By Jessica T
About this blog: I'm a late thirties mother of a ten-year-old and infant twins. My family moved to Menlo Park 6 years ago from Virginia - where I grew up, went to college, got married, had my first born, and got an MBA (in that order). I'm a manag... (More)
About this blog: I'm a late thirties mother of a ten-year-old and infant twins. My family moved to Menlo Park 6 years ago from Virginia - where I grew up, went to college, got married, had my first born, and got an MBA (in that order). I'm a manager at Google, Inc. (Please note: The views expressed in this blog are my personal views and not those of Google.) My husband grew up in Los Angeles and is a novelist and professor at San Jose State University. Our daughter attends the Menlo Park public schools, and I was a member of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation board for three years. I am now a board member for the Center for Literary Arts at SJSU. I struggled with secondary infertility for five years and recently conceived and delivered fraternal twins - a healthy baby girl and boy in May 2013. I've worked (and pursued my graduate degree) since my elder daughter was twelve weeks old. I supported my husband throughout his graduate education, and now I'm the primary breadwinner for our family. I have coped with the pressures and angst of what that means for many years. I am lucky to have a husband with a flexible schedule; he shoulders the lion's share of housework, cooking, and childcare in our home. I'm looking forward to engaging with men and women who can relate to the challenges of modern day life in Silicon Valley. (Hide)
View all posts from Jessica T
Must we fight for our right to party?
Uploaded: Sep 8, 2014
I miss a good party: a summer party with cold beers, twilight turned to darkness, ambient music, unexpected loose conversation. Or how about a brunch party with kids whizzing around, mimosas, bagels, and fruit? Maybe parties are what happens before you have kids - in college and graduate school. Maybe gathering an interesting group of one's friends, putting out a few drinks and snacks is too much trouble for anyone with kids, or maybe we're too busy?
There's another type of party that we've traded in the "invite your friends and have a good time" party for: the auction party. Many of our local public school districts raise money through private non-profit foundations, and one of the annual money-making events is the silent auction. I believe in quality public schools. As a former board member of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation, I understand that our schools have suffered from diminished state funding, and I've been very happy to donate so that children across the community can continue to benefit from art, music, and physical education classes.
But I've never been able to get behind the "auction party," even though I've supported my fair share of them (even recruited hosts for them) over the years. Parties can be for adults or children. They are supposed to be open to everyone, but actually they are only for the kids in the class whose parents can shell out the ticket price (as high as $60 per child). Occasionally I buy my daughter a spot so that she won't feel left out, but I often think about the kids whose parents can't afford it. I think about the kids who overhear conversations at school and know they won't be going.
Then there are the adult parties. These are over-orchestrated, high-stress affairs where the only link between the guests is that we coincidentally got pregnant during the same decade, live in the same community, and paid the same price for admission. They almost always devolve into heavy drinking to ensure that we all get good value for our donation.
Why do we stand for exclusive parties for children and (frankly) bad parties for adults? And if we all want to support the schools, why must we insist on getting something in return for our charity?
I don't plan to host or attend future auction parties. Instead, I plan on throwing good parties, lots of them. This fall, join me in hosting a real party, just for fun. Don't break your back and over-plan it, don't charge anyone to get in - just bring your friends together and open up your home. You'll know it's a good one if people linger too long, the kids are hyped up on sugar, and your friends break out their silliest dance moves.
Support the local schools too. Write them a check and buy your own drinks.
What is it worth to you?
Post a comment
Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.