Maybe it’s the rain falling, reminding me of the winter I was pregnant with my first (it rained so much the fall of 2016!), or maybe it’s just looking at the blessing of a very full December calendar, but I’m feeling nostalgic and grateful for all that the San Mateo Parents Club has given me over the years.
The winter of 2017 I worked tirelessly at two Skilled Nursing Facilities and saw a few clients through a home health agency in Cupertino and Mountain View. I was working approximately 55-60 hours a week in January and February, and I ended up on bedrest for the weeks leading up to my due date. It was the last full-time position I held, and if we’re being honest, walking away from the demands of a position like that to be a stay at home parent felt very freeing. When William arrived though, I felt quite alone. I didn’t know any of the cafes or playgrounds in San Mateo, nor did I know anyone in the area with children. I joined the SMPC to solve these new life problems.
I was recruited to be a playgroup coordinator at my first play date. Baby William was snuggled up on my chest, sleeping through a wonderful conversation with two other mothers at Fiero Caffe downtown. It was the same day my mom flew home after supporting us through the first weeks of the fourth trimester. I was nervous about meeting other mothers (Will they like me? Are they chill? Will William have a blowout on my lap?), and it felt like a big ask to coordinate the group, but I did it anyway, and I’m so glad I did.
Over time I got to know several more moms and Board Members. I started feeling like I had mental bandwidth and casually mentioned I loved color-coded spreadsheets. The next thing I knew I was the advertising coordinator. Then I coordinated Social Media, Speaker Series, and eventually at the end of 2020, just after finding out I was pregnant with my third child, I was asked to be President. My husband told me it was a bridge too far. I had also started a small project of my own leading Learn With Less® classes, and it seemed like my plate was getting full, but you see, we needed someone to do the job. I was ready to step up to help the team because I believed in the value the club brought to new parents and the community in general.
If this is sounding like a cautionary tale (don’t over commit!), I understand...I did overcommit and 2022 has been the busiest year of my Mom Life, but there are two critical points here I want to mention: I experienced so much personal and professional growth with my time on the Board, and I also realized that keeping a full Board makes everyone’s job easier.
Personally I have met incredible parenting role models, connected deeply with other moms (I met my youngest’s Godmother on the Board), my husband has networked two major accounts through casual conversations with other parents, my children have playmates across all ages, and the Pod that saved us through the Pandemic I met through SMPC playgroups and events.
Professionally I have grown in my confidence as a member of a diverse team and really had to lean-in to what leadership and growth that supports parents looks like. Several members of the current and previous Boards included moms who were considering career changes and wanted to practice a new skill set before stepping into professional roles. I know the lessons I’ve learned as President and filling in for Fundraising and Community Outreach will help me as I navigate owning my own business and collaborate with other professionals in the future.
The Board is a great stepping stone into learning more about our local community and achieving a shared vision of parents supporting parents. I am proud of the 2022 Board’s ability to pivot throughout the pandemic and openly discuss our path forward. Above all, I have come to realize that fostering environments that respect the roles women play in our society and supporting those choices is critical for creating the word I want for my own children. Please consider taking the time in 2023 to help keep this vision alive. As a wise previous SMPC President assured me, when enough of us value something to step up and take ownership, we can keep doing all that is worth doing.
See the full list of open Board Positions; an abbreviated list is also below. No experience is necessary, and outgoing/previous Board Members are available to mentor and support new members throughout the process. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested!
Two of the open Board Positions are below. See the full list of open positions here.
- Community Outreach (1 of 2 positions)
1-4 hours a month
- Find and compile local activities, events, and resources (position 1 filled).
- Discover and find volunteers for outreach opportunities in the process to recruit new members (e.g. tabling at Chamber of Commerce events, Central Park concert series, etc).
- Community service includes building partnerships and connections which also aids in outreach (Samaritan House, Circle of Inspiration, CORA).
- Can ask for volunteers among club membership to support on specific outreach event tasks.
- Fundraising (1 position)
Cyclical commitment, 1-5 hours a month, depending on time of year
- Generate ideas for fundraising to add to our general funds and coordinate to align with major events when possible.
- Regular fundraising efforts include Photography Fundraisers (1 Spring/1 Fall), and Mother’s Day Bouquets.
- Setting up contracts, coordinating with vendors and Web Presence Coordinator as needed for promotions.
- Funds raised will go to the club's events to serve all members.