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  • 12 Dec 2023 9:25 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Divorce is a tough journey for everyone, but it can be particularly vexing for stay-at-home moms. Often, stay-at-home parents have given up their careers to care for their children and allow their spouses to continue a career path. Now, they face the challenge of rebuilding their lives and providing for themselves and their children. 

    The O'Mara Law Group offers comprehensive assistance for mothers facing divorce. The guide covers various aspects, including financial planning, custody arrangements, legal rights, emotional support, and rebuilding after divorce. It emphasizes the unique challenges faced by stay-at-home moms who have sacrificed their careers for their families. The key points include: 

    1. Financial Preparation for Divorce:

    • Gather necessary paperwork for financial assessment.
    • Understand assets, debts, and liabilities.
    • Work with a legal team to ensure accurate financial disclosure.

    2. Managing Finances After Divorce:

    • Create a budget and adjust to single-income living.
    • Build an emergency fund for unexpected expenses.
    • Review and adjust insurance coverage.
    • Understand child support and alimony laws before signing any documents.

    3. Legal Rights:

    • Stay-at-home moms have rights in child custody, child support, spousal support, and property division.
    • Legal representation is crucial to protecting these rights during divorce proceedings.

    4. Child Custody and Parenting Agreements:

    • Educate yourself on local laws and prioritize the child's best interests.
    • Collaborate on a parenting agreement and consider mediation for disputes.

    5. When to Hire a Divorce Lawyer:

    • Seek legal help if the other spouse fails to comply with court orders.
    • A knowledgeable women's divorce attorney can protect parental rights.

    6. Support for Children:

    • Create a safe space for children to express feelings.
    • Maintain consistency in routines.
    • Co-parent effectively to minimize adverse effects.

    7. Emotional Support:

    • Practice self-care through activities like exercise and meditation.
    • Seek support from friends, family, or support groups.
    • Consider professional counseling or therapy to cope with emotional challenges.

    8. Rebuilding After Divorce:

    • Rebuild credit and assess housing costs.
    • Explore career options and update skills.
    • Rediscover interests and set new goals for personal fulfillment.

    After a divorce, rebuilding can feel like a long and difficult process. So many aspects of your life may need to be reevaluated and restructured. Despite the challenges, every step you take towards rebuilding is a step towards a brighter future for yourself and your children.

    We hope this guide encourages stay-at-home moms to view divorce as an opportunity for a fresh start, providing practical tips to navigate the legal, financial, and emotional aspects of this challenging process.

    You can see the full guide here:

  • 29 Nov 2023 11:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 20 Nov 2023 8:02 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The results are in. Children who participate in quality preschool programs do better academically, professionally, and personally.  A high-quality preschool program focuses on early childhood learning and development while providing childcare for working parents.  It exposes children to academic concepts as well as critical social and emotional skills. Young children benefit from opportunities to interact with peers and learning to trust caregivers separate from family members.  To find the right environment for your child and family, begin with these initial questions:

    • WHERE? Do I want my child in a home or school setting, full- or part-time?  Home settings can be cozy, but caregiver credentials vary. The smaller group size and mixed aged can be more comforting for slow to warm or very young children.  Center-based programs offer more social variety and a larger environment to explore. Cost will vary depending on the type of program and number of hours of care. There are also part-time options for parents who don’t need full-time care. Outdoor/Nature focused, and Parent Participation programs are great ways to let your children explore new things and meet new people while you also make connections to other parents.
    • WHEN? Are both parents returning to work?  Is the at-home parent ready for time alone?  Is the child ready for TK or Kindergarten?  Some families need care soon after a baby is born, while others may only need socialization experience before beginning formal elementary school. Many parents are working remotely from home at least some of the time, but still need someone to give their young children the care and stimulation they deserve and need.   Children should have at least one year—but preferably two years—of a quality group experience before starting kindergarten.
    •  WHO? Think about your child.  Will your active child be restless in a program with limited outdoor time?  Are children encouraged to sample a variety of indoor and outdoor activities?  How do children learn conflict resolution skills and develop resiliency?  Is your sensitive child easily overwhelmed in a large group?  Also think about yourself.  Does the school have a community that you can become part of?  Will you feel supported by teachers, administrators, and other parents? Are there opportunities for you to be involved in ways that work with your time constraints and interests?

