They say parenting takes a village––so why are we all scrolling on our phones and getting less actual face time than ever with fellow moms and dads? It’s high time to expand your tribe and laugh and relate about the journey of motherhood and fatherhood with other local parents. Read on for links to parent groups that will connect you to the world beyond the playroom!

photo: PhotoCo via Pixabay

MOMS Club of San Diego: Central & Beaches
If you’re centrally located or live somewhere coastal between Soledad Mountain and Cabrillo National Monument, this local chapter of the international MOMS Club may be for you. The more structured of the bunch, the Central & Beaches tribe is unique for the various roles its members may step into. Facilitated by board members and committees, you’ll have the opportunity to shape the chapter based on your interests and availability. And since the chapter abides by the philosophy set into motion in 1983 by stay-at-home mom Mary James, you’ll meet during the day when your companionship tank needs the most filling. Members adhere to basic guidelines that help promote a safe and harmonious environment for moms and their broods.

Good to know: Membership is $25/year and those dues go directly into the chapter for various activities and outreach.

online: facebook.com/momsclubsandiego/

MOPS
If you can’t remember the last time you had a hot meal, it might be time to join a MOPS group. MOPS (Moms Of Preschoolers), is a county-wide group where a majority of the groups literally feed your soul with home cooked dishes in addition to providing an outlet for camaraderie and support. Even more, MOPS provides a platform for professional and seasoned moms who come to speak about the many mysteries of motherhood and the home that we’re just itching to know more about. You’ll laugh and you just might cry at one or more of the meetings, but one things for certain, you’ll leave the meetings with a healthy dose of refreshment to carry you throughout the week. Accompanying youngsters ages 5 & under are placed in the on-site MOPPETS program in age appropriate classrooms while you do you, mama, in a room of your peers.

Good to know: Moms will gather at least once a week and there’s an accompanying fee of usually no more than $100/semester.

online: mops.org/groupsearch/

photo: Janice Cullivan via Flickr

Hike It Baby San Diego
Active and outdoors-loving mamas look no further––there’s a national parent and tot hiking organization with a chapter right in our backyard. Hike It Baby is, you guessed it, a fitness-focused meet-up with weekly treks that vary in activity level. The descriptive online calendar of hikes makes it easy to choose an outing based on your activity level and interest. They’ve even recently added a ‘preggo waddle’ series for those who are expecting. And since many of us have learned that healthy doses of fresh air are capable of doing wonders for those with tiny feet, it may be time to pull out the comfy outdoor gear and get moving with your new exploratory tribe.

Good to know: A basic $10/year membership gives you annual access to the group’s calendar of events.

online: facebook.com/groups/hikeitbabysandiego/

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Sharp Hospital
If there ever was a precursor to a play group, this is it. While the community found at Sharp does not come from a singular group, the offerings prep new moms and the littlest play group members for future mingles and meet ups. Choose from a smorgasbord of gatherings such as new parent support group, mom and me exercise and breastfeeding and newborn care hours. These meet-ups will get you into the rhythm of leaving your home with immobile to just mobile Molly or Ryan, so that you’ll be ready to level up to groups that meet at indoor play centers, museums and playgrounds when months older Molly and Ryan have graduated to crawling and walking. So, if you find yourself with the itch to get out with your newly born babe, give Sharp a shot at helping with your transition into motherhood.

Good to know: Classes are offered at Sharp’s multiple locations.

online: sharp.com/health-classes/category/newborn-and-baby-care-30

photo: San Diego New Moms Network via Jeanette Woodward

San Diego New Moms Network
Here’s a group that’s grown to over 6,000 members by one of the most honorable means of referral: word of mouth. Members have little ones 5 & under, although its real hot spot lies among mamas with wee ones 3 & under. Regular gatherings are usually hosted by the same mama or mamas for consistency, but its group of admins are always open to members who are willing to make a commitment to hosting any event that will bring the play members out. In addition to play outings this group creates plenty of chatter for its popular clothing swaps and mom night outs. Their MNO’s have gained such a following that their November movie outing required a private auditorium for the showing of Bad Moms Christmas.

Good to know: There’s no cost to attend, but a small fee and reservation may be required at any of the group’s signature events.

online: facebook.com/groups/Sandiegonewmoms/

San Diego Moms of 2016 Babies
This online community is geared towards moms that have had babies in 2016, but mamas with older children are welcome too. There are just over 800 members that use the forum to pose parenting questions, ask for advice and look for new friends. Members are welcome to create events that are shared within the group and there’s at least one of two events that occur during any given week. Gatherings often take place at destinations popular among pass holders, but unique events are held at homes, playgrounds and tot-friendly eateries. And since the babes in this group are close to 2 or just past 2 & up, you’ll connect greatly with other moms as you all discuss the wonderful transition from babyhood to toddlerhood.

Good to know: Great discussion can be found in this group about 2016 babies with siblings on the way.

online: facebook.com/groups/1507594199540777/

photo: BlueAngel16 via Pixabay

Dad University
Don’t worry dad, we have one just for you. Dads in Encinitas and surrounding areas are invited to monthly socials where important topics about the roles you might fulfill as dad, husband and provider are discussed in a confidential setting. These guys are here to support you when you feel you’re just not cracking the balance code of “doing it all.” They even run a podcast entitled Dudes to Dad for the dudes who would find it more convenient to listen in from any San Diego zip code.

Good to know: Each monthly social costs $5 to attend and most members have children toddler aged and younger.

online: meetup.com/daduniversity/

Where do you connect with other parents? Share in the comments!

––Jeannette Swanson

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