Rachael Steidl, a mother of three and longtime resident of Santa Barbara, created SBParent.com as a way for families to stay connected with their community through active events, local businesses, and peer blogs. The success of this networking website has inspired Rachael to expand her business nationally and has encouraged mothers to live fit and healthy lives for themselves and for their families.
Occupation: Founder/Owner of ParentClick, Inc. and SBParent.com.
Resident of Santa Barbara since: 1973– I grew up in Santa Barbara.
Favorite Local Restaurant: I am a huge sushi fan and love Arigato.
Music I am currently listening to: It seems every time I get to listen to music, it is either the Disney Channel on XM Radio or my kids High School Musical CD. Sad but true — I could not even tell you who the current groups are.
My idea of a dream vacation: The quote on our “travel with kids” section on ParentClick.com is, “A trip is something that you take with your kids and a vacation is something you take with your spouse.” So my dream vacation would be with my husband in any tropical area that has a great spa, beachfront, and great drinks where we can read, exercise and play for 10 days. No television, phones or computers!
Where I see myself in ten years: On a beach in the Caribbean. Actually at that point my twins will be leaving for college and I will have one daughter left at home so my guess is that I will still be actively at work growing ParentClick, Inc. and staying involved in the community as a volunteer.
How I first became involved with SBParent.com: I started SBParent.com in 2002 when my twins were 3 year olds right after my youngest was born because I was frustrated at how hard it was to find simple resources for kids. Our goal was to create an affordable way for businesses and organizations to promote their services, which in turn would help parents by centralizing the information. It has grown over the years to include a great Classifieds section, a parent chat area, and an event calendar that includes anything for families in Santa Barbara County. What started out as a simple idea to centralize resources locally has grown into a business that combines both my work experience, my education and now my hands on experience as a mom.
Two years ago, we expanded the concept of SBParent.com nationally as ParentClick.com. We are currently in 17 cities and have expanded our services to include Children’s Book and Movie Reviews, Articles, a Recipe Club, Parenting blogs, and a Travel with Kids area.
My inspiration behind the Moms Fitness Challenge: Every year SBParent.com co-hosts the Mother’s Day 5/10K & Family Festival with Moms In Motion. This year after it was over, I thought about how exciting it is to see so many first time runners coming out with their kids and setting goals for themselves. Because of my own life and trying to balance work, kids and exercise — I thought it would be great to show moms how many ways there are to get in shape in Santa Barbara. We had over 95 moms apply.
SBParent.com matched 22 of them up with 12 different programs in Santa Barbara ranging from gyms to boot camps, to training teams. Each woman committed to 6 weeks in a program and wrote blogs about their experience weekly on ParentClick at http://www.parentclick.com/Blogger.html?id=36 These blogs have been inspiring for other moms because they help women think outside the box and realize that it is not the type of exercise you are doing but rather finding a program or exercise that works for you so that you stay motivated.
My greatest achievement with the Moms Fitness Challenge: We were so appreciative of the generosity from the 12 programs that committed their services and sponsored a woman to participate. The feedback from the women who have participated has been so rewarding. They have felt so much support both from the program that sponsored them, sbparent.com and the little extras like the Lucy store that gave each of them a gift certificate for workout clothing. Several of these women came out to join us in other local runs, walks on the beach, etc. In the late Fall, we are looking forward to doing our next Fitness Challenge but we will be expanding it to include dads as well.
My definition of “healthy”: An individual that has balance in his/her life which includes work, family, exercise and food. I think extremes in anything are unhealthy even when it comes to exercise. Exercising a few days a week and having a healthy diet while still enjoying fun foods and a glass of wine now and then to me is balance.
Why it’s important to include family with my fitness goals: I have been participating in a great boot camp the past 12 weeks and it has given me more energy and inspired me to be more active with my kids in other areas of my life.
As a parent, it is so important for us to set an example for our kids about exercise. It should not be viewed as a chore or a way to lose weight. It should be incorporated in a way that it is viewed as fun. Our 8-year old daughters participated in Junior Lifeguards this summer and it allowed them to build so much confidence and character. The best message I saw was that they learned it is not about competing against others or comparing yourself – it is about committing 100% and setting goals for yourself that make you feel good. For their doing ocean swims they came in the last heat but all they cared about was finishing and overcoming their fear of ocean swimming.
The most important message that I am trying to convey to parents of Santa Barbara: Sbparent.com is about giving parents choices. Parents can be overwhelmed by all the advice they are given and with all the “how to” information that is available. We believe that parents need to trust their instincts and make decisions based on what is best for their family. We work hard to provide resources, information and support that is well rounded because we believe there is not one “right way” to parent just like there is not one way to exercise.
The sort of changes I would like to see within the fitness community over the next ten years: I think we are so fortunate in Santa Barbara because we have great weather year round which allows us so many options for exercise and staying healthy. I think it’s great that we also offer community events and races that include the whole family. I would like to see the fitness community continue to provide options that appeal to all ages, abilities and sizes. Individuals who carry excess weight or are not in shape need to not feel intimidated in taking the first step in getting healthy. That is what I loved about the SBParent.com Fitness Challenge — it helped women take a risk in an area that is scary for them.
Please visit http://www.sbparent.com to read Rachael’s blogs and learn more about upcoming events.