    Now that you’ve thought about the basic questions, let’s find out what type of preschool/child care best fits your child’s temperament and learning style.  Here are some popular teaching philosophies to consider when choosing an early learning program:

    Developmental: A developmentally appropriate, play-based program supports learning in all five areas of development, including gross-motor and fine-motor skills, language and cognitive development, and social and emotional learning.  Classrooms are teacher-directed or child-centered, depending on the school orientation.  Includes free play time, as well as more structured circle times or group activities.

    Montessori (Maria Montessori, 1870-1952): Classrooms are structured, with children moving from activity to activity at their own pace.  Many Montessori programs incorporate three principles: observation of the child, personal liberty, and preparation of the environment. Special materials emphasize the use of all the senses.  Children are self-directed and encouraged to work independently, often in multi-age classrooms. 

    Parent Cooperative: Parent participation is required, either in the classroom, at home, or by serving on a parent board that operates the school.  The basic philosophy is that children and parents go to school together with guidance from a qualified teacher.  The focus is on child development.  There is often a parent education component either during the day or in evening meetings.  

    Reggio Emilia (Loris Malaguzzi, 1920-1994): Evolved from the parent cooperative movement, these programs involve the community in the world of the child.  Emphasis is on relationships with peers and adults, creative thinking skills, and project work. Each project lasts from a few weeks to more than a month.  Children’s progress is documented through posters or portfolios that capture a child’s learning process. The curriculum emerges from the children’s interests. 

    Language Immersion: Children are taught in a foreign language.  The classrooms and teachers may follow any of these teaching philosophies. Many language immersion programs adopt the Montessori philosophy.

    Waldorf (Rudolf Steiner, 1861-1925): Develops a child’s intellectual powers in harmony with his or her nature.  Waldorf schools incorporate imaginative play, a multi-sensorial approach, and stress “learning by doing.” Programs may include a lot of creative activity and natural materials in the classroom.  Teachers receive specialized training, lead many group activities, and often remain with the same set of children for several years. 

    Religious: Usually affiliated with a church, synagogue, or other religious organization, these programs may incorporate a lot, a little, or no religious training and may follow any of these teaching philosophies.

    University (or lab) Schools:  These programs are vehicles for teacher training and ongoing child development research.  The staff is usually required to have a higher learning degree, and there may be several student-researchers in the classroom at any one time.  Children may benefit from the latest research in the child development field and are expected to be active participants in student research studies.

    Academic: Academic programs stress preparation for kindergarten and elementary school, with early reading or formal reading readiness activities, an introduction to paper-and-pencil mathematics, and a focus on achievement.  The preschool day is structured, often with separate times for “work” and “play.”

    Outdoor/Nature Programs:  These programs are usually oriented toward spending most or all of the time outside exploring nature.  Most of these programs involve daily field trips to different locations at which the children explore the nature of the location with the guidance of a teacher who plans activities that apply to the place.  Some of the programs include parents; some do not.

    Once you’ve found an early learning environment that supports your child and family needs, be sure to communicate your enthusiasm for your child’s first school experience.  For many children, this is the beginning of a new, special relationship with another trusted adult. Be supportive, confident, and patient as your child learns to navigate the world outside the home. Communicate openly and often with your child’s teacher to help him/her be in the best position to meet your child’s needs. Become friendly with the teachers, caregivers, and parents, and always focus on your child’s strengths. Your child will benefit from the gift of an early start.

    Stephanie Barry Agnew is the Assistant Director of Parents Place, in The Center for Children and Youth.  She works with parents in groups and individually to help them through a wide variety of parenting issues, including discipline and school choices. She can be reached at 650-931-1841 or

    Learn more about all the Parents Place programs at

    To book an individual consultation about school choice or any other parenting question you may have, please email:

  • 1 Nov 2023 11:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 23 Oct 2023 9:22 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s finally October - fall is in the air and Halloween decorations are going up. As you walk around, you may see teal pumpkins in front yards and wonder, is this merely a quirky design choice? They’re actually part of a national campaign that raises awareness about food allergies, and provides a safe and inclusive way for kids with food allergies to enjoy Halloween.

