Mona Gohara, MD
Dr. Gohara is a mom of five- and three-year-old sons, a dermatologist in private practice, an assistant clinical professor in the department of dermatology at Yale University, and co-founder of K&J Sunprotective Clothing, in Danbury, CT.
What’s your favorite parenting tip? Getting on a schedule is so helpful for kids so they know what to expect. For our family, when I went back to work, we had to be on a schedule. The nanny arrived at a certain time each day, and then my husband and I came home at a certain time. Having a set routine made life so much easier.
What has surprised you most about parenting? After your baby is born, your priorities shift. Suddenly, your foremost priority is your baby’s health and happiness. Everything else comes second.
How do you get your kids to eat healthy food? It’s important to expose children to a variety of healthy food, especially Eastern foods. People in those countries have healthier diets overall than we do because their baseline diets are healthier. For example, my family loves chickpeas.
Another favorite is dahl, which are lentils that come in many different types and are a great source of protein and fiber. When my sons were babies, I’d mix dahl and rice and mash them together for a tasty, delicious treat.
We also enjoy pita bread and naan. Dosa is a South Indian dish similar to crepes, which are made from flour and water. We stuff them with spiced potatoes or lentils and cut them into fours. They’re great for kids to pick up and eat. You can buy dosa batter at any Indian store and make it yourself, like a pancake or a crepe.
How do you work exercise into your family’s life? We have a 100-pound dog named Jaya. She’s a big part of our family, and we take her for long walks, even in cold, rainy weather. We live in Connecticut, and if the weather is too bad, we stay in and do yoga or t’ai chi, something to get the blood moving.
How do you recharge your batteries? I commute 45-minutes each way to work. I use that time to reconnect with my girl friends from college and make sure that those relationships are fulfilled. I think it’s easy for your kids to become your focus, but you have to keep your other relationships healthy. It’s therapeutic to maintain those relationships that you’ve had for a long time.
Dr. Gohara’s Q&As