I try to take a little “me” time every now and then!
Do you exercise regularly and if so, what and how do you fit it in?
I wish. I was a Division 1 swimmer in college in the states (I am from Pennsylvania), and when I first moved to Abbotsford I continued swimming with a masters program and even competed one season. But once I got pregnant with my second child, I haven’t been able to get back into it regularly. I think the competitiveness in me craves to get back to it a bit more hard-core than my schedule would allow at this point. We do have a little shed that we converted to a mini-gym, so I really have no excuse other than that I am too lazy and usually too tired haha. I do have swimming at a masters worlds championship meet on my bucket list, however!
What clothing lines or stores do you like to buy for your children?
I love matching the girls, because I know I will only be able to do it for so long before they don’t let me anymore! Old Navy has some great family matching lines that are fun, as well as Osh Kosh. But I buy a lot of clothes used, from consignment or from friends too. Kids go through clothes so quickly, that it seems so pointless to be buying new stuff for them all the time. Otherwise, I love Zuilly for a finding a good deal. Plus my mom is always buying them outfits!
I’m totally obsessed with…
Rothy shoes. Seriously the most comfortable shoes ever! And they are made of recycled water bottles to boot. I wear a size 10.5 so finding shoes in that size can be hard, especially comfortable ones. And teeth, clearly I love teeth. I love being able to transform a person’s smile. From our youngest patients, to my oldest, it is so rewarding to see someone’s face light up when they get to see their new smile!
Three things in my purse right now are…
I don’t carry a purse, I just have a big workbag which is usually a mess, but always has my laptop (Lenovo), my massive Kate Spade wallet because I keep way too much stuff in it, and some Lipsense (the only lipstick that won’t come off with wearing a mask all day long) in it.
My favourite drugstore buy is…
Dry shampoo, for those morning when I just can’t be bothered to wash, dry, and style my hair (which happens more than I would care to admit). I like the Batiste brunette version best.
My guilty pleasure is…
Binging Netflix shows, which makes me stay up too late some nights.
Thank you to Trista for taking the time out of her day to let us know “How Does She Do It.’