    The CDC estimates that 8% of all children across the United States (about one in 13) face food allergies. The most serious reactions are commonly attributed to at least one of eight different allergens: milk, egg, shellfish, fish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts. Allergic reactions don’t always look the same, but 40% of children who have food allergies end up in the emergency room at some point because of allergic reactions.

    The Teal Pumpkin Project was started by Becky Basalone in 2012. She had two children with allergies and food intolerances, and wanted a way for them to safely enjoy Halloween. Instead of offering candies, which may contain allergens like peanut, homes with teal pumpkins will offer non-food items. They can range from stickers, to bubbles, to party favor toys. 

    If you are interested in participating in the Teal Pumpkin Project, pumpkins can be painted teal or purchased from local retailers. Here are some ideas for non-food treats to give out to trick-or-treaters:

    • LED lights
    • Glow sticks
    • Sensory toys (fidget spinners or bubble pop toys)
    • Glow in the dark critters
    • Wind-up toys
    • Toy jewelry
    • Whistles
    • Stickers
    • Bubbles 
    • Mini-slinkies 
    • Mini bouncy balls

    If you would still like to give out a sweet treat to the neighborhood kids, allergy-friendly options include fruit gummies, sun butter cups, fruit lollipops, or jelly beans. Common allergens to look out for include: milk, egg, soy, peanut, tree nuts, wheat, and gluten.

    If you would like to look up locations participating in the Team Pumpkin Project or add your own location as a participant, you can check out a map here

  • 29 Sep 2023 9:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
  • 26 Sep 2023 9:45 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Playing a musical instrument has been shown to have lifelong benefits. It strengthens executive function, teaches discipline and perseverance, and develops creativity. However, many of us have less than happy memories of practicing a musical instrument when we would rather be doing something else. How can we break the cycle with our own kids? We talk to Candice Choi, the Director at Musicians in the Making to learn more.

    What are some of the benefits of playing a musical instrument?

    There are many benefits of playing a musical instrument! Learning to play an instrument exercises all parts of the brain. Students learn to develop physical coordination while exercising their creative, emotional, and mathematical abilities all at the same time. Playing a musical instrument teaches the life skills that come along with learning something new. Most importantly, playing a musical instrument develops strong aural skills and the appreciation of creating beauty out of thin air!  

    I didn’t have the best experience with playing music as a kid. My parents made me play piano and I hated it. How can I avoid this with my own kid? 

    I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t have the best experience with playing music as a kid! We certainly can prevent this from happening with your child by continuing to engage and let the child lead with their own curiosity and creativity. You can encourage musical play at home by singing songs and dancing. You can make music in the kitchen with pots and pans!  Play music around the house and show your child examples of other children playing the piano too! Celebrate them when they make strides in their musical development, no matter how big or small. Learning an instrument is not easy and children need as many cheerleaders as possible! 

    When is a good time to start music lessons? What instrument is the best for a little kid to start off with? 

    Age 4 or 5 is a great time to begin official lessons. The best instrument to start out on is piano. This is because the piano is a musical instrument that helps to develop a broad foundation for future musical studies. If students decide they want to learn other instruments when they get older, having knowledge of the piano gives them an advantage.

    My kid is a little too young to start music lessons. How can I foster an appreciation of music at a younger age? 

    I always encourage parents to expose their child to all things musical! While they are too young to start lessons, you can still listen to a variety of music at home, attend family-friendly concerts, and dance and sing with your child! Once they are old enough to start formal lessons, all of their musical experiences will contribute to the success in their learning. 

    How long is an adequate trial of music lessons? I think my kid can really enjoy playing an instrument if they kept at it for longer. At the same time, I don’t want to drag things out if it’s not going to work out. 

    This is a great question! It really depends on the child. It is important to keep the student engaged so that they enjoy playing an instrument. When a student encounters a challenging time in their learning experience, I believe it is the teacher and parents’ job to help them through it. If one instrument is not suited for them, it is likely that a different instrument might be! 

    My kid has started lessons, but isn’t really interested. How can I get them to be more interested? 

    I would encourage them to find other friends who play music as well! Perform in a casual setting for one another at a playdate. Make music a part of their social life! 


