By Annie Rosemurgy | Photographed by Hillary Schave on location at Hilton Madison Monona Terrace
New motherhood brings with it highs and lows—first smiles and first steps alongside a fair share of dirty diapers and sleepless nights. Danielle Smith is all for getting real about parenthood, and this means acknowledging the joys of the job right alongside the hardships.
As a professional woman and mom herself, Smith knows firsthand the struggles of balancing work, social life and family. Outings that seem easy and fun before children, she says, like going to yoga or grabbing an after-work beer, require logistics and effort with kids. “It can start to feel like staying home on the couch is just easier,” Smith says.
But instead of staying home on that proverbial couch, Smith began to dream. “I began dreaming of a place where I could go have the opportunities I was craving—a chance to socialize, learn new hobbies, make new friends, spend time with my husband. At this place there would be high quality child care on-site so I knew my son was safe and having fun, and I could fully relax into a restorative experience,” she says.
When she mentioned these ideas to friends with young children their enthusiastic response sealed the deal. In 2019 ParentSquad, an on-site, professional, mobile child care business was born. “Danielle identified a need from her own life and made it a reality for Madison moms,” says Ashley Quinto Powell, co-founder of Mishkalo wedding registry.
Part event organizer, part pop-up child care provider, ParentSquad is ready for a big 2020. One priority will be promoting a variety of social events with childcare, including the ParentSquad Date Night Club which treats Madison parents to a monthly night out at a restaurant or fun location like a bowling alley or spa, while taking the headache out of finding a sitter. She’s also looking to partner with companies who are interested in offering social events with child care as a corporate perk for employees, along with other local event organizers who wish to offer on-site child care at corporate events, conferences and festivals.
Close to her heart is a final goal for the year ahead, to organize regularly scheduled networking meetings for parents—time and space to connect with one another and build social and professional bonds, again complete with child care.
“She wants people to be connected because she knows communities thrive and families do better when we really do live out the saying ‘It takes a village,’” says Cristen Incitti, 2019 Woman to Watch and chief operating officer of the Girl Scouts of Wisconsin.