We’ve talked about the importance of building your village, and the many reasons why connecting with other parents is so important. If you’re an introvert like me (Marissa), even having just one or two meaningful relationships with other like-minded moms is hugely beneficial.
That said, building your village has become waaaaaay more difficult over the past couple of years, thanks to the pandemic. By nature, the postpartum period is already a very isolating time fraught with roller coaster emotions, and, unfortunately, the pandemic only exacerbated this.
Perhaps you have tried to overcome the disconnection by meeting up with smaller groups outside, or joining a virtual “new parent” group or two, but let’s be honest: this isn’t what new parenthood is supposed to feel like. Humans were never meant to raise children alone, in a vacuum, so detached from others.
But now, as we continue to move through the Covid era with the knowledge that this virus isn’t going anywhere, it’s crucial that new moms and dads stop doing new parenthood in solitude. Sure, it may take a little more work to find your people — particularly if you’re one of the first of your friends to have a child — but for your mental health and overall well being, it’s incredibly important to build your village.
But perhaps you just moved to a new place — or maybe you live in a more rural area where there simply aren’t groups of new moms hanging out at parks or nearby coffee shops, chatting each other up while their babes sleep soundly.
How, then, are you supposed to meet these elusive “parent friend” people?
You don’t want to feel like you’re “dating” moms (looking for the most eligible mom-friend candidates — she has to have a baby relatively the same age, she should live somewhat close to you for convenient get-togethers, you should probably have a shared interest or two… ). We’re all in this together, and generally we are all looking for the same thing: a friend who “gets it.”
This brings us to…
ParentQuest — Parent Group Finder Tool
We are on a quest to create a robust parent group finder tool; a central database where anyone anywhere can find a parent group near them, but we need your help!
Since there is no systematic way to search for local mom/parent groups, especially smaller groups, we’re asking for your submissions. Whether you belong to (or know of) a parent group that is centered around nursing, fitness, buying/selling, dads, LGBTQ, or just a good old-fashioned mom’s meetup, please tell us about it so we can add it to our database (you can submit as many as you like!).
Here is the current iteration of our tool. To find groups near you, please enter the closest city to where you live and click on the pin for the results:
If you can’t find what you’re looking for, here are some other ways to search:
If you’re in a small town or in the sticks, you may have to get a little creative. There is no single go-to organization, but, in addition to our new ParentQuest tool, the following resources should help the vast majority of you locate an in-person new parent group:
The hospital or birthing center where your baby was born — they usually offer nursing support groups that are the perfect places to meet other moms with babies your age.
— Google: “New moms/parents group _________ (your city/town)”
— Local libraries and bookstores usually have infant story times.
— Meetup.com — Tip: Search for “moms”, “dads” or “parenting”
— MOPS (Moms of Preschoolers) — Don’t worry, it’s not just for preschoolers!
— La Leche League — In person nursing support groups available in some areas. Or click here for La Leche League’s International Private Facebook Page.
— Fit4Mom — Moms who love working out will enjoy this one. Search for a Fit4Mom group near you, head out with baby in tow, and get a great workout while bonding with baby and meeting new friends. Bonus: it’s super fun! (Marissa, Melissa and Meg did this after giving birth to their first kids, and met tons of other moms… and got back in shape, too). Tip: A jogging stroller comes in handy, here.
— Hike it Baby — Sticking with the fitness theme, search for a Hike it Baby chapter near you, and sign up for a fun hike for you and your baby (or bring the whole family). The goal? Getting outside and into nature with your little one, while meeting others who also like to do the same. You’ll be amazed how easy it is to start chatting once you hit the trail.
— City Dads Group — City Dads Group has chapters in many of the major U.S. cities, and offers organized meet-ups — sometimes with the kiddos, and other times just for the dads — from park playdates, to sporting events, to zoo outings, to happy hours, and more.
— Music Together — A global parent-child music class. Music Together feels that music and rhythm are universal languages and being exposed to music from birth enriches early childhood development. These weekly classes are great fun and help you connect with other parents in your neighborhood.
— Boot Camp for New Dads — Offered in 44 states, Canada and the U.K. (and virtually as well), this group is run by “veteran” dads, for “rookie” dads. Its mission is to offer support, guidance, and a sense of community and camaraderie among new fathers, and help them feel confident navigating their new role as “dad.”
These apps have moved beyond online dating to help you find other like-minded parents near you. Don’t be shy, this is the new age we live in 🙂
— Peanut — Like Tinder for new moms! Swipe up to meet other like-minded moms in your area. Sounds so Millennial and cool.
— The Mom Center — This is a a website and app that connects you with other moms, offers daily self-care tips, community “video chat” calls with other mamas, and so much more. It was created by mom and certified life coach, Graeme Seabrook.
— Social.Mom — This is a “social network for moms” where you can meet other mamas in your area, find and create meet-ups or activities, and even enjoy special deals just for moms posted by local businesses and “mompreneurs”.
See also: Where’s the App to make dad friends?
— Facebook Groups — A quick FB search will help you find local mom or parenting groups, or search for very specific types of FB groups tailored to your unique interests/needs (i.e. Stay at Home Moms, Working Moms, Moms who Hate to Cook, Moms with Colicky Babies, Moms with Special Needs Kids, Moms of Multiples, etc.).
And for the daddies out there, Dad’s Only is a private FB group where guys can discuss all things fatherhood; with approximately 93,000 members, it’s one of the largest dads-only FB groups out there.
Also, check out…
— Fatherly — It’s like Lucie’s List… but for the dads! This website is chock-full of parenting content geared towards fathers, ranging from the “trying to conceive” and newborn stages all the way through the teenage years. Fatherly also offers awesome content on topics such as health, science, love, relationships, money and more.
— Dad Verb — Created by Andrew Tiu, Dad Verb was born (pun intended — hehe) when Tiu became a father and realized just how sparse the web content geared towards dads was. The Dad Verb YouTube channel and corresponding Instagram account offer a ton of videos and vlogs for new dads on topics such as gear guides, toy and baby tech reviews, new parenting advice, dad life stories, and more.
Picking up Chicks on Aisle 12. My husband jokes that he can’t take me anywhere without me picking up women. It’s true. If I strike up a conversation with a mom I think is cool and has a kid my age, damn right I’m gonna ask her out on a mom-date. (It’s funny, I get all nervous: Should I wait three days before calling her? Will she date me again?)Meg
No luck? Don’t fret. Start your own village! Try making a post on your local listserv or FB neighborhood group.
So don’t be shy; you’d be surprised how many other women are in the same boat. Go to the cafe, the library, or the park… wherever! Even if you don’t meet anyone, it’s still good for you to get out of the house and get some fresh air. And hey, a little caffeine wouldn’t hurt either.