    Musicians in the Making is a music school based out of the San Francisco Peninsula that serves students of all ages. Our unique approach allows our school to learn and collaborate with students and teachers both locally and around the world. Together as a community, we believe in creating harmony one note at a time!

    Join Musicians in the Making for their Welcome Back Picnic on Sunday, October 1st from 1:00-3:00 PM for musical performances, food, and games! Location: Gellert Park, 50 Wembley Dr, Daly City, CA 94015

  • 7 Sep 2023 9:46 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    I am proud to call San Mateo my home, I have lived and worked all over the world but this is where I found my true sense of belonging. My journey into civic involvement accelerated when I became a parent, and led me to the incredible privilege of serving as Mayor of this wonderful City. As a San Mateo mom, I want to share my story of the transformative power that all of us parents have in shaping our community.

    I grew up on welfare and in public housing, working two jobs in high school. My life was transformed by good policies and opportunities that allowed me to succeed. This personal experience has driven my commitment to champion San Mateo's values of inclusivity, prosperity, and resilience. I believe in a future where everyone has the chance to be lifted by our community. 

    I turned to the playgroups, forums and events to navigate those early years of parenthood and get my bearings! The San Mateo Parents' Club provided a platform for me to connect with other parents and start making a difference in our City. In 2019, I was appointed to the San Mateo City Council and then elected by over 24,000 voters, in the largest election in our City's history. In 2022, I was confirmed as the Mayor of San Mateo, a historic moment as I became the first Asian American woman and Jew of Color to hold this office. It was a proud moment for diversity and inclusion in our City's leadership. 

    Leading the City through the pandemic as a single mom was not easy. When we went into lockdown, I saw our fragile childcare system nearly collapse as enrollment rates and attendance plummeted. Childcare is essential to working families and our County is already strained by the cost and shortage of childcare spaces. I assembled and led a coalition of women leaders, nonprofit and public agencies to launch the San Mateo County COVID-19 Child Care Grant Program, which distributed $5.5M to over 300 child care providers to help child care providers keep their doors open for working families. I’m grateful for these chances to bring my lived experience as a parent into my leadership to better serve families and help us recover from the pandemic. 

    Now our public safety requires climate resilience. My first act as Mayor was to declare a state of emergency. Last Winter, we estimate 10,000 homes and businesses in San Mateo flooded. Our aged infrastructure is inadequate to protect the community from future flooding events and we need dedicated resources to fortify ourselves from the risks of climate change. 

    Residents and civic leaders united to create Flood Free San Mateo to support bold action to address flooding risk in our hometown. The Coalition is leading a ballot initiative that will create locally controlled and sustained funding to safeguard our homes, businesses, and public spaces from flooding. 

    Unanimously endorsed by the City Council and San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, Congressman Mullin, Senator Becker, San Mateo County Labor Council, San Mateo Police Officers' Association, San Mateo Consolidated Firefighters Association, San Mateo County Housing Leadership Council, small businesses, and neighborhood and faith leaders — all are encouraged to stay informed about the upcoming ballot initiative this Fall.

    I encourage everyone to learn how San Mateo's stormwater management protects the well-being of our families, the vibrancy of our local economy, and the sustainability of our environment. Visit the Flood Free San Mateo website at:

    Together, we can tackle the generational challenges of our time. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve your families and build bridges that bring us together and forward. Thanks to the San Mateo Parents’ Club for being part of this incredible journey! 

    Want to learn more? Listen to Mayor Lee’s Interview with award winning radio host, Dr. Robert Franklin on NV-1. 

  • 7 Sep 2023 9:41 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Fall photos provide beautiful scenery, versatile outfit choices, and can be used and displayed in many ways. Let’s go over what you need to know when booking your fall photo session with Allie B, a lifestyle photographer, mom of two, and member of the San Mateo Parents Club. 

    Step One: Selecting a Photographer

    Photographers offer different styles, price points, and packages. When reviewing a photographer's portfolio, consider style preferences such as color palette, contrast, posing, and more. For example, do you enjoy traditional posed family portraits or a group shot filled with giggles and movement? Do you prefer light and airy, bright and bold, or dark and moody? Deciding which style you like will help you to choose the right photographer.

