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  • 2 Aug 2022 8:05 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I just want to extend a big welcome to all of our new members and our fellow Foster City Parents Club members who are joining us for the second half of the year! I hope you had the opportunity to meet and mingle with our FCPC crew, perhaps at the Mr. Softee event back in June, or our Fur Scales and Tales Show last weekend. And if not, we have several exciting events coming up. As a reminder, if you cannot attend the Pool Party on the 20th, please update your registration. We have 28 families on the waitlist who would love the chance to participate.

    The partnership with FCPC is a chance for our clubs to continue to operate as independent entities while combining our membership opportunities by sharing events, planning as a larger organization to support our board members, and utilizing the vast array of park and recreational opportunities our location on the Peninsula offers.

    For example, we will be participating in the Foster City Summer Days event later this month! This event is always a blast, and this year our clubs will be helping check IDs, collect drink tickets, and serve drinks at the event (who doesn’t like proximity to the bar?). We’re looking for volunteers for one-hour shifts. This is a great way to help give back to our community and promote the clubs. We do not have a volunteer requirement within our club so when we do ask for volunteers, it is usually because the board is unable to shoulder the responsibility completely. Please consider taking a moment to see if you have the time to enjoy this event AND help out.

    We are also supporting Samaritan House’s Backpack Drive, and the deadline to donate is coming up soon on the 8th of August! If you’re able to spare $30-40, you can purchase a pre-filled backpack so more than 2500 low-income children in San Mateo County will have confidence starting the school year!

    Lastly we are finalizing our Fall Mini Photography Session Fundraiser details! Stay tuned for more information about our annual opportunity to get those pictures taken by local photographers (and members) and contribute to our club!

    Have a wonderful August!

    Sincerely,
    Rachel Kammeyer
    SMPC President
    president@sanmateoparentsclub.org


  • 18 Jul 2022 7:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The San Mateo Parents Club is starting an annual survey on the Peninsula market for household helpers – which includes nannies, babysitters, mother’s helpers, night nannies, and au pairs. This is the first such report, and the SMPC is grateful for the community’s response to the survey. The SMPC aims to publish the report every summer, the season in which the nanny market is particularly active as many families transition their children to school or other childcare settings.

    Household Helper Types

    We received 48 responses, with 35 (73%) of those being on “Nannies” and the remaining 13 (27%) being on other household helpers.

    As defined by the survey:

    • Nannies work on a regular basis
    • Babysitters work on an as-needed basis
    • Mother's helpers assist the parent while the parent is present. If the parent can rely on the helper to watch the kids without the parent's presence, then the helper is categorized as "Nanny".
    • Night nannies take care of babies or toddlers throughout the night.

    Overall Nanny Statistics

    Since nannies are most common of the household helpers, this article will discuss the nanny numbers first. Overall, the average hourly rate is $27.44. Most families have their nannies working 40 hours per week. Of the responses, only 5 indicated work hours below 30. There is not a significant difference in hourly rate between those working full time versus part time.

    Nannies get an average of 9.6 paid vacation days per year. 25 (71%) responses indicated providing sick days. Of those providing sick days, most responses indicated providing 5 sick days per year. 13 (37%) responses indicated providing W2; 20 (57%) responses indicated not providing W2. Interestingly, those providing W2 provide a higher hourly rate: the average rate for those with W2 is $30.42, while without W2 is $25.75.

    Number of Children

    There appears to be a correlation between the number of children under the care of the nanny and the nanny’s hourly rate. Based on the 35 responses on nannies, the stats are as follows:

    The hourly rate for 3 children is strangely shown to decrease. However, of the 35 responses, 18 indicated one child, 11 indicated two children, and only 6 indicated three children. Therefore statistically speaking the data on families with three children is less reliable here.

    Credentials and Responsibilities

    Of the 35 responses, here are the number of families with nannies having the following credentials and responsibilities:

    What credentials and responsibilities make the most difference in hourly rate? The stats are below: 

    • Note that the category "Formal Teacher Training" means the nanny earned some teaching credential, whereas "Teaching and Reading" indicates the nanny's duties regardless of whether she has any credentials.
    • We see that "Speaking a Foreign Language" is correlated with a lower hourly rate. Is this an indication of any conscious or subconscious racial bias? Something for each of us to reflect upon when hiring.
    • There weren't enough responses indicating "Swimming" as a duty, and almost all responses indicated "Feeding" as a duty. Hence we do not have good statistics to show whether these duties make a difference in rate.

