This morning I am getting ready to head to Rena's Fine Flowers on Beekman Street with another volunteer to help pick out flowers for the Children's Museum at Saratoga Birthday Bash, happening at Saratoga National on March 9th. It's going to be an amazing party, and I hope all of you can attend. Besides being a fun night out, this "party" is a huge, HUGE fundraiser for the museum, and your ticket price helps to pay for programs and improvements at the museum, and it is money that they museum would otherwise not have.
The museum board, which I am on, is made up of volunteers, who give hours upon hours of their time to help make the museum something great for families in our area. All around town there are boards, and committees, and groups of volunteers who are donating their time to helping local non-profits and organizations and events survive and thrive.
Besides the board and committee members, there are hardworking staff that help out with extra hours of work. There are countless local businesses who donate goods and services time and time again, and there are many individuals who donate their own time to volunteer and money to attend the events. These "parties" are vital fundraisers for these organizations, and the party is a way of thanking their supporters, and celebrating everyone's hard work, and of course, to raise funds.
Last summer, along with my friend Robin, I took a job as a reporter for the Saratogian, albeit one for the "social column". Not very hard hitting journalism, I realize that. But, it was a job that paid well, and one that fit nicely into my schedule, and is a way that I help support my family. I could put the kids down for bed and then head out to do my job (my third job, actually, fourth if you count teaching yoga). It might not LOOK like a job, but it is a job, just like a teacher, or a nurse, or a salesperson and it is hard work, especially in the summer. It can mean long hours out and on my feet, and long hours writing. But I'm lucky in that it's a job that I love doing, I love meeting new people, I love being able to highlight the people who work hard on these events, and I love writing. I also love this community that we live in, and being able to give back or help out in any way is something that I jump at the chance to do.
However, unfortunately, there is negativity surrounding this, which I find really frustrating. I have gotten negative comments about being "too social" and being too focused on social events and that I am not focused on family enough. To that I can only respond with, would you say the same thing about a reporter that was focused on business news? Would you say that to a nurse who worked the same amount of hours that I did? No, you would not. So calling someone out for having a job, albeit a "fluff one" like a social reporter, is just the same as calling any woman out for having a job outside of the home, and is not tolerated here at Mamatoga.
The second aspect of that is, should moms not be allowed to go out and have fun? Because I do that too. I go to Paint and Sip with friends, I have dinners out with Sean, I do go to actual parties that I am not paid to be at. Is that a crime against being a mother? Should we not allow ourselves to have a little fun even though we are parents? If it's done in a responsible way and your children are safe at home, I don't see anything wrong with wanting to get out once in a while and relax. I've been barefoot and pregnant for a large part of my adulthood already, I also like the wearing nice shoes and having a glass of champagne part too.
That being said, I want to express to everyone out there again that these parties are more than just parties. They are fundraisers, and everyone is welcome to attend and help support these organizations. The Hattie's Mardi Gras this Saturday is going to help raise funds to keep the NYC Ballet at SPAC this summer. The Saratoga Hospital Benefit raises funds for, you guessed it, the hospital. A pretty important part of our community, no? The Skidmore Palamountain benefit raises money for scholarships, the White Party raises money for Saratoga Bridges, Denim and Diamonds raises money for children of backstretch workers. Margie Rotchford has a party every summer that raises money for Medical Missions for Children, the Models, Music, Mingling and More event raises money for the Saratoga Senior Center. Ask any of these organizations what they would do without these fundraisers. Being the reporter who covers these events helps bring more attention to them, which in turn helps bring more attendees or donations, which in turn helps them to raise money. The people who put these events together work very very hard, and it shows.
I realize a lot of these events can be expensive to attend if you've got kids at home and have to pay for a sitter. However, there are some that turn out to be just the same cost as going out for dinner and drinks with the husband, but this way, you get to have a great meal, have some drinks, dance, hang out with friends, AND donate that money to a great cause. You can be involved with the community, helping to support important organizations. So think about it. Maybe you'll come to Hattie's Mardi Gras, maybe you'll come hang out with me at the Children's Museum Birthday Bash. Or maybe you just won't pass judgment on these parties or people who work for them, because they are just doing a job, or giving their time for free. Everything is worth taking a second look at before you make your decision, and I appreciate you all taking the time to read this. Love you guys. xoxo