FAQ

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. 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.

 

What is hacking?

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.)

 

Who is a HackerMom?

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.

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!”

 

Can dads and non-moms be HackerMoms?

HackerMoms is open to moms of any gender. 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.

 

How does childcare work?

Our babysitters will watch children aged 5 months to 6 years old who play well with others. Childcare is offered for a nominal hourly fee, which essentially is a split of the sitter’s fee across the kids signed up. If childcare isn’t possible, we’ve been known to swing into freestyle, co-op childcare mode. 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.

 

What kinds of equipment do you have?

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, and some smaller power tools. We are continuing to build our workshop of tools and equipment. If you would like to donate, please email info@hackermoms.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 led 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, Unfinished Objects (a craft 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.

Workshops have included How to Start Your Etsy Store, Coding HTML/CSS/Javascript in a Day, Palette Structures, Wills and Estate Planning, Ergonomics for Mothers, Resin Art, Bookmaking, Terrariums, Homeschooling 101, Natural Playscapes, Math Club, Drama-Free Sleep for Babies and Kids, making hula hoops and, of course, Breastmilk Baby Lotion. We are always looking for new ideas, instructors and opportunities. Email info@hackermoms.org to teach.

 

You’re rad, can we just donate to your non-profit, volunteer-run hackerspace?

We accept donations of tools, equipment and art/craft supplies. Please email us first about equipment as we are tight for space.

 

How do I become a member?
See our Membership Info page for full details.