Hacking Motherhood

Or the brilliant business idea you’re sure would make millions, if only you could devote some time to it?
HackerMoms is here to help. A unique place for moms with young children, the Berkeley nonprofit provides space – and childcare – for parents pursuing their passions, business ideas and more.
“I was steeped in motherhood and desperate to get back to my career track and be with moms talking about things other than their kids, which can be a challenge when your kids are young,” says membership director Heather Reilly of Berkeley, a documentary filmmaker and mother of a 4-year-old daughter. At HackerMoms, “you’re with other people who are fighting the same battles and with people who have succeeded. It’s like giving you a map to carve out more time for yourself or your craft. It’s inspiring.”
HackerMoms, which just celebrated its third anniversary, is located at 3288 Adeline St. in Berkeley. Interested parents (dads are welcome, too) can check it out during monthly open houses the first Thursday of the month from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and the third Tuesday of the month from 5-7 p.m. For more information, visit www.mothership.hackermoms.org.
What is HackerMoms?

Officially, we’re the world’s first women’s hacker space. A lot of moms refer to it as their second living room. Plus, we have childcare available. It’s great if you need a couple of hours a week to focus on your hobby or your business. We support a lot of entrepreneurial endeavors. HackerMoms is unique in that we’re an amalgamation of maker space and co-working space.
How many moms are there? What do they do?

We have 25 active members, and another dozen or so who are not using the space every day. There are a lot of artists and writers, creative professionals, a few designers. A few are starting or continuing businesses. It ranges from artists to entrepreneurs to hobbyists.
What does it cost?

Dues are $80 a month, and we have partial scholarships available. Childcare is $36 per month for four three-hour sessions, or $3 an hour. If a sitter is going to be there, there’s drop-in care for $13 for a three-hour session.
What has having this space meant for you?

It has been a really great community. I feel like I have expanded my horizons as far as other art forms and creative endeavors, and it has inspired an interest in entrepreneurship. … HackerMoms has given me the tools to hack my life to accommodate my family and work.
We’re a great resource for moms, and dads, too. We’re here to combat the isolation and stagnation that parenthood can bring. … We hear a lot that people do put aside their dreams, that “you can have it all, but not all at once.” We tend to attract a membership who are trying to make a better mix of their family lives and their creative lives.
 Janine DeFao is an associated editor at Bay Area Parent.


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