    Various Household Helpers

    Looking at the various household helpers we surveyed about, here are the survey response counts and average rates of each type:

    Household Helper Type

    Number of Responses

    Average Hourly Rate

    Nanny

    35

    $27.44

    Babysitter

    7

    $23.50

    Night nanny

    2

    $40

    Mother's helper

    3

    $24

    Additionally, there was one response on “Au Pair.” It indicated that the weekly stipend provided is $200. Since there was only one response on au pairs, we are not able to conduct statistical analysis about this type of household helper at this time.

    Important Interview Questions

    Here is a list of interview questions compiled from the survey responses, somewhat organized by category. 

    Questions About Kids

    • What do you love most about kids?
    • What do you least enjoy when working with kids?
    • Does it stress you when a baby cries? 
    • What activities do you like to do with children same age as mine?
    • What are some developments milestones you would expect my kid to achieve at X months?

    Questions About Trouble

    • What do you do when a child gets hurt?
    • What is your discipline approach? What do you do when the child misbehaves?
    • What do you do when siblings get into fights?
    • You can also ask these questions by asking the candidate to tell about an actual incident as an example, or giving them a hypothetical incident and ask how they would respond.

    Questions About Experience

    • What experience do you have caring for similar age children?
    • What educational background and training do you have?
    • How many families have they watched for?
    • Do you have any references?
    • What driving history do you have? How confident do you feel driving a minivan? 

    Questions About Work Attitude

    • What do you think open communication between me and you looks like? How do you handle tough conversations?
    • Do you have flexibility if extra hours are needed?
    • Are you willing to do chores XYZ while children are asleep/away?

    Questions About Health

    • Are you vaccinated? What Covid precautions do you take? 
    • Do you take any drugs or smoke?

    Trial Period

    • After the interview, do a trial period. The trial period is likely more telling than the interview.

    Good Job Signs

    A lot can be gained through observation. Are the kids happy with the nanny? If the parent is at home during the day (e.g., working from home), the parent can listen throughout the day. Otherwise, the parent can see if the child is excited for the nanny to come, or doesn't want the nanny to leave. A child sleeping well at night also indicates that the nanny took good care of him during the day.

    The parent can also use extra eyes to observe. Ask the child about her day. What did they do? What did they eat? Who did they see? Also ask neighbors and friends what they see. And it is quite common to install cameras in the common areas of the house.

    Other tell-tale signs. Is the nanny punctual? At the end of the day, does the nanny tidy up and finish assigned chores? Does the nanny give an honest summary of the day?

    Do’s and Don’ts with Household Helpers

    Here’s some wisdom compiled from the community feedback:

    • Don't hire out of desperation. Do not rush to get the wrong person.
    • Don't go without a contract. A contract can spell out pay, hours, vacation, sick leave, duties, termination terms, COVID precautions (including when to return to work after testing positive).
    • Set clear expectations. Tell the nanny what you expect in terms of discipline; the nanny should set healthy boundaries with the kids. Plan the kid's schedule and write it down for the nanny. A nanny should listen to what the parent wants rather than insisting on doing things her way.
    • Don't pay below market. The nanny will leave for the better paying job and will not be happy. Give big Christmas bonuses.
    • Don't be too lenient with vacation and sick days. Keep good track of when such days are taken.
    • Don't make a judgement based on too short of an observation period that a nanny candidate is good with kids.
    • Don't forget to plan for backup care at the time of hiring a nanny. Hiring a nanny means you are relying on just one person, which inherently means if that one person is down (suddenly sick or planned time off), you need backup or you are on your own.
    • Don't share a nanny with a friend. Sharing a nanny is messy and not too infrequently ends sourly.
    • Don't go light on the training up front on what is expected and how the household flows. The first day should be solely observation for the nanny; the second day the nanny should begin to participate; the third day the nanny should run the day while the parent is present to help if something goes awry; the fourth day the nanny should work with the parent nearby but not actively engaging.
    • Don't set a habit or expectation of giving too many gifts to the nanny.
    • Don't stay silent about something the nanny does that you don’t like. The issue may be as small as not putting a hat on the child during a walk, but raise the issue when it first arises.
    • Don't be too lenient with punctuality and other expectations. Always say, "Thank You for being on time." Don't let standards slip as time goes by.
    • Don't keep on board someone who isn't working out.

    Note: For those who are interested, here is the raw data.


  • 10 Jul 2022 7:21 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome our new members for July!

