You may have heard that raising kids takes a village. (And then some!) Why settle for a village when we’ve got five boroughs here in NYC? Whether you’re a first-time parent, a mom of twins, a father looking to connect with other dads or in search of some local families to hang with and provide some awesome gently-used kid gear, there’s a group for you! Read on to find what could very well become a key factor in maintaining your post-kid sanity, and for ideas on things to do with kids in New York City, click here.
photo: Maja via Flickr
A Mother is Born
Sometimes the best resource for Parenting 101 can be found by turning to another mother with some serious child-rearing knowledge. A Mother is Born is a business owned by a mother, Meredith Fein Lichtenberg, who also happens to be a registered international board certified lactation consultant, certified childbirth educator, non-fiction writer, among other talents. The business offers pregnancy and parenting services for New York City moms. The website provides insights, tips, events, and information on classes and groups for pregnant couples, new moms, working moms, and moms seeking lactation advice. Meredith Fein Lichtenberg teaches group and private childbirth classes, prenatal workshops, new mom classes, and offers private consults to smooth the transition for moms going back to work.
Big City Moms
Big City Moms was founded by city moms for city moms, and its biggest event is one no expectant mother or growing family should miss. Biggest Baby Shower Ever, held in NYC and also DC, is a jam-packed event that promises and delivers the best baby shower ever. (Mocktails for all!) Expect to be pampered, receive goodies galore and gain some helpful information about the whole having-and-raising-a-baby thing. Plus, over 100 vendors attend hoping to seduce expecting parents with some of the newest and best baby and parenting products on the market.
Beyond this epic event, other Big City Moms upcoming events include UES New Moms Support Group weekly get together, Infant and Toddler Safety and CPR Class, Nanny Safety Class, and an Expectant Moms Dinner. The website includes a blog that offers tips for parents and those expecting, the hottest trends in the industry, as well as chances to win amazing baby products and more. The company was formed over 12 years ago and while they have accrued over 300,000 members throughout the years, they also acquired some hefty celebrity fans such as Jessica Alba, Christopher Gavigan, Susan Lucci and Kimberly and James Van Der Beek, to name a few.
photo: Steven Pisano via Flickr
“BoCoCa” is not a widely used term but it means something for those families immediately south of Downtown Brooklyn. (It’s a blended word combining the names of three adjacent Brooklyn neighborhoods: Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens. BoCoCa Parents is a restricted Yahoo Group that is a free network for local parents residing in one of these three neighborhoods and boasts almost 11,000 members. The mission of the group is “to establish community and communication amongst Bococa’s families and to provide our children with opportunities in which to play, cultivate friendships and establish their roots”. This group is an active and evolving forum for sharing information and advice, making connections, finding and selling items, arranging playdates, and much more.
photo: Bowery Babes
Once upon a time, in 2005, a group of women took a prenatal yoga class on Bowery Street, and they just couldn’t quite get enough of each other so they formed a group. Bowery Babes has evolved ever since and has become a large collection of local moms in Lower Manhattan. The group is a NY non-profit that supports women from the time they are expecting through motherhood, and offers endless amounts of opportunities to thrive in a lively and loving community. From playgroups to classes, organized events and book clubs to night outs and daddy brunches, holiday parties and FREE beauty mornings, you can plug right into this group’s energy and keep on ticking. If that hasn’t sold you, they also offer discounts and educational lectures on parenting.
The Bronx New Mommies Group Inc.
This mommy group was formed by necessity in 2002 when a new mommy by the name of Roxanne Taylor felt a strong need to bond with other moms that shared similar interests and yet she didn’t know how to make such connections happen. Enter, The Bronx New Mommies Group, which grew from a group into a non-profit organization and then a registered charity. This social support group offers a range of support group meetings, activities and special events geared toward fostering a positive and nurturing community for parents and their families. Its website includes a resource directory that lists some key resources such as Walk Safer NYC, Parent Pledge Project, and more. But it doesn’t stop there. Their Sister Group, Dynamic Metro Moms, is geared towards moms with older children from 11 to 13 years old.
Dynamic Metro Moms
Sister Group to The Bronx New Mommies Group, this Bronx-based mommy group offers an abundance of weekly social activities, classes and events for moms and their kids throughout the year, as well as special interest clubs including fitness bootcamp, yoga club and more. Upcoming events include an Annual Summer Outing and Mini Spa Party.
