Inspiring Mom Spotlight- Dr. Anu McDonald

We are kicking off our Inspiring Mom Spotlight Series with Dr. Anu McDonald, who shares her sage advice on parenting with The Book readers. A well-known pediatrician in The Woodlands, Dr. McDonald is beloved for her caring and patient nature and has a consistent fan base of both moms and children.

1. What has been your most challenging part of motherhood?
The most challenging part of motherhood for me was when our boys were really young. My husband left his job as a software developer and started medical school at the age of 34. At that time our son was 2, and I was pregnant with our second child and working at Texas Children’s Hospital. While my husband was in medical school I also battled breast cancer. So, we had plenty of challenges during those years!

2. What inspires you as a mom?
The challenge and privilege that my husband and I have in raising our boys to become men of character is what has inspired me and changed me as a person. Raising kids forces us to look at both our strengths and our weaknesses as human beings. Motherhood has taught me about vulnerability, courage, and the need to rely on God to get through difficult times.

3. How do you find time for yourself/spouse/children?
There are seasons of motherhood when it is really hard to find a “balance.” Finding time to eat right and exercise was not always easy, but I did what I could. My kids were fortunate to have grandparents help out a lot throughout their c

hildhood.

4. What are your favorite things/places to spend time with your children in our community?
When our boys were young, we spent a lot of time biking, playing in the parks and swimming in The Woodlands pools. They also played a lot of baseball and golf growing up.

5. What advice would you give new moms?
Hang in there! The days are long; the years are short. Put the phone away and spend face time with your littles. Become your kid’s student. Study your children with intention and appreciate their uniqueness.
Don’t compete with other moms. You don’t have to be a perfect mom to be a good mom.

Dr. Anu McDonald is a pediatrician at Texas Children’s Pediatrics in Sterling Ridge. She went to medical school at Baylor College of Medicine and did her pediatric residency at the Children’s Hospitals in Cincinnati and Austin. She has been a pediatrician for 25 years. Dr. McDonald is passionate about treating “the whole patient.” She has given several talks in the community on the challenges faced in raising kids in affluent areas such as The Woodlands. She lives in The Woodlands with her husband Ryan McDonald who is a neurologist with Mischer Neuroscience Associates. Their sons David and Christopher are 20 and 18, respectively.

 

One Lucky Mom

When I was asked to write about my career and life as a “working mom”, I realized it would be the first time I had ever really reflected on the past 14 years working as a dentist, and the past 11 years being a mom!

I was raised by a working mom who had a career in nursing for over 25 years. Being married to a pilot, she also had to balance taking care of my brother and me while working full time. She was the perfect example of a mom who dedicated so much of her time helping children as a nurse while also being an attentive and present mom. I know I fall WAY short of balancing life the way she did, but I am so grateful to have her to lean on when I have struggled with the balance.

People ask me all the time why I chose to be a dentist, and for me, I was fortunate to know dentistry was the career path I wanted to pursue as I entered Texas A&M. Always excelled at science, dentistry seemed to combine both science and art, by improving one’s smile. It also wasn’t a coincidence that I chose a career where you could work part time or full time quite easily. I knew at some point I wanted to have a family, but I also never envisioned myself not having a career.

Following graduation from dental school, I was an associate dentist for many years. I was blessed to get to work in two different offices for two amazing women who also had established successful practices while both raising children. Dr. Huet and Dr. Andersen were amazing mentors to me in the first few years out of school, and they still are! This was also when my husband Victor and I started our family. Working with other dentists for over 8 years allowed me the flexibility to spend more quality time with my kids without the added pressures of running a business as well as managing a large team. It is definitely a choice I don’t regret.

Working all day, coming home to two small kids, finally getting them to sleep, and only seeming to have 5 quiet minutes before bed was definitely an adventure! Looking back on those years, I do sometimes wonder how I balanced it all! I know it was a team effort.

Even in the past few years, I have made a conscious effort to better prioritize my obligations at work. I am blessed to have a husband who is off the Richter scale, in my opinion, for being a strong support for me. Since Victor is able to help manage our business, it allows me the flexibility now to only work 3 days a week and gain more quality time with our kids.

Sometimes in life, God throws you curveballs and you are given opportunities to really reflect on your choices and re-calibrate your priorities to make those hard decisions. For me, that came about through the tragedy of losing our best friend, Dr. Vance LeCrone, almost 4 years ago from a sudden heart attack. Vance lived here in The Woodlands and had established a very successful orthodontic practice through the years. We often would meet together after work with our families over a margarita and compare work stresses of managing our patients or office that day. After his passing, I know many of our friends’ reflected on their work/life balance. It was a tragic reminder that LIFE IS SHORT, and our loved ones could be gone in a moment.

Living in a successful community, it can be easy to get caught up trying to excel in your career. I can promise you Vance would not wish he had done a few more orthodontic cases, but he would value every moment he had with his wife and kids – that is something I reflect on often.

I know I do not have it all figured out and probably never will! However, I do have an encouraging family, best friends who stand by me, and a career I truly love – I would say I am one lucky mom.

Dr. Carrie Muzny DDS, FAGD, graduated from Texas A&M University with a degree in Biology and received her DDS degree from the University of Texas- Houston Dental School in 2004. Dr. Muzny has a passion for learning and was awarded the Fellowship in the Academy of General Dentistry (FAGD), recognizing her dedication to completing over 500 hours of extensive continuing education courses. She is the owner of Carrie Muzny DDS & Associates located in the center of Market Street, where they focus on advanced dental techniques and comprehensive dental care for the whole family. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband and two children.