Parenting can be challenging (to say the least!) and often leaves the childless adult population wondering, how do you do it? The truth is, every mom’s got a secret (or seven) up her sleeve.
Now we want to know: What’s your favorite North County mom’s secret? Is it a store that allows for some family-friendly mommy time? A special restaurant? Or maybe a local kids’ program?
Check out hot spots for our local Moms Council here, then join the conversation yourself. (Just remember to follow the rules—foul language, name-calling and personal attacks are not tolerated and inappropriate comments will be deleted.)
Jennifer Zeglen: The Encinitas Library is one of my "secret" family spots. Of course it is fun to pick out and read new books, but even better are their family programs. From the morning story times to the afternoon yoga and arts and crafts, there are so many things to do. Plus you can't beat the ocean view from the outdoor patio. You can even find some great deals in the used book store.
I also love Sunday dinner at Souplantation. This is a weekly tradition for my family. The kids snack all day and we go for an early dinner. I have no dinner prep or cleanup, so I can focus my Sunday night on getting organized for the week ahead. I like Souplantation because everyone can get what they want and have healthier choices. It is a great way to get the kids to try new vegetable combinations. We even meet extended family there for a weekly catch-up.
Genevieve Suzuki: When 2-year-old Quinn is by my side, I usually gravitate toward bookstores, such as Barnes & Noble Booksellers. I know I'll be happy browsing in the children's section with her as she finds books that pique her curiosity. I especially like that there are little spots for us to sit and read. It helps that the store is located next to a Starbucks so I can pick up some chai for the ride home.
Another place I just found is , a haven for moms who need a break and kids who crave activity. Owned and run by creativity-inspiring teachers, The Cove is a great find for any parent who’s stuck for something to do with their little one. Even better, if your child is potty-trained—mine isn’t yet—you can utilize the childcare option to score yourself an hour’s worth of me-time.
Anastacia Grenda: Indoors, it's the Rancho Santa Fe library. The children's room is always fully stocked with books, it has computer games for little ones and it's cozy and charming—especially on a rainy day.
Outdoors, my kids love to visit the San Elijo Nature Center. They say hi to the snake, lizards and frogs housed in the center, listen to bird calls on the computer and run out to the trail. Every time we go, they notice something different, whether it's a bird skimming on the channel water or a new plant blossoming.
When it comes to food, we usually go to Wahoo's Fish Tacos for something fast; special occasions for the kids are celebrated on Tuesdays at Ruby's, when they can eat for free.
Meet our moms:
Genevieve Suzuki has one 2-year-old daughter. In addition to having her own law practice, she writes feature stories for Encinitas Patch. She is also the author of "The Original Poi Cats on O'ahu," a children's book published in Hawaii.
Anastacia Grenda is mom to a 7-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter who never fail to make her laugh every day. She is a longtime writer and editor.
Jennifer Zeglen is a mom to two imaginative girls, ages 4 and 6. She is also a local naturopathic doctor with a family medicine practice.
Do you have a question for our Moms Council? E-mail them to editor Jennifer.Reed@patch.com.