In 2003, Amy Storch was working as a managing editor for a financial-newsletter publishing company. “It was every bit as exciting as it sounds,” she says. Looking for a creative outlet—one in which she could be “funny, foul-mouthed, and not such a stickler for proper comma usage”—Storch decided to make her blogging debut. Using a nickname a coworker had given her, Amalah (pronounced Aim-uh-lah) was born.
When she started the blog, Storch was a married, child-free, 25-year-old DC resident. Six years later, she’s a suburban stay-at-home mom with two boys, Noah and Ezra. Her blog content has changed along with her life: While she once compared herself to a carefree, perfectly coiffed Carrie Bradshaw, now she takes a page from Erma Bombeck, the late suburban-housewife humorist. Storch’s near-daily posts run the gamut from hilarious tales of laptop meltdowns to cheek-pinchingly-cute baby pictures to bittersweet anecdotes about coping with ailing parents and raising a special-needs child.
Perhaps not surprisingly, most of Storch’s readers are women, though she says men will occasionally cop to perusing her pages. Among her female demographic, Storch says about half are moms: “I guess they read either to get their baby-photo fix or as a reminder to take their birth control.” Amalah.com sees about 250,000 visitors a month.
In addition to her own blog, Storch pens parenting columns on Alphamom.com and Mamapop.com. Last year, she contributed to Sleep Is for the Weak, an award-winning anthology of essays by mommy bloggers.
We caught up with this busy mom recently to dish about parenting in Washington. We found out how she’s enjoying suburban life (hint: not so much), what she might have named a daughter, and where she goes for an adults-only night out. Read on for her answers.
Number of kids you imagined yourself having before you had kids:
“None! And then . . . maybe one. But the first one turned out so cute, we decided to have two.”
Number of kids you think you’ll have after having two:
“We talk a good talk about being done but have taken absolutely no steps to make sure of that. I think I could probably be talked into one more in a few years, once the majority of people in the house can wipe their own butts.”
Name you’d give a girl if you had one:
“When I was pregnant, we settled quickly and easily on Evie (Evelyn) for a girl, which is how I knew we were definitely having another boy.”
How you arrived at the names Noah and Ezra:
“Noah was pretty much the only boy name we agreed on at all. And we settled on it about two days before he was born in the parking lot of Home Depot in a fit of misplaced panic over a kitchen renovation gone awry. I didn’t have countertops or a working sink, but by God, I was going to have a name for my baby. When Noah was born in September 2005, the name had barely cracked the top 50 on the popular-baby-names list for that year. Then the new list came out in 2006, and Noah was in the top 10. The name Ezra was number 342 last year, but I don’t see it rocketing up the charts quite as quickly, especially because people seem to think we either made it up or gave him a girl’s name. It’s actually a book of the Old Testament, and there’s the poet Ezra Pound, and the children’s-book author/artist, Ezra Jack Keats, so it appeals to the English-major geek in me.”
Best thing about being a mom in Washington:
“As cities go, DC is a really child-friendly place. There’s always a free or low-cost activity going on somewhere, and all the wine bars have high chairs.”
Best and worst things about being a mom to two boys:
“The best thing: I get to be the only princess in the house. I’m not sure I could handle someone wanting to play dress-up with all my tiaras and ball gowns. (Actually, I’m way more comfortable with trains and robots and dinosaurs than I am with floofy pink tutus and stuff, anyway.) The worst thing: Oh, my God, there’s just so many penises to deal with. You get peed on constantly.”
Your thoughts on suburban living:
“It’s great except that I sort of suck at it. We’d like to downsize and get back to an area where we can walk to things and not have to mow a lawn.”
Most sanity-saving toy at your house:
“Would it be wrong to say our DVD player? Yes? A little? Okay then, let’s say the Fisher-Price Jumperoo.”
Toy you wish you could return:
“Any of the three or four or five stupid swings that we bought for Ezra, because hey—Noah loved his swing! I’m sure the new baby will love swings, too! Let’s get one for every room in our house! But here’s the reality: Ezra + swings = HATE.”
Favorite outdoor activity:
“We go to at least one farmers market every weekend (Dupont, Arlington, Takoma Park, etc.). The boys love all the people and free food samples, and I love taking a huge chunk out of our grocery list at one time.”
Favorite rainy-day activity:
“The National Building Museum or a puppet show at Glen Echo Park. Or we stay home and build elaborate train tracks all over the house or do a puzzle. We’re kind of lame.”
Three can’t-miss things to do for free with kids in Washington:
“Clemyjontri Park in McLean, the interactive fountains at Rockville Town Center, and of course the National Zoo. The zoo will make you hate life temporarily, appreciate your house and sitting down more than ever, and give you tons of stuff to complain about on your blog. Plus, the animals are always doing it.”
Best one-day, kid-friendly destination:
“We go to a lot of open houses at local farms, and we’ve also been known to pack up the kids and a picnic lunch and some soccer balls and spend the day at Virginia vineyards. We’re also members of the Baltimore Aquarium. The Inner Harbor is awfully touristy, but it turns out that three-year-olds just love that touristy crap. Boats! Fish! Dolphins! Chipotle! OMG!”
Best restaurant for a night out with the kids:
“2 Amys, hands down. Though we also take them to Dino, Ray’s the Steaks, Mia’s Pizzas, BlackSalt, Amici Mei, Faryab, Brasserie Beck . . . Our kids have probably eaten at a good 50 of the restaurants on The Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants List, and we drill ‘restaurant manners’ in from birth. Although we’ll also go pretty much any place that serves a grilled cheese sandwich.”
Where you go for an adults-only date:
“Komi for a special occasion. Or Etete followed by the Gibson. Or the bar at 2 Amys followed by Enology. Or Poste followed by Proof. Basically, our babysitter has nicer shoes and handbags than I do.”
Best way to unwind at the end of the day:
“Closing the laptop, opening up some wine, settling down for another thrilling reading of Make Way for Ducklings.”
Favorite local blog besides your own:
“My husband is the founder and editor of DCFoodies.com, a blog all about the local dining, wine, and food-market scene, which will probably surprise absolutely no one who has read this far.”
Next week in the Blogger Beat, we talk with the husband-and-wife duo behind District, Schmistrict. We ask all kinds of coupley questions—what it’s like to blog together, where they go for a date night, and where they go to impress the in-laws—and we find out how these Iowans get their Midwest fix in Washington. Check back next week for the interview!