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Nobody can prepare you for being a parent - both how wonderful it is and how much work it really is. Seven years ago, I left my full-time job as a brand manager to move with my husband and four-month-old son from New York to San Francisco. In an effort to re-establish myself, I joined the local moms groups, went to parenting meet-ups and signed up for a co-op preschool. I met amazing mom friends, many who also gave up their careers for the joys of family and kids. We learned from each other, supported each other and brainstormed ideas together to make our lives as parents better. This experience was a large part of what inspired me to launch a start-up.
Staying at home - my most challenging job ever
Being a stay at home mom somehow became the most challenging job I'd ever known. In many ways, I worked harder for my little munchkin than I have ever done for myself. San Francisco was beautiful but competitive, especially for kids' education. I went through an alpha mom phase, calling school directors to convince them that my little 3-year-old was the perfect fit for their preschool. I wouldn't accept no for an answer.
It was amazing to watch my son grow, but the complexity of our life grew as he did. His circle of friends grew, as did the number of playdates, plus the school and after-school activities. Everyone's schedules became increasingly hectic and our family calendar was an unmanageable mess. I talked to my friends, and of course, I was not alone. Other moms were struggling through their daily routines with kids, work, school volunteering and trying to have a personal life.
Our collective mom fear
During these early mom years I was constantly thinking through business ideas that could help make parenting easier. I brainstormed with other moms but never found the right time nor the right partner to execute these ideas. One issue, though, seemed to resonate globally, and I carried it with me. It was the simple fear every mom I knew had: that everlasting worry of forgetting something. We joked about forgetfulness and our failing memories since childbirth, but no one wanted to be the one to blank out on something important. This was a problem I wanted to help tackle.
Something in the air in Silicon Valley
Next for our family, as fate would have it, was another move - to Silicon Valley, the land of startups. Just as my ideas about a parenting product were starting to crystalize, the timing was also right for me to go back to work. But finding a flexible job, with time for my son and school involvement, seemed impossible. Meanwhile, chaos in our new house and especially on my kitchen island sent me to a tipping point. I was mixing up my scribbled to-do lists, shopping lists and appointments with my son's precious artwork. Scattered communication and calendar issues with my husband pushed me over the edge. I knew what was needed to bring peace of mind back to our family: One place where my husband and I could capture and share our daily family life. Suddenly, the Hapimomi app was born. We conceived a safe and private place for a family to share their special moments during the day, plan family activities in a shared calendar, access a contact list with each other's family, friends and emergency phone numbers, shared shopping and to-do-lists and a special place to store our kids' memorable comments and pictures in a personal diary.
The perfect business partner
Perhaps the best thing that happened along this journey was that I also found a partner who was as passionate about this project as me: my husband. He was living and breathing the same pain points - from the communication breakdowns to our organizational chaos. He needed this as much as I did. My husband actually came up with our product name 'Hapimomi' because with this new venture, he finally came home to a 'hapi' mom. For the past year, my husband and I sat down together every night and drafted the perfect app for busy families.
So this is Hapimomi and our story, a family story. Please share with me your ideas about what would help you be a hapi-er family!