One of the downsides of parenting (everything isn’t always shiny rainbows and heart emojis), is that it can feel pretty lonely, especially if you don’t have family around. If you feel stranded on infant island or simply want a little extra social and emotional parenting support, consider expanding your mom squad by joining these local groups. This is a great way to meet other LA parents and their kids not to mention, a great way to start building your own tribe.
photo: Beth O’Rourke
Who They Are: The “Moms Offering Moms Support” acronym says it all. With a definite matriarchal emphasis, MOMS Club is first and foremost a place to meet other mothers and hopefully build lasting friendships while cultivating necessary support systems. Of course, the added bonus is your little one gets to have similarly aged kids to play with, thus expanding their own social network in the process. With chapters all across LA from the Westside to the South Bay Cities and throughout the Valley, MOMS Club conveniently corners the market on the mom’s group scene.
What They Do: Each Chapter has their own meeting schedules and planned activities, including things like playgroups, moms night out, parenting speakers, craft and cooking activities, book clubs, and plenty of ways to help those in need with charitable activities and fundraising events. Visit the national MOMS Club website to find the nearest local chapter in your area. There are dozens and dozens in the LA area so you’re sure to find a great fit for both you and your brood!
What It Cost: MOMS Club is a nonprofit 501(C)(3) and charges members an annual membership fee anywhere between $35 – $45 depending on the chapter. Events and activities are generally free.
photo: Creative Commons
West LA Parents Of Multiples
Who They Are: It should come as no surprise that moms (and dads) of multiples need all the extra help they can get. This group offers an extensive support system for LA parents (and even those expecting) of twins, triplets, quadruplets or more. With events and resources both on and offline, there are tons of ways to get involved, meet other parents of multiples and get much-needed encouragement both before birth and after.
What They Do: West LA Parents of Multiples offers seminars and informational meetings on parenting topics, playgroups with similar aged kids, an online forum, and even a collection of preemie clothes members can borrow. Support systems are also in place to provide meals for families with newborns and a helping hand to moms on bedrest or families in the NICU. As if all of this unconditional support wasn’t enough, WLAPOM taps into its philanthropic side by donating essential supplies and baby gear to needy parents of multiples through the Multiple Helpings program.
What It Cost: Families are charged an annual membership fee of $55.
photo: La Leche League via Facebook
La Leche League
Who They Are: Breastfeeding (especially for the first time) can be enough to make any new parent think those all too familiar “what did I get myself into?” thoughts. Luckily you are not alone and don’t need to struggle in silence. A local chapter of La Leche League, a national organization dedicated to supporting women who are breastfeeding, is the perfect place to meet other nursing moms, ask questions, and get help. There are several local chapters in the LA area, but the largest and most active is La Leche League Los Angeles Westside.
What They Do: Local groups meet monthly and any mom is welcome to join. Meetings are generally a casual get together that offers a safe space to talk about pressing issues, share solutions and support fellow moms and babies through the triumphs and trials of breastfeeding. The meetings are led by volunteer League Leaders, breastfeeding moms who have been trained and accredited by La Leche League. Leaders are also available to contact by phone for support outside of the meetings.
What It Cost: There is no fee to join.
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photo: BabywearingLA via Facebook
Who They Are: Can’t go anywhere without your beloved baby carrier? Feel naked when you’re not strapped to your little nugget? Then this is the group for you. Whether you’re new to baby-wearing (or you’ve just mastered wearing two kids at once), you’ll find a whole lot of support here. This organization believes that babies are designed to be carried and doing so (with the right information and tools) can be mutually beneficial for both you and your little joey. In addition to monthly meetings, Babywearing LA also offers an online community via Facebook where you can ask questions and meet other moms.
What They Do: Monthly events all across the LA area include play dates and meetings with other babywearing parents, workouts while babywearing, and classes on the basics of babywearing. Meeting hosts will bring along a variety of different carriers for new parents to try out.
What It Cost: There is no fee to join the group and general meetings and playdates are free. Certain ticketed events, like classes and group workouts, have various prices.
photo: L.A. Dads Group via Facebook
LA Dads Group
Who They Are: Dads need support squads too, and that’s exactly why the LA Dads Group was formed. Whether you’re the lone dad at the playground, the only guy in your kid’s playgroup, or simply a father who wants to take an active role in your little one’s life while meeting other dads, this group is for you.
What They Do: The group hosts playdates, parenting workshops, social events like beach outings or movie screenings, and even dads-night-out. They also organize volunteer activities from time to time to do their part in paying it forward for those less fortunate.
What It Cost: The group is free to join.
photo: Kellie Fell
Who They Are: Build your village while getting rid of some unwanted baby weight in the process? Yes please! This program offers a variety of kick-butt exercise classes, such as Stroller Strides and Stroller Barre programs, that will get you and your small fry out of the house and get your heart pumping at the same time (win/win!).
What They Do: Unlike some of the traditional support groups, Fit4Mom is a bit more of an expense offering many different types of fee-based exercise packages to choose from once you sign up to be a member. But they also offer playgroups, crafts and mothers-nights-out for free to anyone who wants to attend, member or not! Fit4Mom Franchises are located all over L.A. County: Westside, South Bay LA, Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Torrance, San Fernando Valley, Palos Verdes and San Pedro, and Long Beach.
What It Cost: Cost varies by plan but your first class is always free to try it out.
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photo: Miguelphotobooth via Flickr
Online Groups: Sometimes getting out of the house just isn’t an option. Thanks to the invention of the good old internet, you can still make friends, seek help and support or just share some much-needed memes in the middle of the night. Here are our two favorites:
Peachhead: Before Facebook groups were even a thing, the OG parenting forum in Los Angeles was Peachhead. Founded in 1997 by Venice mom Linda Perry, the group now has over 10,000 members and continues to be a go-to place to gab, swap baby gear, and ask every parenting question under the sun.
LA Mommies: With the long-reaching influence of social media, there are literally hundreds of Facebook groups dedicated to moms, parents, and parents to be. One of these biggest networks in our part of the planet is LA Mommies. It’s a private group (so no one outside of it will see you post about having a mommy meltdown at 2 a.m.) but with over 50,000 members, be prepared to have your posts read (and potentially commented on) by thousands of people. Posts are anything and everything mom-related from pregnancy and parenting advice, to the best spots for birthday parties or date nights.
What They Do: While these groups are online-based forums for chatting and seeking advice, subset groups and friendships have formed, taking them offline for occasional meet-ups.
What It Cost: There are no fees to join.
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—Shahrzad Warkentin & Jenifer Scott
featured image: Beth O’Rourke