Editor's Note: I met Sarah when I was pregnant almost two years ago, and even though we'd just met I reached out to her when I got a scary diagnosis and hoped to find other moms with similar experience. In her capacity as a leader for La Leche League she instantly found someone else who'd gone through the same thing and connected us, which was a huge help (and relief). I was so grateful for her support and I'm excited to share her story here as the latest entry in Mama's of SF! -Lesly
Name (and age if you choose to share)
Sarah Quigley, 38
Neighborhood you live in and your hometown
I've been in the Richmond District for eight years. I'm originally from Litchfield, Minnesota, a tiny town out in the cornfields.
Tell me about yourself.
I am a language junkie and did my undergraduate degree in Russian at Carleton College and then a master’s in English as a Second Language (ESL) from the University of Minnesota. I have taught at several universities in New York and San Francisco, most recently writing courses at USF.
I used to be an avid blogger, and in 2005, my blog caught the attention of an editor at Penguin. She asked me if I was interested in writing a young adult novel (!), and in 2009, my first book, TMI, hit the shelves. I would like to write more novels but have focused on motherhood the past few years. My husband, David, and I have two daughters.
When I'm not picking Mr. Potato Head parts out of my shoes and cleaning yogurt smears off my jeans, I like to do Zumba, go running in Golden Gate Park, experiment with new recipes, and watch Survivor and Downton Abbey. I also still occasionally pick up a book! The last thing I read was Orange is the New Black.
I am passionate about breastfeeding and became a La Leche League Leader in 2010. I offer information and support to local mothers and love being part of such a wonderful community!
I call myself an accidental Californian. My husband and I moved to San Francisco in 2002, looking for a new adventure. We arrived in the city without jobs or a place to live. I thought that our stay here would be a brief pit stop before going back to the Midwest to buy a house and raise a family. Now it would be very difficult to leave. San Francisco is home.
Tell me about your kids—how many, ages, interests and activities.
Charlotte is six and about to enter first grade. She is a lot like me, a total bookworm who also spends hours at her desk drawing and writing. She'd be happy if I took her swimming and let her watch musicals every day. Her special talent is finding snails in Golden Gate Park.
If Charlotte is Beezus, then my younger daughter Katherine is Ramona: messy, loquacious, and completely charming! At three and a half, she is enjoying preschool and becoming a big girl. She also has an artistic bent and is particularly skilled at drawing insects.
What's one tip you have for parents raising kids in San Francisco?
Seek out free fun! People often talk about how expensive it is to live in the City, but there are so many free and low-cost activities for children. My girls love exploring the trails behind Julius Kahn Playground, making fairy houses in the pine cone forest near Baker Beach, and catching critters in Golden Gate Park. We had a blast this summer with the free programs at the public library. When my girls were toddlers, we frequented the local recreation center’s Tot Gym, which cost just a few dollars.
Please share your favorite stroller friendly restaurant in SF, and your favorite non-food place to take kids!
Bill’s Place on 24th and Clement is our favorite family restaurant. They have great burgers and the chocolatiest milk shakes! The Academy of Sciences is probably my favorite non-food spot for family fun. We have been members since Charlotte was a baby and never get tired of it. (And okay, I do love the café there.)
In one word, how would you describe raising children in San Francisco?