Mom Boss

Founder of Alexandria Children’s Dentistry, Dr. Angela Austin embraces the challenges of work and family balance, one day at a time.

“Relish” is the word psychologist Dr. Margaret Rutherford uses to describe the energized enjoyment we should have for each season of life, replete with its unique joys and challenges. Dr. Angela Austin, founder of Alexandria Children’s Dentistry and mother of two, appreciates these real life-tensions. In fact, the posture of relishing seems utterly intuitive to her, even as she juggles the extreme demands of motherhood and businesswoman extraordinaire.

Alexandria Woman Magazine (AWM) caught up with Dr. Angela to discover how she fulfills her calling as “mommy” as well as runs her successful dental practice, with two thriving locations in Landmark and Del Ray.

AWM: How do you reconcile your roles as mom and businesswoman?

Dr. Angela: I’m actually consistent when it comes to who I am: I’m all about fun, all day, every day. So, it’s perfect because as a pediatric dentist, you simply cannot be serious. Kids are exciting, curious, fun! With a 1 and 4-year-old at home, I keep the energy going. Of course, as a businesswoman I have to get serious every now and then, but even so, there’s always an element of fun.

AWM: If you had a chance to design a ‘bumper sticker’ that described you or what you believe, what would it say?

Dr. Angela: It would be, Smile! I’m a spiritual person, and joy is a huge part of my spirituality. I embody joy and gratefulness in everything I do. It’s no wonder I chose pediatric dentistry as my profession! There’s no greater feeling than seeing children, parents and my team smiling. One of my favorite songs is a Curtis Mayfield song called, “The Makings of You.” My favorite line is: “The joy of children laughing around you, these are the makings of you.”

AWM: Mentally and emotionally, how do you reboot when you feel you’ve fallen short?

Dr. Angela: I’ve recently started to give myself time to just stop. I’m naturally a “fixer” and so for a long time, I wouldn’t give myself time to reboot. If I fell short, I would immediately go into fix-it mode. I’m now in the 7th year of owning my business, and realize the importance of silence. Of being still. It’s learning to forgive myself for not being perfect. Allowing myself space to learn and go forward and to resist rushing this precious process.

AWM: Many would say that time is our biggest hurdle. How do you organize and prioritize your responsibilities?

Dr. Angela: I started my business with no kids. Besides work, my priorities were my dog and working out. Now, two practices, and two children later, I just try my best. Time is so unbelievably precious. With kids waiting, I know that my workday stops around 4:30-5pm every day instead of midnight. With work, I have learned to be okay with prioritizing. That everything doesn’t need my 100% attention at all times. Certain situations are urgent, while others can wait. All-in-all, everything will be just fine.

AWM: Can you share about a time you failed as mother and businesswoman and what you learned?

Dr. Angela: As a new mother, I tried to do everything while our daughter was awake. I would clean, send emails, manage the business, all while my daughter was tearing the whole house apart! I was so frustrated. My mom advised, “Give all your energy to her during the precious moments while she’s awake.” Ultimately, I learned it’s unfair to my family, my business, or myself to multi-task.

AWM: What do you hope you’re teaching your kids by being a successful businesswoman?

Dr. Angela: I love that my children see the beauty of hard work and success. Being able to bless people and spread goodness—not money—is what motivates me. I want them to see that being an awesome employer means you can give back to the community, whether through donations or time.

AWM: Who do you turn to for support on the home front? How important is it to delegate and/or ask for help?

Dr. Angela: When you have a Type-A personality, kids bring you right down to earth really fast! I knew I couldn’t do it on my own. First, my husband is an amazing father and he’s absolutely my backbone. He knows when I get overwhelmed and we are truly the best team. Together, we turn to family and my and my work team when we need help with our kids. It definitely takes a village!

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Dr. Angela’s top hacks for launching each day smoothly.

1. Evening prep is crucial, from laying everyone’s clothes out to getting the coffee prepared, I do everything the night before so my mind doesn’t have to work in the morning.

2. Spirituality. To get my mind and spirit connected to keep a positive outlook for the day, I pray and read my Bible every morning.

3. Meal-prep service. Not having to worry about meals has taken a huge burden off my shoulders.

4. Music is life-giving for our whole family. On the way to work I’m the one singing her heart out in the car like I’m performing at the Grammy’s!

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Dr. Angela’s team talks about how the sunshine she spreads in the office follows them home.

It’s one thing to be a businesswoman who deftly handles work/life tensions, but Dr. Angela takes it further. As a servant leader, she tirelessly inspires and supports her team, spreading optimism and a healthy mindset.

CHERELLE GREEN: Dr. Angela literally helped me plan my wedding. Stretched and stressed by work and family, planning a wedding left me completely overwhelmed. She swooped
in and assisted with wedding invitations and decorating the venue on the big day. I’m her lead dental assistant, yet she was generous and flexible with me, allowing as much time as
necessary to prepare. It meant the world to me.

MELISSA LOPEZ: I am inspired by Dr. Angela daily. She’s someone that I’ve grown to trust and admire. As a successful business woman, mother and wife, Dr. Angela makes it all look
so easy—she’s definitely a super woman.

MEGAN YOUNG: Last year my daughter was hospitalized on our final day of vacation in Florida. I immediately made Dr. Angela aware of the situation and without hesitation, she said no worries. She didn’t ask when I’d be back in town or show any kind of apprehension whatsoever about my absence. She was more worried about my daughter and her health.

SARA REGASSA: A few months after I started working for Dr. Angela, we had a family health issue. I was out for a week! While that may not seem long, it was during one of the busiest times in our industry, so my absence was tough on the office. But Dr. Angela, being kindhearted and understanding, was more concerned about the well-being of my family.

Schedule your kiddo’s dental appointment at Dr. Angela’s offices in Landmark or Del Ray by calling (571) 356-9843 or visit www.lovekidsteeth.com for more information.

Kathryn Streeter
I’m a full-time freelance writer, mother and wife. Highly mobile, I’ve moved 23 times in 26 years of marriage, living far-and-wide in places as diverse as Dubai, Germany and London. Thematically, my writing centers on home/family/pets, wellness/simplicity, travel/food/place. My work has appeared in publications including The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, Austin American-Statesman, Brain, Child Magazine, Literary Mama and Grown & Flown. A personal writing-highlight for me was when my creative nonfiction essay “Through The Sand: A Driving Lesson From Dubai” was a finalist in The Briar Cliff Review Creative Nonfiction Contest and published in Volume 26. I’m a contributing author of the anthology, “Feisty After 45: The Best Blogs From MidLife Women” and the collection, “Once Upon An Expat.” You can find them on Amazon.