    • Adam and Lonie M. have a four-month-old son, Elliot. They live in Pacifica.
    • Alexis L. has two daughters. Madissen is thirteen years old, and Skylar is three years old. They live in San Mateo.
    • Amit C. has a three-year-old son, Itamar. They live in San Mateo.
    • Heather L. has a twenty-month-old son, Josh. They live in San Carlos.
    • Heidi B. has a two-year-old daughter, Sophie and a fifteen-month-old son, Miles. They live in Hillsborough.
    • Katherine G. is expecting a son, congratulations! They live in San Mateo.
    • Linda H. as a two-year-old daughter, Natasha and a two-month-old son, Terence. They live in Belmont.
    • Silvia has an almost 2-year-old daughter, Boriana.


  • 6 Jul 2022 7:29 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy birthday to our July kiddos!

    Birth Day

    Name

    Age

    07-Jul

    Hazel P.

    1

    07-Jul

    Nikhil K.

    1

    20-Jul

    Zoe S.

    1

    07-Jul

    Mara  C.

    2

    08-Jul

    Mina H.

    2

    14-Jul

    Asher G.

    2

    14-Jul

    Oliver N.

    2

    17-Jul

    Esme B.

    2

    29-Jul

    Jai V.

    2

    15-Jul

    Itamar C.

    3

    22-Jul

    Ezra  C.

    3

    23-Jul

    Isla G.

    3

    01-Jul

    Norah  M.

    4

    14-Jul

    Maya K.

    4

    22-Jul

    Rory W.

    5

    25-Jul

    Emerson K.

    5

    27-Jul

    Neil Venkatesh G.

    5

    02-Jul

    Norah M.

    6

    02-Jul

    Raphaël W.

    6

    08-Jul

    Anise N.

    6

    30-Jul

    Alondra B.

    6

    16-Jul

    Monica W.

    7

    03-Jul

    Lilly L.

    8

    21-Jul

    Atticus P.

    8

    21-Jul

    Augustine P.

    8

    12-Jul

    Mackenzie W.

    9

    09-Jul

    Lilia V.

    12

    18-Jul

    Emiliano F.

    15

    23-Jul

    Aedan G.

    15


  • 26 Jun 2022 11:00 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Laura Porter


    Plastic Free Seems Impossible

    A few years ago, the San Francisco Chronicle published a story about a woman who was living an essentially Zero Waste life. She fit all of her garbage for a year into a mason jar – a far cry from our weekly trips to haul the garbage cans to the curb for pickup. While it seemed impossible for our family of 4 to ever get close to that, it was clear that there was a lot of room in between where we were and where we could be.

    In looking through our garbage that week, I realized that plastic was the biggest offender of our black bin, so I set out to minimize anything that went into our black bin. At the weekly trip to the grocery store, I did an experiment… what could I buy with NO plastic?

    Well, it was disappointing. I ended up with a baguette, a dozen eggs, and some fresh produce. Maybe a jar of jam or something in there, but there wasn’t much else we could buy! That was the day it dawned on me that we don’t have a choice about avoiding plastic, and then I wanted to see if it would even be possible.

    The short answer was… not really.

    Is plastic really that bad?

    If they are so ubiquitous, are they really THAT bad? It’s easy to forget that YES, plastics really are terrible for us.

    • 99% are made from fossil fuels
    • Only about 4% of plastics can actually be recycled. (All those cool new bioplastics are 100% unrecyclable)
    • Plastics leach toxins into our food, our bodies, and our environment.
    • Plastics never biodegrade, they only photodegrade into smaller particles that continue polluting for years and years.
    • Plastics have been discovered within plant cells, in animals that make up our diet, in human blood, human lungs, and human stool. 90% of table salt samples include microplastics that are too small to see with the naked eye.
    • Our local landfill will be full within a decade. Waste hauling costs are going to rise dramatically when that happens.

    Zero Waste is an Ideal

    After visiting what felt like every grocery store in the San Mateo area, I finally got the hang of which stores had bulk products, and which ones carried what I wanted. The problem was that even with that knowledge, I had to go to three different stores to pick up the package-free items that our family wanted. THREE GROCERY STORES? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

    As with everything, it’s about balance. Yes, we need to reduce plastics to make sure we aren’t leaving a huge mess for our children, but we also need to make it to the weekend with our sanity. So we find a balance, and give ourselves grace for the slip-ups when they happen.

    We’ll never get to the Zero in Zero Waste, but it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. Strive for Zero, and be ok with the knowledge that you’ve taken meaningful action even if it’s not perfect.

    Tips to Reduce Plastic Use

    So how does one go about finding more sustainable products?

    Here are some considerations that I go through as I try to shop for products for our family, which have helped us minimize our garbage.

