What is your Mission?
To give mothers of every gender the time and space to explore DIY craft and design, hacker/maker culture, entrepreneurship, and all manner of creative expression with childcare. To teach children the creative process through Hacker Sprouts, our educational childcare program. With on-site childcare and hands-on community workshops for adults and kids, HackerMoms creates families that build together.
What is a hackerspace?
Like hackerspaces the world over, we’re a membership-based, community-operated creative space where do-it yourselfers share tools, intelligence and community. Hacker/maker culture and values support open source, peer-learning, shameless amateurism and unabashed dabbling, dilletantism, experimentation and healthy failures in hacking yourself and your subject.
As the first women’s hackerspace, we are a unique tribe in the hacker community. HackerMoms is founded on the idea that mothers need a creative outlet and stimulating environment of encouragement, support and permission to explore. We also provide the option of low-cost or free childcare at our meetings and workshops. As women and mothers, we will redefine hacking and making.
Hacking is a general term that means modifying an object or idea to fit your own needs. You can hack a recipe, a computer program, or in our case, we hacked a hackerspace to suit mothers. (Note: Hackers are not necessarily cyber-criminals. Those folks are known as computer crackers.)
A HackerMom is a woman with children who is as restless and curious as her children. That may be you: Creative, curious, inventive, indie, artsy/craftsy/ designy/techy, visionary, outspoken, scrappy, superhot, hands-on, badass mover and maker of any age.
Some think that you have to be an artist or a computer programmer to be a HackerMom, but that’s not necessarily true. Maybe you have a project (or a hundred) in mind. Maybe you crave the support of a community or want a hobby. Maybe you want to reinvent yourself by hacking your life.
Others think that you have to be a mom to be a HackerMom. That’s not necessarily true either. We are not gender-exclusive. We do hope the title “HackerMom” offers a positive alternative to other female archetypes, like “desperate housewife,” “soccer mom,” “long-suffering martyr“ and “ruthless career girl.” One day, our kids will proudly say, “My mom’s a HackerMom!”
Yes. HackerMoms is open to moms of any gender. We have members who are hacker dads and non-moms. For all moms, dads and non-moms, we handle membership on a case by case basis. Like joining any community, membership is based on chemistry, culture and tolerance. In short, HackerMoms can be anyone who’s comfortable with the culture – and patient enough to handle the chaos! Visit our weekly open houses to meet us.
Our babysitters will watch children aged 5 months to 6 years old who play well with others. We do our best to offer members free childcare on weekdays. If free weekday childcare isn’t possible, we swing into freestyle, co-op childcare mode or hire paid sitters for an affordable cost. On weekends and evenings, childcare is $5 per hour per child for everyone with an RSVP. Our insurance requires that parents stay on site, so we have a no-drop-off policy.
Childcare is a permeable door where kids are allowed to float between their room and ours. HackerMoms model active creative lives for our kids. Therefore, it is important for them to be present, explore and create alongside us.
Our most important tool is a fully outfitted childcare room with babysitters. Our other equipment includes an Epson Stylus Pro 9880 large format industrial printer, a Juki industrial sewing machine, a standard Brother sewing machine, a screenprinting setup with light table, a mold-making vacuum, some smaller power tools and some computers. We are continuing to build our workshop of tools and equipment. If you would like to donate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For heavy-duty power tools, members go to our partner hackerspace, Ace Monster Toys up the street in Oakland, who have a CNC machine, laser cutter, makerbots, 3D printers, a full woodshop and electronics lab and lots more cool stuff.
What kinds of workshops do you have?
We offer workshops lead by peers and experts. We also offer labs where no one is an expert and we hack an area of interest together as a group. Sometimes we invite speakers. We also have ongoing clubs, like Failure Club, a writers club and a critique group for the artists. We’ve created a business incubator that offers support for members starting new businesses and careers post-motherhood.
We are developing a new Hacker Sprouts educational childcare program for young makers in training. Kids aged 6 months to 5 years are given early exposure to science, technology, engineering, art and math (STEAM curriculum). Classes have so far been Toddler Tech and African Dance, with Legos Pre-engineering, digital music-making, and puppet-making coming up.
Hacker Sprouts childcare is for members’ kids and happens on-site in a hands-on Montessori environment. Weekend workshops are offered to both members and community. We are dedicated to helping children develop early creative lives, and including them in our own.
For kids age 7+, our partner hackerspace, Ace Monster Toys up the street in Oakland, has an terrific Hacker Scouts program for engineering, building and robotics.
You’re rad, can we just donate to your non-profit, volunteer-run hackerspace?
Darling, where have you been our lives! Please feel free to stuff our giant pink bra when you visit or use our handy donate button on our website. We also accept donations of tools, equipment and art/craft supplies. Please email us first about equipment as we are tight for space. On top of our dream list: a laser cutter, 3-D printer and a great venue to throw a fundraiser to help pay for one of our most important tools: on-site educational childcare.
How do I become a member?
See our Membership page for full details.