The summer is quickly coming to an end. I can hardly believe the kids are back to school next week. One part of me feels like I spent a good amount of quality time with them, but the other part feels like I could’ve done more. I know I’m not alone here, and I also know that the “mom guilt” doesn’t serve me any good, but it’s hard to ignore. I understand that all I can do is be present when I have the time with them away from work, enjoy the time I have alone when I get it and cherish the time I have with my husband on date nights. Overall, I’m learning to be more present, but it’s difficult when I’m getting pulled in what feels like a million directions. 

To help families who relate to what I’m referring to, we applied and received a grant from Cottage Health to support family engagement. The first offering will be a series of field trips to places like the Moxi, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, and much more. Our staff has picked the dates, times and places where you can come with your children. We’ll be sharing more details soon. We’re doing the leg work; all we need you to do is show up with your child, or children, ready to have fun and be present.

At the Carpinteria Children’s Project, we also understand the importance of play, not just between children but between children and their parents. I recently watched a wonderful TedTalk, “How every child can thrive by five.” Not only was it impressive because a child delivered it, but it reminded me that a simple game of peek-a-boo could go a long way. If you have 10 minutes, I’d recommend you check this one out. It is also on our Facebook page. 

In addition to the funding for family field trips, we also received support for a parent and me yoga series, swim classes and parenting skills workshops – because we all know we could use the extra help with those toddlers. We hope that this will help families who are feeling like they want to spend more time with their children but can’t bring themselves to plan one more activity. 

In the meantime, remember to be present and enjoy this crazy ride called parenthood. We hope you’ll be able to join us for these activities. I look forward to seeing you there! 



Teresa Alvarez is the interim executive director of the Carpinteria Children’s Project. She has over a decade of experience in the nonprofit field and a passion for helping children and families. Teresa was born in Guanajuato, Mexico, and moved to the U.S. with her parents at age two. Growing up as an undocumented student, she learned the importance of having mentors, a strong work ethic and the value of education. Teresa holds a bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UCSB and a master’s degree in Psychology from Antioch Santa Barbara. She currently serves on the First 5 Santa Barbara Commission, is the Board Chair for Future Leaders of America, and a founding member of the Santa Barbara Latino Giving Circle. Teresa loves to travel, read and chase after her two boys.

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