Welcome to the Beltway

Washingtonian.com’s new parenting blogger knows parenting is work—but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun

I have two girls, ages two and five. After 13 years of public-affairs work in DC, with a brief break for graduate school in Chicago, I was lucky enough to have the choice to take my career in a different direction in the spring of 2009. I don’t know anyone with kids who doesn’t work long, difficult hours, even if he or she isn’t earning a salary, and I’m one of them. I freelance from home, I go to music classes, I co-op in my daughter’s preschool, and I write.

Along the way, I’ve learned that parenting in Washington is unique—grocery stores are overcrowded, preschools fill up quickly, and traffic is abysmal. But the zoo and museums are free, the area is diverse, and there are ample kid-related activities on any given day or weekend. After five years of blogging, I’m here to share my tales of parenting hurdles and to give you ideas on what to do over the weekend.

I believe the following things about being a parent: Mommy guilt is stupid, and you can just do your best. If you think it won’t happen to you, it will and probably worse than you think. My Past Self had very clear ideas of parenthood, and my Current Self is constantly disappointing my Past Self, which I’ve come to terms with. Two- and three-year-olds are our punishment for our past wrongs. Jennifer Garner and Gwen Stefani are my favorite celebrity moms. (Katie Holmes is my least favorite.) My favorite superhero is Hit-Girl. And there’s no such thing as balance—but sometimes adequate parenting is enough, and fun is mandatory.

We all have busy, hectic lives. If I go on a great outing, I’ll be sure to tell you about it, along with comments on the crowd, food, parking, and anything else that strikes me. If you hear about cool activities, store openings, or great new restaurants, or you spot a celebrity around town or have anything else to say, e-mail me at msakala@washingtonian.com. And please, comment away on the posts: I don’t only love dishing out my opinions—I want to hear yours, too.

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