Sure, we all know about the biggies in town, boasting thousands of members and massive message boards that could have you scrolling for weeks on end. But San Franciscans love doing their own thing, and starting up their own, specialized parenting groups is no exception. From a club for creative mommas to a group for parents who would rather not playdate indoors to one just for the dads out there, check out our list of SF’s hottest start-up parents groups and you might just find your new crew!
Photo: Haight Street Mamas
Looking for some fun and plenty of activities? Haight Street Mamas broke onto the scene less than one year ago and is already one of the most active parenting groups in the city, boasting 249 members. Vanessa Wauchope, the founder, was looking for things to do with her newborn son in her neighborhood (he hated the carseat, so long trips were out) so she took action. To get started, the driven mama organized a host of activities such as a New Moms Lunch (every Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Crepes on Cole), music classes (Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Fridays 9.30, 10.30 or 11.30 at Second Act) and a weekly play date at Koret’s playground in Golden Gate Park (Thursday afternoons at 4:30 p.m.) Parents and their tiny charges started joining them by the dozens. Today the group also hosts themed playgroups such as Moms Expecting a Second Child, or Moms with a Toddler. If you want to participate, subscribe to them on Facebook. No need to live in the Haight.
Online: Haight Street Mamas
This booming part of town, known for its clubs, swanky start-up offices and hard-to-get-a-reservation restaurants can come across as not very kid-friendly—and that’s exactly why this group exists. Parents can use the group’s Facebook page to exchange ideas, get to know each other and organize meet ups. It is a great tool for parents to form their own sub-groups with neighbors or parents with similar schedules. Crossroad Cafe has become the members’ hub, and even if no official weekly meet-up is held there, you are guaranteed to run into a few local moms or dads. It’s a public and free group for parents with kids 0 to preschool age.
Online: Soma Parent Group
Photo: SF Dads Group
SF Dads Group
If you’re a dad cooped up at home, spending your days trying to find recreational and educational activities for your little one, this is your tribe. This community of almost two hundred members is very active and welcoming. They organize activities for kids and dads such as a weekly playgroup on Wednesday at Koret’s playground in the Golden Gate Park (10 a.m.–noon), visits to museums and concerts and even pajama parties. Dads also get their time to relax during dads’ night or day out. SF Dads Group is also putting together a seminar for expectant dads. To join this awesome group, go to their website and make sure to check the calendar for all the future events.
Online: SF Dads Group
Photo: Credit Browyn Van Vugt
This group is perfect for the parent who likes to explore the great outdoors with their kid. Created in February 2015, this group already has nearly 100 members. Recurring events include a Mt. Sutro hike every Tuesday afternoon (4 p.m., meet at the wooden staircase on Stanyan St, south of 17th St.) and a Wednesday morning swim at Aquatic Park (449 Jefferson St. at 9:45–10:45 a.m.) followed by coffee and treats at Black Point Cafe. Founder Bronwyn Van Vugthas plans to organize at least one bigger hike every weekend, a monthly family camping trip, and a monthly “dinner in nature” (either at BBQ grills or with camp stoves). Any like-minded parents living in San Francisco Bay area with kids under 12 years old are welcome to join this private group on Facebook.
Online: SF Parents Outside
Photo: Credit Ashley Batz
Cool Moms Club
Don’t be fooled by the name. The founders choose this name as a joke, but the group became so big so quickly that they just stuck to it. Beyond gathering like-minded moms and coordinating playdates, this group has a focus on networking and sharing business ideas and support between creative and entrepreneurial moms. Most of the members work in creative industries like fashion, interior design, photography and online media. A creative arts job is not a pre-requisite to join, however, new members need to be invited by existing members to join this private Facebook group. There are kid-friendly events usually organized for holidays (Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Christmas) and plenty of adult-only events as well, such as cocktail parties, pampering and networking-focused evenings.
An informal networking group for parents and kids of LGBT families to get together and enjoy each other’s company. The group was founded in 2009 by Adrienne, who wanted to show her son that LGBT families enjoy the same type of fun as straight families. Members suggest events on the group’s page, and if enough people are interested, it becomes a reality. Typically activities are divided into two age groups: toddlers and teenagers. Recent outings include a parenting workshop, a Chinese New Year celebration and a winter holiday celebration. Members can also look forward to sailing trips, roller skating and trips to the beach. Everybody from the LGBT community is welcome. To register go the their page on MeetUp.com.
Online: LGBT Parents are social too!
Photo: Donnie Ray Jones via Flickr
If you are parents of multiples, this group will simply save your life. SFPOM offers every possible service you could think of. Each member is entitled to a free home-cooked meal in the year following the delivery of the babies. A variety of experts are affiliated with the group and are there to answer questions ranging from finding a nanny, estate planning, and navigating the kindergarten process. A gold mine of additional helpful info can be found by searching their newsletter archives—accessible 24/7 on their website and focused on issues including breastfeeding, teething and sleep/potty training.
To save its members time and money, San Francisco Parents Of Multiples put together “lending closets” with sets of preemie clothes, Halloween costumes, snow clothing, travel supplies, books and a lot more. Several activities are also organized to help parents connect and socialize. Every month a meet-up takes place, such as Mom’s, Dad’s and Parent’s night out; and a few weekends per year family outings are organized at various playgrounds around the city featuring entertainment for kids (face painting, magicians, clowns, etc.) Thinking of joining? Apply on their website. membership per family is $80 per year. SFPOM also makes the benefits available for those who can’t afford the membership fee.
If you want to know what’s happening in this increasingly family-friendly hood, this group is the go-to. Very neighborhood focused, it has created a strong parenting community. On the group’s Facebook page, parents trade ideas about kids’ activities, buy and sell baby items, ask questions and get answers. Every year a Halloween party is held at one of the members’ homes. This group is primarily for people of the Sunset with young children.
Online: Inner Sunset Parent Group
This group is for moms who are looking for a community to support them through their discovery of motherhood and want to make new friends. It is a very open-minded and non judgmental group; a place to laugh, commiserate, exchange stories, get new ideas, or talk about trials and tribulations. The strength of this community is the diverse background of members: women in education, science, fashion, law, etc. Many women are also dealing with tough (but familiar) choices such as whether to be a stay at home mom or return to work and if so, when. At Mommies of the Richmond, activities are member-generated and include picnics, strolls in parks, birthday celebrations, museum visits, in-home playdates, sushi lunches, etc. To join, look for their page on MeetUp.com.
Online: Mommies of the Richmond
Are you are member of a start-up parent group? Tell us about it in the comments!