Families First Brooklyn
Founded by two therapists and parents themselves, Families First is a not-for-profit member based early childhood center located in Cobble Hill. The organization offers parents and caregivers a safe and nurturing place to bring their young children. Among many things, it holds a Moms’ Meet Up every Friday at 11:30 a.m., where you can meet with other moms to talk about a variety topics, express ideas, and share and gather advice in a supportive environment. This meet up does not require membership or a fee to participate.
First Time Upper West Side Moms
For just 10 dollars a year, this group will give you a huge Upper West Side slice out of the Big Apple, from midtown to Harlem. First Time Upper West Side Moms can be found on Meetup.com and offers moms and dads literally hundreds of free and/or heavily-discounted events each year. Parents can get discounts on a variety of classes such as music, baby sign, soccer, pilates and yoga, as well as trips to museums and zoos, diverse special events, and an assortment of get togethers at local libraries, Whole Foods, and local cafes and restaurants. Plus: stroller walks for those who want to burn off some extra calories.
photo: Daniel Lobo via Flickr
With over 2,000 members, the Hudson River Park Mothers Group serves as a vital and active community for mothers and expectant moms that reside in Lower Manhattan. There are many benefits to this group such as their online social network of verified Lower Manhattan neighborhood moms, weekly playgroups that meet in a comfortable and welcoming place and are facilitated by membership coordinators, educational events arranged through the group, and discounts at local retail stores. But what really stands out as a must for Lower Manhattan moms is this group’s New Moms Group Series. Guided by childhood development educators, this weekly get-together for moms and their newborns or infants provides a child-friendly place to share experiences and get support on challenging topics ranging from sleep, development, and establishing routines to issues finding childcare.
photo: Bill Benson via Flickr
Hoboken Family Alliance
While there are many niche parent groups in Hoboken, one of the biggest and most active is the Hoboken Family Alliance. The HFA produces several big events throughout the year, including an all-schools open house and “Cabin Fever,” a big summer camp open house event. It also sponsors several philanthropic initiatives, such as a school supply drive in the fall and holiday toy drive in December. Events include holiday party in December and a “spring fling” event that includes Hoboken’s biggest egg hunt.
photo: via JCC Manhattan Facebook page
Located on the Upper West Side, JCC Manhattan’s mission is to create “opportunities for people to connect, grow, and learn within an ever-changing Jewish landscape.” Among the many types of programs and classes offered by the JCC are those geared to family life including breastfeeding and tummy time for new parents, parenting resources that offer infant CPR classes, a dad’s meetup brunch and a bump bash complete with mock-tails for expectant parents. You’ll also find prenatal and postnatal fitness classes here, such as innovative and safe yoga and water classes, as well as caregiver programs.
photo: Sam T. via Yelp
A great resource for all things parenting in Jersey City, JC Families is a go-to for info on local events, family-friendly businesses and school options for all ages. You’ll also find listings for childcare, kids’ stuff for sale, and more.
Little in the City
For parents residing in Long Island City, this Meetup.com group of 894 members and counting is for you. Beyond offering the usual benefits of a meetup, such as organized play dates and parties, the group works together with organizations such as Trinity Church or the Chocolate Factory to take annual holiday events such as Easter Egg Hunt in Gantry Park or the Long Island City Halloween Parade to the next level. They encourage community-related advocacy for improving parks, recreation and education, making this Little in the City group show its big heart.
Lower East Side / East Village Parents
Lower East Side and East Village parents and parents-to-be are invited to register and visit this online forum that connects local parents and covers a broad range of topics such as sleep, feeding, pediatricians, caregivers and challenges in parenthood.
photo: Katherine Lieber
Manhattan Twins Club
As one of the largest multiples communities in the United States, this 25-year-old nonprofit club was founded with the mission to provide support for parents of twins and those expecting multiples. The club offers events throughout the year (many of them free) which address perennial parenting topics, hosts friendly get-togethers such as family picnics and parent socials. A sampling of this years’ past events includes Twiniversity 101 to help parents of twins and those expecting get up to speed on raising multiples, Getting into NYC Kindergarten which uncovers secrets to mastering the application process, and Ages & Stages, for help understanding developmental processes.
photo: The Moms Groups
The Moms Groups
Founded by parent and lifestyle coach Renee Sullivan in 2008, this NYC mommy group is one of the most expansive, hosting groups in the Upper East Side, Upper West Side, Union Square, Chelsea, Flatiron, and Midtown in Manhattan, and Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights, Williamsburg and Park Slope in Brooklyn. The Moms Groups hold weekly sessions mostly led by either Renee Sullivan or therapists on her team and caters to Expectant Moms, New Moms, Moms of Older Babies, and Second Time Moms.
