Recently, I wrote about playgroups and how my local mothers’ club played such an important part in my transition to motherhood. What had set me to thinking about playgroups was a fantastic summit for local parent leaders that I had just attended.
The highlight of the summit for me was the keynote speaker, Kate Hoepke. She was a new mom in the mid-eighties and found solace in a small, local mothers’ group in Southern California. When her husband took a new job and they moved cross-country, she founded a new club along with a friend. She even wrote a book called Nurturing the Nurturers on how to found and run a mothers’ club. Another cross country move, this time to the San Francisco area, resulted in her helping to found over 40 Bay Area mothers’ clubs. FORTY CLUBS, including the one I belong to. It’s absolutely astonishing to think about the number of lives she’s reached through helping these clubs become a reality. How many moms got advice on pediatricians or preschools? How many babies learned to share with playgroup friends? How many moms felt less alone?
I was fortunate to get the chance to talk with Kate after her keynote. I’ll admit that I teared up when I thanked her for her work. It was obvious from her speech that she had made a lot of sacrifices to help build community for mothers, and I was grateful for the opportunity to offer my sincere thanks.
One of my oldest friends has started organizing "Babies and Brews" meet ups for new moms, dads and babies in Boston. Kate's work with mothers' clubs started casually and out of a personal desire for companionship. I can't help but wonder what kind of impact my friend may have on her larger community if she keeps these events going—and what potential lies in all of us when we set our heart to something.
Kate Hoepke’s full keynote is above. Her introduction starts at 7:40.