Dr. Yolunda Taylor overflows with joy and enthusiasm, probably because she has one of the greatest jobs: bringing babies into the world. She greets every day as a new adventure to share with her favorite people: her husband and three daughters. Her vivacity spreads to everyone she meets, and she is proud to be the social engineer who makes the plans to get her friends and family together. Dr. Taylor acknowledges her busy life can get crazy, but her dedication to being present makes every moment worth it.
How did you meet your husband?
Y: Medical school. I graduated from LSU, and then I went to med school in D.C. He was the guy that looked 100 percent college preppy. He’s an awesome guy.
Tell me about your children.
Y: Caroline is pre-med at Tulane, looks exactly like my husband but she is me on the inside. Very confident, social, bright, and has so many of my characteristics. Camille has my husband’s personality. She is very introspective, exceptionally smart, and is athletic. She plays soccer and lacrosse. She has Type 1 diabetes which has changed the dynamics of our family. Cecile is the spitfire of the family, who knows what she wants. She is very persistent and loves soccer and singing. All three play classical piano better than their mother.
Three things you always have with you?
Y: Cell phone, raincoat, and something to read.
Three words to describe yourself?
Y: Outgoing, caring, inquisitive.
First thing you notice about people when you meet them?
Y: Their smile and whether it reaches their eyes.
Most recent proud parenting moment?
Y: My daughter was really nervous about Science Fair at St. Joseph’s. She had to present, and she got first place in her division. She knocked it out of the park.
Last mom fail?
Y: I was on call all night and I worked all day the next day, and when I got home, it was dinner and homework time. My second daughter and I were having a conversation, and I fell asleep. I felt terrible, but she finally forgave me.
How do you keep it all balanced?
Y: It’s really sheer will. We have wonderful parents that are there for us at all times. I have the best nanny that anyone could ever have. We are able to have what feels like a normal family life. And we have understanding children.
If you could invite anyone over for dinner, who would you invite?
Y: Michelle Obama because she’s a girl mom like me, had a very successful career, and then became the First Lady. I would make her gumbo and ask her how she did it.
What’s something parents shouldn’t feel guilty about?
Y: Strong discipline. It’s our job to raise good people. We have to start early. It’s difficult sometimes to be that strong person for your child. A lot of times it doesn’t make them happy, but you know that in the end, they will be grateful. It’s important we try to hold the line.
What good habit do you have that you would like to pass on to the kids?
Y: Listening and trying to be present. I also want them to talk to their parents and siblings every day when they’re not living under the same roof. They are each other’s best friends.
Hardest thing about being a mom?
Y: Treating each child as an individual. Our children are so different. I had to learn to approach each daughter and discipline and encourage each in their own special way.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
Y: That I was a country girl raised on a farm and even showed cattle.
How did you react when you found out you were going to be a mom?
Y: Absolute anxiety. I was an OBGYN resident, and Jonathan was a surgery resident. I was immediately nervous about how we were going to bring a new life into our already busy and crazy lives. We had to do a lot of planning beforehand.
What do you like to do as a family?
Y: We like to travel. We like to go to California, ski in the winter, go to Europe in the summer, but we are also fine going down to New Orleans for the weekend.
What’s your parenting style?
Y: I hover. I want to know everything. All the time. I believe in close supervision. I don’t want to smother them, but I want to be close. I talk a lot. I ask a lot. I listen.
What’s one thing your kids have taught you?
Y: They have taught me that everything’s going to be okay. I worry a lot, but they don’t fret like I do. They keep me grounded.
What’s your favorite time of day?
Y: Probably early morning before the kids wake up because that’s my meditation time. It’s a time for me to center and get ready for my day.
What does your job as an OBGYN mean to you?
Y: I absolutely love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else than delivering babies and taking care of my patients. It’s an honor to take care of the women of Baton Rouge. I love it. I decided when I was in medical school. After I delivered my first baby during my residency, I knew.
Are there any aspects of your job that you employ in parenting?
Y: Probably listening. The more you know, the better you are able to assess and navigate.
What do you want young girls who want to go into medicine to know?
Y: That they can do it. They’ll be able to strike a good work/life balance, but they have to have a passion. They will have to work hard and be diligent. But they will also have to remember that people will be counting on them to be a smart and compassionate doctor.
What do you draw upon to maintain your contagious enthusiasm and energy?
Y: Mainly, I draw upon my faith, family, and friends. I’m passionate about what I do. It makes me happy. My family, my husband and daughters, makes me happy and I’m so grateful for them every day. They truly keep me going. ■
Before kids, I never thought I would… have three girls. Dresses, bows, and sassiness have been my life.
In my fridge, you will always find… fruit, especially pomegranates.
Favorite movie growing up… Rocky. All of them.
My guilty pleasures are… brownies and chips. Together or separate.
Favorite children's book… Dr. Seuss books.
Growing up, I knew I wanted to… have a husband and family and a health-related career.
I can’t stop listening to… Aaron Neville.
I like my coffee… extra hot and creamy, no sugar.