We are happy to introduce you to Jenny, AKA Hintmama. She’s a San Francisco rookie mom to young toddler, Hannah. As of the time of this interview, Hannah was 13 months old. Before entering the corporate world two years ago, she wrote about consumer finance for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.
How did your previous jobs prepare you OR NOT for parenthood? Being a reporter taught me how to conduct research well and digest information from multiple sources really quickly, a skill that has come in handy when trying to figure out everything from getting my daughter on a sleep schedule to transitioning her to solid food. However, my prior jobs did not prepare me for the reality of having a newborn that could barely hold her head up. Before having my daughter, I hadn’t been around an infant since my brothers were babies.
What neighborhood are you in and what is it known for? I live in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco. It’s known for a 70-acre very dog-friendly park filled with hiking trails up to the Diamond Heights neighborhood of the city (and one of the trails leads up to a Diamond Heights playground). The park is currently undergoing renovations to create a new playground and tennis court, among other upgrades, but don’t let the construction stop you from enjoying a stroll through this little bit of nature within the city.
What’s something about your life as a parent in the Bay Area that you think is notable to your friends in other cities? That we can drive to many of our country’s top vacation spots. My daughter has already enjoyed weekend road trip getaways to Carmel Valley and Lake Tahoe, and day trips to Half Moon Bay and Sausalito. Places we hope to take family car trips to in the next year include Sonoma County and Paso Robles.
Favorite activity or place for 1:1 time with your daughter? Hannah loves dogs right now (“ruff ruff,” she calls them) so lately I love taking her to Glen Canyon Park, where we sit and watch the many dogs go by with their owners.
Favorite date night? Seeing a movie out at a theater such as the the Kabuki Theater (which serves alcohol!). I love getting my popcorn fix while escaping into a movie for a few hours, though this kind of date night doesn’t allow much time for my husband and me to talk. For conversations, I like dinners out. We had a great night last week when we enjoyed some tacos and margaritas at Tacolicious in the Mission district, a great date, or family dinner, spot if you get there early enough to avoid the crowds. Unfortunately, we don’t do date nights as often as we’d like.
Favorite baby-style birthday party? The bubble-themed backyard 1st birthday party I recently threw for my daughter was affordable and a hit. And I’m particularly proud of the favors, which were little bubble jars and wands with a sign saying “Thanks for popping by. Love, Hannah.” However, if I were to do it again, I probably would have ordered in food rather than doing the barbecuing ourselves (the lesson I learned: cooking for a crowd and entertaining is hard to do when you also have a baby to watch).
Favorite weekend ritual? Most every Saturday morning at 9 a.m., you can find me at a Baby Boot Camp class in Noe Valley. I generally don’t bring my daughter anymore since it’s during her nap time, but I love that it’s an exercise class where bringing her is an option for those mornings when she doesn’t nap. Plus, the other moms in the class are a great resource for getting parenting advice.
What is a great kid-friendly feature of your urban neighborhood? Our local library is a fun free hangout spot for little kids (you can find my daughter there most late afternoons) with a big children’s book section. And every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m., it offers a free story time and playtime for kids.
FavoriteÂ family dinner out? Kama Sushi on Church St. in the Noe Valley neighborhood of San Francisco. The three of us are regulars at this little sushi spot, whose happy hour menu is a great deal.
Favorite children’s store? Peekabootique (also in in Noe Valley) offers a nice mix of new and used children’s clothing and toys, and my daughter loves to hang out there and play (which the store is nice enough to let her do).
Favorite way to treat yourself? Treating myself to a massage (at Burke Williams in downtown San Francisco when I want to splurge or more regularly at the more affordable East-West Integrative Medicine Clinic ”“ whose $85 60-minute massage is a great deal — in my Glen Park neighborhood).
Amazing class or program your child has taken/been a part of? We both love theÂ Music TogetherÂ seriesÂ of classes. We’re now on our third semester of these sing along classes that aim to help develop children’s music skills through parent and child participation. Before becoming a parent, I never would have thought I would have been a fan of a class where all the parents have to sing (I’m tone deaf, according to my not-tone-deaf husband), but this is my favorite class to attend with my daughter. The teachers are great and my daughter loves music and dancing now, something I credit to this class.
Thanks again, Jenny, for sharing with us! Jennifer Saranow Schultz, a writer based in San Francisco, is the founder of HintMama.com, a new blog where she’s reporting the best hints she comes across for making parenting easier and cheaper (and maybe a bit more humorous).