In 2016, another parent confided to Rosemarie that she was leveraging Uber to transport her child from school to extracurricular activities.They discussed how stressful this was for her and how it was unfortunate there wasn’t a platform or a service where parents could offer these types of services for each other. So was born Mashtopatoes, a platform centered around parents/neighbors enabling parents of the same school/community to offer each other transportation and or care related services for their children.

Rosemarie holds a pharmacy doctor degree and completed a residency training in Evanston Northwestern Healthcare. She currently resides in Naperville with her husband and two children.

Make sure to read till the end to know more about Mashtopatoes and how Rosemarie achieves work-life balance as a working mother herself.

1.Tell us a brief background of Mashtopatoes.

Mashtopatoes was started out of a need. I recognized from being a mother of two children, without having any family members close to where I lived, just how important help can be in living a fulfilling life. Also, other mothers I met confirmed my thoughts.  An example that stuck with me was a mom I knew that would use Uber to transport her children to extracurricular activities.  She shared how stressful this was for her and how good it would be if there was a service available that could connect parents. These experiences and observations made me realize the power available to us within communities to help support and  work with one another in many aspects of life, even raising children.  Thus my initiative of Mashtopatoes was created.

2. How’s the experience running Mashtopatoes?

It has been a great experience to be able to help families connect with other families so they can help each other.

3. How many Mashtopatoes members do you have up to date? Can you tell us the selection process and qualification requirements of becoming a provider and to those who needs help?

  • So far we have over 65 providers in the Naperville South area, we have neighbors that can provide babysitting/care, carpooling/transportation, pet sitting/pet walking, tutoring, elderly companion, run errands, yard work and much more!
  • Our current selection process is open to the entire neighborhood, we do offer a background check and Motor vehicle record check as options, if parents would like to vet the candidate first.
  • We are currently working on a responsive website where users can create a profile, select services they can provide, get background and MVR (motor- vehicle record) checks, message parents, get reviews/recommendations, and receive payments on our secure platform. Once our website is done, we plan to expand to other neighborhoods, extracurricular center, sports teams, churches, etc.

4. How is your local community responding with the types of services that you offer? Do you have rates for the services offered?

The local community is responding very well, here some reviews:

  • Mashtopatoes is a unique and one of a kind service and I’m so excited we have something like this in our community! I have a crazy,busy schedule this summer and I needed help covering a few shifts for my son’s swim meets. I contacted Mashtopatoes and within a day, Rosemarie Rutecki, had all my shifts covered. She was fast, efficient, and her service took away my stress! Thank you, Mashtopatoes, I highly recommended your service to anyone who is looking for help! Deeba P.
  • Love this new service that is available in my community. As I was in need of child care, I reached out to Mashtopatoes and within a day I was given three reputable contacts. I will certainly use again for other needs such as pet sitting, etc. Danielle B.

We are offering an open market, every neighbor is free to choose their own rates.

5. What’s the short term and long term plans of Mashtopatoes?

  • Short term, we are focusing in offering the best service within our neighborhood
  • Long term, we see this initiative within every community, helping parents, neighbors and teenagers to empower each other.

6. Do you have plans of branching out to other communities? 

Yes, we do have plans to branch out in the future.

7. You have seen your community helped one another, how does it feel?

The feeling I get when I connect families is amazing. It does not feel like work to me, as the gratitude I receive is almost payment enough.

8. Who/ What inspired you to start this organization and what made you decide to create one?

Who/ What inspired me:

  • The children who were not able to participate in extracurricular activities because of a transportation issue.
  • The children walking to and from school alone because parents are working.
  • The parents struggle with bringing their children to and from different venues and the daily life load associated with that.
  • The stay at home moms (and dads) lacking an associated income to reward them for all the hard work they do on a daily basis.
  • The teenagers not being able to find flexible job opportunities that can
    accommodate their school activities/ schedule.
  • The fact that there is 31 million mothers with children under 18 years old in the US, 10.4 million of them are stay at home. There has been an increase in stay at home moms,  Pew’s analysis attributes the increase to a number of factors, including increased number of moms who can’t find a job, an increase in immigrant mothers, and increased childcare costs.
  • The fact that 4.9% (11 million) of working US adults have more than one job, Bureau of Labor Statistics.

9. You are also a working mother yourself, what are the tips that you can share in order to achieve a work-life balance?

  • This is a tough one, I learned to be ok with doing what I can each day.  In the past, I would put too much pressure on myself and end up going to bed stressed out from unfinished tasks.
  • Prioritizing what needs to get done first was an important step in achieving that work/ life balance.
  • Being present with my family.
  • Setting aside time for myself to focus on my highest values.
  • Being grateful for everything I have, our health, my children, my husband, my family and my friends

10. Lastly, what are the things we need in order to build a strong and helpful community?

We need to be more aware and connected.  I feel we get so focus on problems and work that we forget to be present. We need to be open to receive and to give to others, I believe that’s the key.