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Maximum Mom Award for 2011 presented to Kjersti Aagaard, M.D.

Kjersti AagaardKjersti Aagaard, M.D. Ph.D. is the recipient of the 2011 Maximum Mom Award. She was chosen not only for being an extraordinary mother but also a role model with a strong moral character. She was nominated for the recognition by some of the nurses and her students at Baylor College of Medicine.

The Maximum Mom Award was presented to Dr. Aagaard at Housto Woman Magazine’s Fifth Annual Nominate HER Awards Luncheon, held May 24 at the La Colombe d’Or Mansion. 

Dr. Aagaard has not only been a single mother and sole supporter of her own three children for almost 10 years, but as a professor at Baylor College of Medicine, she mentors her medical students, and as a physician, she treats expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies. 

Dr. Aagaard earned her bachelor’s degree from the all-women’s Mills College in California and attained a Ph.D. in immunology from the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine in Minnesota. After medical school, she completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Minnesota. She then earned a master’s degree in clinical investigation at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. There, she was a Fellow in maternal-fetal medicine. 

It would be an understatement to say her days are full. Organization and teamwork are two key concepts that help her stay on track, but she also gives a thankful nod to helpful household inventions. 

“I always buy triple-roll toilet tissue, because apparently, it takes three advanced degrees to be able to change a roll of toilet paper in my house,” she said, laughing. “A crock pot. You know, it’s just not for the 1950s. It’s actually a great way to avoid eating out and feed your family something healthy. 

“Otherwise, it’s just about being dedicated to your profession and your children and just trying to weigh it out,” she said. “Living less than a block from school is a boon, she admits, and having support from other mothers in the neighborhood is also important. 

“It really does take a village to raise your children well,” Dr. Aagaard said. “You have to embrace that and say, ‘I am one of those moms who has things outside the home that take a lot of my time and energy.’ That is who I am, and it also helps make the world the kind of place I want it to be for my children.”

Does she have advice for other moms?

“The thing I’d say to other moms — whether they’re working outside the home or not — is to accept help and ask for help. You’re not going to be able to do everything and be everything to your children, so get other people to help you out along the way,” she said.

An early riser since her days rowing crew in school, Dr. Aagaard says she is accustomed to being up at 5:00 a.m. Her workday usually starts at 6:30 a.m., visiting patients in the maternity ward at Ben Taub Hospital, followed by her research in the field of maternal-fetal medicine. By 7:30 p.m., she’s able to get back home to her children who take turns planning and preparing the evening meal.
“Togetherness” means that the four of them take a walk together or engage in other sports. Most recently, Mother’s Day was spent at her son’s baseball practice, where moms were encouraged to play, while her 17-year-old daughter stayed home and cooked a great dinner. 

Even with so much on her plate, Dr. Aagaard understands the key to living a balanced and satisfying life. 
She said, “The theme in our house is to live life with passion, work hard, play hard, and give more than you receive. So far, it has worked very well.”

Seeing their mother’s example, all three of Dr. Aagaard’s children have said they aspire to medical careers. Her older daughter, headed to Peru this summer for a service program with her church, hopes to be a pediatrician. Her 13-year-old son says he wants to be a surgeon, and her 10-year-old daughter has voiced an interest in veterinary medicine. 

“One of the nice things about being in an academic position where we’re responsible for mentoring medical students, residents and Fellows, is that I use all of those inherent tendencies –– the things we need to do and learn as moms –– and the two roles feed into each other very, very well,” Dr. Aagaard said.

“As my kids have gotten older, I’ve had to learn that I’ve become more of a ‘lifestyle consultant’ to them,” she said. “You really do step into more of a mentorship than a caretaker role. It’s really great to get to be their friend and mentor in life, more than just making sure they remember to take a shower.”

She added, “I can’t wait to see what kind of citizens of the world they’re going to grow up to be.”

2011 HER Award Sponsors

Houston Woman Magazine extends its sincerest appreciation to these sponsors of the Fifth Annual Nominate Her Awards Program:

Susan Boggio
Fashion Design Department of Houston Community College
Houston Community College
Marnoble Computer Sales & Service 
Metromarketing, Inc.
Shea Writing & Training Solutions
The Vicki Milazzo Institute
Unity Church of North Houston
Wright Pawn & Jewelry Co.

Thanks also to these Friends of the 2011 Nominate HER Awards Program for their support and generous contributions.

Theresa Behenna
Barfield Photography
Flowers by Nino
Minuteman Press Post Oak
The Perfect Touch Linens

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