    1. REUSE. This is the best way to save costs, reduce plastic, and spend less time shopping. You’ve got dozens of containers in your cupboard and refrigerator right now. Probably plenty of shopping bags, too. If they’re in good shape, find ways to reuse what you have.
      • Reusable options also exist to replace tissues, paper towels, menstrual care products, paper bags, razors, and more. Invest upfront, and you’ll save lots of time and money over the years!

    2. Buy the item without plastic. This one is easier said than done, but for many products, it simply comes down to looking for the alternative without plastic. You’ll find them – just take a little longer look. Good packaging alternatives include:
      • Glass: Inert, meaning it won’t leach toxins into the products. Also very reusable for bulk bins, decorations, food storage, etc. It’s also able to recycled infinitely without losing its great properties.
      • Aluminum: Great for shower items like shampoo or shower gel, as you don’t want to risk shattered glass under bare, wet feet! (Not suitable for acidic or other foods). Also infinitely recyclable
      • Stainless Steel: Also inert, infinitely recyclable, and likely that you’re buying steel that has already been recycled. It can be expensive, but it’ll last for years to come… and many refills.
      • Paper: Not suitable for all products, but recyclable or compostable. Look for sustainably sourced paper or post-consumer recycled whenever possible.
      • Package Free: Because sometimes you don’t even need a package at all, or you can put it in a bag or container you already own.

    3. Shop small. Smaller businesses can often get away from the mass produced plastics where larger retailers cannot or will not.
      • Shop at refill stores. These stores are becoming more and more popular in the US, and even some small businesses will offer refill sections in their stores!
      • Farmers Markets offer seasonal produce – just be prepared with your own bags.

    4. Other actions.
      • Lobby local government for more ways to access recycling compost waste containers. (I still don’t understand why downtown San Mateo has garbage but no recycling or compost bins. Same for our parks!)
      • Ask businesses to use your containers. One secret to dining – take your own carryout container. Many restaurants will be happy to use your clean container, you just have to ask. If you can’t use your container, let them know that you’d prefer a compostable or reusable option.
      • Model this behavior for your kids. This may be the biggest one. Our kids are sponges – sopping up everything they see and hear. If we demonstrate that we have options, they’ll get it and feel empowered, too!


    Laura Porter is a mom of two and the founder and owner of Byrd's Filling Station, a zero waste grocery store which opened in downtown San Mateo in early June. The store holds a wide variety of products and encourages reuse of containers (bags, jars, bottles, etc) that you already own to replenish your household and personal care needs.


  • 21 Jun 2022 10:08 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy Summer Solstice! Today summer is definitely rearing its hot head... hopefully we’re all staying cool indoors or finding a great place to chill outdoors. Here are a few of my family’s favorite shady spots and water-play places:

    Parks with Some Shade

    • Indian Springs Park
    • Laurelwood Park
    • Coyote Point Recreation Area
    • Washington Park 
    • Twin Pines
    • Burton Park
    • Laurie Meadows
    • Sunnybrae Park

    Water Features

    • Parkside Aquatic 
    • Laureola Park
    • Ryder Park
    • Burton Park

    Cooling Centers

    Got a spot that was left off this list? Please email president@sanmateoparentsclub.org to have it added! 

    Also please check your email for details about our Mr Softee FCPC & SMPC Kickoff Event this weekend! We can stay cool with a big cone. Hope to see you there!

    Sincerely,
    Rachel Kammeyer
    SMPC President
    president@sanmateoparentsclub.org


  • 10 Jun 2022 12:01 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Father’s Day honors fathers as well as the broader concept of fatherhood at large. Father’s Day, in the United States, is the third Sunday of June, which is June 19 this year. Last month, the San Mateo Parents Club provided a list of ideas for honoring Mom – all are equally applicable to Dad! Here are some additional ideas to add to the list.

    • Learn about Dad’s family tree. Tracing through the family tree helps children learn more about the family’s past and cultural heritage. Dig out the family photo albums and flip through page by page. Interview Dad (and Grandpa!) about their growing up. Make a family tree chart, tracing a few generations up.

    • Camp indoors. Set up a camping tent in the living room. Better yet, build a fort out of furniture and bedsheets. Make the night fancy by taping glow-in-the-dark stars to the ceiling. Read some bedtime stories about the great outdoors. Snuggle up in your sleeping bags or bring blankets from the bedroom.

    • Grill a burger for Dad. Dads are stereotypically at the grill. Reverse the trend on Father’s Day and grill something for him. If you need some help, check out this recipe. Or take him out to a burger joint in town: Jack’s Prime Burgers & Shakes, Jeffrey’s Hamburgers, Sal’s Burgers, Habit Burger Grill, and so many more!

