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A Seattle author’s advice to new parents: ‘Nothing should stop you from going places that you love’

Angela Garbes became a mom in 2015, and as a food writer at The Stranger (and a producer-of-food for a tiny human), she had a lot of questions. Her first dive into the world of research around pregnancy and motherhood started with a fascinating article about breast milk.

That inspired her to write Like A Mother: A Feminist Journey Through the Science and Culture of Pregnancy, which seeks answers she couldn’t find in other baby books — covering everything from exploring placental research to interrogating why alcohol became equated with “maternal misbehavior.”

“My biggest hope for the book is that anyone who was born could pick up this book,” she told us. “Maternal health is not just about moms — it’s the foundation of everyone’s health, and there’s a lot to learn.”

What’s one piece of advice you’d give anyone who might have kids?

The truth is there’s one way that you’re going to parent and it’s your way. You are a complex person, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method.

Are there any local resources that helped you along the way?

As a person of color, I don’t necessarily feel spoken to by the overarching parenting culture. We wanted something that spoke specifically to our needs as a mixed-race family, so we did a newborn support group through Families of Color Seattle.

We wanted to have conversations about basic survival [and] how we raise children — ones with ties in a minority culture and a culture of immigrants — in American culture. The great thing about FOCS is that everyone there wants to have those conversations, too.

Where are some places you get out into the city as a mom to young kids?

I look for fun, free [or low-cost] programming because if it doesn’t work out or the kids scream and can’t handle it, then you don’t feel like you wasted time and money. There’s…

  • Toddler Gym: The whole place is filled with toys, vehicles, balls, and things to climb and you can sit on the sidelines and hang out.
  • Rainier Beach Pool: It’s super fun — there’s a lazy river and waterslides.

Your book talks about the isolation one can feel as a new parent and the need to feel like an adult. Where can Seattle parents go to do that?

  • Know where the nearest brewery is because you can usually take kids. [I like] Lowercase Brewing in Georgetown, Northwest Peaks Brewery, and Beer Star in White Center.
  • Mean Sandwich in Ballard: They give everybody playdough and a coloring book and there’s a patio with a playhouse in the back.
  • Bar del Corso in Beacon Hill: [Their workers] have seen me through two pregnancies and they lift my kid up and put her in a high chair. And that’s wonderful.
  • Clock-out Lounge: It’s got pizza, lots of room, and it’s family friendly up until 8 p.m., … If your kid loses it, it’s usually pretty loud.

Best tip for dining out with little ones?

Nothing should stop you from going places that you love. Most restaurants open at 5 and they’re usually fairly dead for the first hour.

As soon as your entrees arrive, just give the server your card. Because when you are with kids, when it’s over, it’s over. And oftentimes you just have to like, ghost.

 

Want to hear more from Angela? Evergrey storytelling director Anika Anand is interviewing her on June 20 at The Riveter in Capitol Hill at 7 p.m. Grab tickets here.