Motherhood Later than Sooner
If you’re 35 or older and you’re a mommy, then you may want to join this group. Motherhood Later than Sooner is a group formed by Robin Gorman Newman, who at the age of 42 became a mom and found it hard to connect to the younger moms. This midlife moms group offers online and face-to-face support for mothers who are 35+ and want to be a part of a community of moms that are raising kids later in life. Benefits of this group include mom group meetings, moms night out dinners, family events, as well as discounts on products and services.
The New Mom Support Group
This community-funded group found on Meetup.com offers Queens Moms (and Dads!) with kids 0-3 years of age a place to vent about parenthood safely and without judgement. For nine dollars a month, members can participate in Meetup activities such as play dates, stroller walks, Mommy and me classes and activities for dads. While the title of the group sounds exclusive, stay at home dads, expectant moms, second time moms, and moms with older children are also welcome.
Another Jersey City group, Newport Mommy is more than 4,30 families strong. Head here for nanny leads and info, local news and events, classifieds, parenting resources, birthday party ideas and more!
photo: NYC Dads Group
NYC Dads Group
Finally, a parent group that is just for Dads! There are so many mommy groups that may mention the word “dad” but don’t cater to them. NYC Dads Group is a community started by dads with the simple desire to share similar benefits of being part of a parenthood community as those found in staple mommy groups. The mission of this group has expanded beyond NYC and across the nation, and has become City Dads Group. Meetups include outings, Dads’ Night Out, workshops and special events. Partnering with Boot Camp for New Dads, a nationally-acclaimed 20 year old program for training dads-to-be, this group offers a Boot Camp facilitated by a nationally-certified trainer for expectant fathers and new dads that want to learn baby-raising basics.
New York Single Parents Meetup Group
Founded in 2006, this Meetup.com group offers single parents a community to connect with other single parents. With over 2,500 members, this group not only hosts activities for single parents and their kids to meet and make new friends, but also serves as a springboard for special events happening in the city geared toward single parent families. A recent meetup like this was the Microsoft Youthspark Free Weekend Summer Camp for Kids, which offered single parents a free, in-store summer camp for their children.
Parents of NY Teens
The Italian proverb “Little children, headache; big children, heartache” may resonate particularly with parents raising kids in the city that doesn’t sleep. But this Yahoo group makes it a heck of a lot easier by offering a place for parents of teens and young adults located in the five boroughs to unite and confront the challenges of raising city kids head on. They actively post on their Facebook page and their blog site to keep parents informed and plugged in.
photo: Park Slope Parents
Park Slope Parents
This parenting group originally began in 2002 on Yahoo groups as a way for local parents to connect and exchange ideas on a number of parent-related topics. The membership base grew and grew, which led to the development of a PSP website. The website covers a lot of territory in content and offers expectant parents, new parents and working parents that live in Park Slope, Brooklyn, New York and the surrounding neighborhoods an extensive amount of local resources, parenting information, tips and advice, and organizes local family events throughout the year. The group is also host to a diverse range of subgroups for parents looking to connect with other members of similar professions, interests and life situations.
Located in its namesake neighborhood, SoHo Parenting is a center offering myriad services to new and expecting parents, as well as parents of older children. While many of its services, such as advice on sleep or developmental issues are fee-based, its popular ParenTalk blog offers help on a wide range of parenting topics.
photo: Mary Teresa Giancoli via Flickr
This group of moms in Queens’ Sunnyside neighborhood group not only swaps info and kid gear, it meets several times a week in local parks. Kids range in age from newborns to about 10 years old. Based on member discussion, this is a group for mothers (birth or adoptive) only. Sunnyside dads should sign up for the Sunnymoms’ Gentlemen’s Auxiliary at sunnydads.
With nearly nearly 28,000 members, this private Facebook group for moms on the Upper East Side is a go-to forum for advice on everything from breastfeeding, local resources and shops to sleep issues, childcare, and preschool. (You can also score second hand gear like strollers, furniture and more.) Yes, you’ll find strong opinions here, and the community is not without drama, but aren’t diversity and people with a point of view why we all love NYC?
What parenting group makes your life so much easier? Tell us in the comments!