A Child Grows aims to bring you the most accurate, important information about everything parenting-related, whether your journey is just beginning or you’re sending your first-born off to college (and everything in between). To that end, we regularly interview parents from all walks of life from all different kinds of families, with varying parenting philosophies and ideas. This week, we’re talking to contributor and Mother Brooklyn founder Leslie Winston. You’ll hear more from Leslie on the blog very soon as she begins writing about parenting, education, raising a child with special needs, and more.

Tell me a little bit about Mother Brooklyn and how it came to be? I started MB after seeing the same questions asked and answered on the neighborhood listservs each month. Newly pregnant parents had the same questions: which pediatrician should I use, where are the neighborhood daycares? I compiled a Reference list with common questions answered, all in one place. From there I started writing the blog and selling new parent gift bags filled with fresh food.

What neighborhood do you live in? We’ve lived in Clinton Hill for seven years. Before that we rented an apartment in Vinegar Hill. I’m originally from NYC but grew up and went to school in the Midwest. I returned to NYC thirteen years ago.

What’s the best thing about raising a family in Brooklyn? Everything we need is right here, from kid friendly restaurants to child friendly theatre; we don’t need to travel to take it all in. Plus, the diversity. We love that our multiethnic son doesn’t have to choose to be white or Indian, his school is filled with other kids who, like him, are a mixture of cultures. Our son is first generation American on my husband’s side and fourth generation New Yorker on my side.

What’s the most challenging thing about raising a family in Brooklyn? It’s crowded and it’s hard to find a parking spot. My day is often planned keeping these things in mind. When I leave NYC I love that I can do several errands in one day and don’t have to include time for traffic and finding parking.

What’s your favorite Brooklyn family activity? We love listening to live music in the park. Every summer, Fort Greene Park has a Saturday afternoon jazz series. The adults can appreciate the music while the kids run around in the grass. Everyone is happy.

Tell us about your favorite place for a quiet date night without the kids? Hands down, it’s Gentleman Farmer on Myrtle (their sister restaurant is on the Lower East Side). We really take advantage of being able to walk to neighborhood restaurants and rarely go to Manhattan for dinner.  The food here is always excellent and the setting is quiet and romantic. It’s too pricey to bring the kids, so we go here on special occasions.

What’s your favorite family-friendly restaurant with the kids? We take the kids to Putnam’s when we go out to eat. My step-daughter especially likes the brunches. Our son is well contained in the booth seating and they have his favorite thing on the menu: macaroni and cheese! While kid friendly, the food is great and the setting is loud enough that if our son forgets to use his ‘inside voice,’ no heads turn.

Leslie Winston, LMSW, was born in NYC, raised in the midwest. She’s been living in brownstone Brooklyn for over a decade. Leslie is a Licensed Master of Social Work (LMSW) and has worked with children and families for the past 15 years. Most recently she’s been working in local food, is a supporter of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) and local farms. She’s a step-mom to Inez (born in 2001) and mom to Judah Pax (born in 2011) and lives with her husband Ray and children in Clinton Hill.