Finding the right parenting group can give you an instant social network to share the trials and tribulations of parenthood, especially as a new parent. Some mom groups plan events and get-togethers, some offer seminars and discussions and even classifieds where you can swap and sell baby gear, while others are just a place to connect with like-minded people.
We've pulled together a sampling of some of the city’s best neighborhood and citywide groups for moms and dads of every stripe. Frankly, there are so many great ones, we had a hard time whittling down the list. Most are free or include low annual dues. Read on for more details, and be sure to check out our NYC Baby Guide for more ideas for exploring and enjoying NYC from pregnancy to preschool.
Remember, this list is a sampling of some of the largest groups, but certainly not definitive. If you don’t see your neighborhood on our list, search the Yahoo Groups directory for your area (or interest), plus “parents." Also visit Meetup’s Parents & Family page or search Facebook groups. And remember, in NYC there's a specialty group for just about every family like a group for stepparents and another dedicated to holistic-minded families.
First Time Upper West Side Moms
Not just for first-time moms, this Upper West Side group welcomes dads too and includes more than 5,000 members and an email listserv where members exchange advice, ideas and post events. Annual membership is $10 and events, such as music classes, kiddie photo shoots, museum trips and more, are typically free or very low-cost.
Soho Parenting hosts groups that balance developmental information with guidance about the emotional work it takes to be a thoughtful parent, as well as being a place for parents to meet and form lasting friendships. Groups are monitored by a Soho Parenting counselor and organized by the ages of members’ children. There are regular blog posts about parenting issues, and the group also offers a variety of counseling opportunities.
For mostly Lower East Side and Soho moms, Bowery Babes organizes parties and potluck picnics in local parks and restaurants; art classes and excursions to museums and galleries; lectures on sleep and the environment; and occasional beauty days at Bloomingdale's Soho. The website contains passionate discussions about "alternative" lifestyle ideas, as well as green products. Free to join.
Hudson River Park Mothers Group organizes free play groups, as well as educational and social events for mothers, children, and families residing in Lower Manhattan. Group members have online forums, classifieds and specialty groups and offer a supportive environment and advocacy for local parenting issues. Membership starts at $55.
A Yahoo group for families living in (and near) the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens, Boerum Hill and Cobble Hill, this active listserv has more than 10,000 members and is free to join. It has an active classifieds exchange where you can sell old baby clothes and pick up a new-to-you stroller, but it also hosts groups for expectant and new moms and serves as a neighborhood resource for families to connect and discuss local issues.
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The active Park Slope Parents listserv includes over 100 specialty groups, and many Brooklyn parents will tell you they met some of their closest friends through it. Photo by Susan Fox/courtesy of Park Slope Parents.
Park Slope Parents
Park Slope Parents is a passionate group of local parents dedicated to supporting the families of Park Slope and surrounding neighborhoods by providing a way to exchange information about parenting in the community with a Yahoo group (plus over 100 specialty groups), special events like clothing swaps and meet-ups and an information-packed website that includes tips on hiring a nanny and reviews of OBs and pediatricians. Park Slope Parents also has a great classifieds group where neighbors can buy, sell or swap just about anything—even a shift a the local food co-op. $40 to join for one year.
Brooklyn Baby Hui
This active group for Williamsburg and Greenpoint families helps moms and dads connect and support each other and is more than 6000 strong. It includes lots of pre- and postnatal resources, including meet-ups, classifieds and events listings. Free to join.
Bronx and Westchester Moms
This more than 2,000-plus Facebook group for moms hosts online discussions, organizes get-togethers and generally helps moms in the area get to know their neighbors but also stay on top of all the great local kid happenings in the northern-most reaches of the city. Free to join.
Riverdale NY Families
A message board for parents in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, this group has 2,849 members. Members use the listserv to connect with other parents, discuss parenting issues and share news about events and activities. Free to join.
Jackson Heights Parents
This Yahoo group for Jackson Heights families includes 3,267 members and aims to help parents and children build community with discussion of local issues and general parenting concerns. There is some trading and selling of baby gear on this one, too, but the classifieds make up a small portion of the overall listserv. It is one of many Queens family groups, including Woodside Families, Sunnyside Moms, Astoria Moms and Dads and an Astoria Moms Meetup group.
Little in the City
With 854 members and a $33 annual membership fee, this Queens neighborhood group organizes holiday events, play dates and parties for local families. The group also takes on a public role advocating for educational issues and improved parks and playgrounds.
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Big City Moms
Big City Moms hosts lots of social and informative events, lunches, dinners and seminars for its 300,000 membership of moms, families and moms-to-be, such as the annual Biggest Baby Shower, book launches, nanny safety classes, expectant mom dinners and new mom lunches. Free to join. Events cost $60 and up and are predominantly held on the Upper West and Upper East Sides.
Six Degrees of Mom
This free, members-only group for NYC moms of kids ages newborn to 3 allows mothers to connect and coordinate play groups. There are also mommy and me classes, parenting talks and other parenting-related events.
The Moms Groups
Keeping groups small and spread out over 27 Manhattan locations each week, The Moms Groups has been connecting mothers since 2008 (originally as part of Mommybites). There are groups for expectant moms, new moms, moms of older babies, and second-time moms. Groups are led by a facilitator and members may also access parenting support online and via phone. The six-session groups cost $200.
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Don't forget the dads! This group organizes get-togethers just for men and their kids. Photo courtesy of NYC Dads Group.
NYC Dads Group
This group for fathers in and around New York City creates opportunities for support and socializing with weekly play dates and events. The group also hosts evening events for dads that include fatherhood and parenting experts, plus new and expecting dad boot camps. Most events are free or low-cost.
A version of this post was first published in August 2009.
Top image: The popular PSP clothing swap helps recycle your old baby clothes, while you stock up on the next size up. Photo by Susan Fox/courtesy of Park Slope Parents.