    Photographers may offer multiple types of sessions like shorter mini sessions that typically last around 15 minutes, or longer sessions that can span multiple hours. Mini sessions can be a great option for families with little ones that might not handle a longer session as well. They also work well for families looking for a smaller number of images. Be sure to do some research to find a photographer that suits your needs. 

    Did you know that SMPC partners with local photographers to fundraise for the club?  By booking your fall photo session with SMPC you can get beautiful family photos and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the club. Spots fill up quickly, but a few slots have been added, so sign up!

    Step Two: Choose a Location

    Your location will set the vibe for your whole session. If you are opting for a mini session the location may be predetermined, but some photographers will offer different locations on different dates. Classic parks, beautiful beaches, stunning trees, and hillside views are just a few of the locations you might be considering. The colors of a location can make a big impact on your photos so keep in mind what colors you might like as a backdrop. Other considerations that might be important to you include distance, stroller access, parking, public restrooms, etc.! Communicating location requirements with your photographer can ensure a smooth experience.  

    Pro Tip: If you’re booking an outdoor session, consider booking as close to “golden hour” as possible. This is right after sunrise and right before sunset. The light is soft and gives a warm glow. 

    Step Three: Select Your Outfits

    There are dos and don'ts when it comes to picking the perfect outfits for family photos. You can start by asking your photographer; they may have a style guide, client closet, or recommendations for you. Platforms like Pinterest and Instagram are great resources when looking for outfit inspiration. Once you have a general idea of what you would like to wear, here are some tips to keep in mind. First, looking great is wonderful, but the most important thing is to feel your best. This applies to adults and kiddos. Find outfits that are comfortable from a fit and fabric perspective.  You want your outfits to coordinate, not match, this means sticking to a color palette, mixing in varying shades, and adding subtle contrast and interesting textures.  If you stick with neutrals, you basically can’t fail! Some colors can absorb light while others can reflect. But if you do want to add in some color, I recommend pastels or earth tones. Don’t forget about the shoes, they can make or break a look. Matching outfits are generally a no-no for family photos. In theory they can be cute, but you lose contrast and create a less natural look. 

    When it comes to sourcing outfits you have options as well! You can sort through your current wardrobe, purchase all new clothes, rent, or supplement. H&M and Old Navy are great options that will cover the whole family. If you’re looking for a statement piece, consider Anthropologie or Baltic Born. Shop local for adults and kids, there are great boutiques for adults and children like Unseen, Sprout, and more! If you need quick shipping Amazon or Revolve might have options for you!

    Lastly, when considering outfits and locations, imagine what a photo may look like as a large print being hung in your home. 

    Step Four: How to Prepare for Your Session?

    Getting ready for family photos can feel stressful. You’re investing your time, money, and effort, and are hoping for beautiful family pictures. It’s important to be prepared! This will be different for each family and each session. Consider the following factors: What time of day is your session? Is it a long drive? Will there be restrooms? What is the weather? Depending on the age of your child/ren you may have different needs. Diapers, car potties, snacks, boogie wipes, or even an outfit change might be necessary.

    Give yourself plenty of time. With kids, sometimes being late is inevitable. On session day give yourself plenty of time to pack up your car, get to your location, and get comfortable. While most photographers understand that life happens, be sure to ask your photographer or review your contract regarding cancellations or late arrivals. 

    Talk to your kids. Prepare them for the session by letting them know what to expect and what might be expected of them.  But remember, things might not go according to plan. A photography session is a unique situation for adults and kids. Try to relax and go with the flow. Lean in to the good, the bad, and the silly. And if you’re really in a pinch, you might want to resort to bribes. Small candies do wonders getting my five-year-old to smile.

    Step Five: What to Do with Your Family Photos? 

    Whether you’re a minimalist or a gallery wall fanatic, there are so many great options to save and utilize your family images. To maintain the image quality provided by a professional, you should download directly to a computer, not your phone, which may compress the image quality. Use reputable printing companies if ordering prints, books, or products. If your walls are mostly bare, consider using your photo as a background on your TV. Finally, consider gifting your photos! There are so many amazing options for gifting an image that go beyond holiday cards. Send loved ones mugs, ornaments, magnets, and more.


    If you have any questions, you can email Allie, at Follow her on Instagram to hear about upcoming sessions and for more family photo session tips! @alliebphotography.abp

  • 30 Aug 2023 3:59 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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