    • Plan a family workout and stick with it. Search youtube for family workout videos. Or make a plan to jog or hike once a week. Once you’ve set a schedule, stick to it. Set up a competition using your fitness trackers. You’ll see the healthy difference in Dad and yourself!

    • Help Dad with a project on his To-Do list. There’s always something to do around the house. Surely Dad will appreciate some help. Washing the car, repairing something, or building something in the yard.

    • Play old video games. Does Dad miss Super Mario Brothers? Or is it Tetris, Street Fighter, or Pac-Man? Hopefully you can just dig these out from the attic, but if not, here are some tips on how to find and purchase retro video games.

    • Take a mini-vacation. June is a beautiful sunny season, and we’ve got so much in and surrounding the Bay Area! Enjoy fresh oysters at Tomales Bay, wine at Napa, wild animals at Santa Rosa, kayaking at Santa Cruz, whale spotting at Point Lobos, clam chowder at Pismo Beach. Go for a mini-vacation and store some memorable memories in your heart.
  • 3 Jun 2022 11:51 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Welcome our new members for June:

    • Amelia T. has a three-month-old son, Lincoln. They live in Belmont.
    • Ashley C. has a three-month-old son, Casper. They live in San Mateo.
    • Ashley J. has a three-year-old son Aiden, and a four-month-old daughter, Zoe. They live in San Mateo.
    • Jack and Julianne G. has a two-month-old son, Bennett. They live in San Mateo.
    • Jessica M. has an eighteen-month-old son, Oliver. They live in San Mateo.
    • Matt J. has a daughter, Zoe, whose four-years-old, and Aiden whose three-years-old. They live in San Mateo.
    • Nicole B. has a six-month-old daughter Savannah, and two sons, Maverick who's six years old and Sterling who's nine years old. They live in San Mateo.
    • Roisin A. has a sixteen-month-old daughter. They live in Woodside.
    • Stephanie B. is a first-time mom to daughter Charlotte "Charlie" who was born in November of 2021. They live in San Mateo.
    • Stephany M. has a twenty-one-month-old son, Myles, and is expecting a baby in November. Congratulations! They live in San Mateo.


  • 1 Jun 2022 12:00 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Happy birthday to our June kiddos!

    Birth Day

    Name

    Age

    04-Jun

    Charlotte B.

    1

    11-Jun

    Sidney D.

    1

    17-Jun

    Aaron H.

    1

    28-Jun

    Theo W.

    1

    30-Jun

    Clara C.

    1

    08-Jun

    Elena V.

    2

    17-Jun

    David V.

    2

    18-Jun

    Norah Z.

    2

    05-Jun

    Corey G.

    4

    07-Jun

    Penny T.

    4

    13-Jun

    Nico D.

    4

    23-Jun

    Nathan B.

    5

    24-Jun

    Nolan S.

    5

    01-Jun

    Khloe C.

    7

    02-Jun

    Piper G.

    7

    23-Jun

    Callan G.

    7

    16-Jun

    Jonathan S.

    16

    16-Jun

    Jon S.

    17

    12-Jun

    Owen G.

    18


  • 18 May 2022 9:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Wow! It has been a crazy few weeks here at our house. It feels like I blinked and Spring Break just happened, but now we’re staring down Memorial Day, my son’s graduation from preschool, and the unofficial kick-off of summer!

    It is absolutely surreal to have a five year old, and to have had a conversation about the sunset of his SMPC playgroup, the Kiddie Cats. I remember attending a play date with a group of moms with multiple children, hearing them talk about their older kids’ playgroup and thinking that there was an infinite distance between that moment, holding my three month old in my lap, and the prospect of a group no longer being necessary because friendships had solidified, people had moved on, babies were kids.

    Yet here I am, sappily replaying that moment with another baby on my lap, but with the wisdom of knowing that this time is indeed finite, and the biting, wood chip consuming, 4:00 am nursing sessions, and general feeling of fatigue will soon be distant, overtaken by sleep training, more consistent routines, and a subdued oral fixation. And then babyhood will be for other caregivers to enjoy.

    I have decided to approach this spring with a renewed desire to enjoy these days that often feel so rushed, and I hope we can all take a few moments to step away from our chaos and perhaps step into nature or another space that brings calm, and soak up the moments that will be what we look back on in a few years as the ones that make it worth it. Whether it’s a milestone your baby is working toward and proudly accomplishes or a story time cuddle with a book you’ve read 6,000 times and counting, may that moment work its way into your forever memories and be a touchstone in the future.

    Sincerely,
    Rachel Kammeyer
    SMPC President
    president@sanmateoparentsclub.org


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