It Takes a Village: Parenting Clubs to Join Now

Are you a first time mom looking for a group of likeminded new moms? Or, maybe you’re a seasoned dad seeking a tribe that loves to trek the area’s outdoor trails. No matter what stage of parenthood you’re in, the following metro Portland clubs, support groups, and casual meet-ups offer moms and dads a place to come together and share in the joys of parenthood. Check out our list to find your village.

photo: Hike It Baby

Hike It Baby
Outdoor lovers all over Portland are strapping their babies and toddlers into carriers and hitting the trails. Started by a Portland mom who wanted to get out into nature with her baby but didn’t want to do it alone, her small community grew by word of mouth and has become widely known as one of the most active hiking groups in the area! Hikes are planned at easy enough distances and difficulty levels that anyone can participate, so beginners and experienced hikers alike are welcome (and that includes moms, dads, grandparents, friends, and dogs). Each hike is categorized according to the goal, so you’ll know whether older sibs will be leading the way, strollers are appropriate, or all babes will need to be in carriers. The hikes are free but a waiver must be signed online before you show up, so browse the website to see how it works before heading out.


photo: USDA via Flickr cc

Providence Portland Medical Center New Mom’s Group
Find comfort in meeting with other new moms in this supportive, ongoing group that helps women adapt to the role of motherhood. Led by an experienced facilitator, new moms have been known to find lasting friendships through regular attendance at this group. Babies up to 6 months are welcome, and there is a one- time fee of $60 or $45, depending on whether or not you’re a Providence Health Plan member (see website for details). The meetings are located at Providence Portland in the Body Works Fitness Center at the east end of Halsey St. parking garage. Check the schedule and join at any time! (Looking for something similar on the Westside? Providence St. Vincent has the same group. Details can be found here.)


photo: barsen via Flickr cc

MOMS Clubs® of Portland
This nationwide non-profit organization (its acronym stands for Moms Offering Moms Support) has found its home in several Portland-area neighborhoods. Originally designed to support stay-at-home moms, the clubs are inclusive of those who work outside the home, work part-time, or run their own home businesses. They fill their monthly calendars with playgroups hosted at home, outings to local play areas, library story times, coffee talks, monthly meet-and-greets for new members, stroller walks, and trips to the zoo. Meal deliveries are organized for members welcoming new arrivals, and monthly Moms’ Night Out evenings are planned for some much-needed adult time. Some of the local groups include Beaverton, West Hills, Hillsboro, Tigard-Tualatin, West Linn, and Milwaukie, but check the website for the complete list of Oregon clubs to find the one nearest to you.


Jewish Federation of Greater Portland
Any family choosing to raise their children Jewish (of any configuration, including affiliated, non-affiliated, interfaith, or non-traditional) will find a wealth of resources through the Jewish Federation. A great option for families with children ages 6 months to 6 years is the PJ Library, which sends your child a free Jewish children’s book in the mail every month. The goal is to keep the Jewish values present in the household through conversations that are prompted by reading the books together. In addition to the fun monthly mail, families are encouraged to join a number of available communities via Facebook groups and through scheduled events.


photo: Hilary Riedemann 

Alma Education and Movement Space
As a branch of Alma Midwifery, this space is used for groups of all kinds to support parents through the transition that a new baby brings to the family. A New Parent Group is held every Thursday from 10 a.m.- noon (although the timing is flexible to meet the needs of parents just beginning to make it out of the house with a baby). Rather than a facilitated group, this space is open for parents to bring their babies and chat over a cup of tea. Alma also hosts a breastfeeding support group and Cesarean birth support group in the same space. These groups are held at 433 SE 13th Ave. and most are either free or ask for a $5 donation (check the calendar for details).


Sacred Mothering Circle
Mamas in search of their tribe will be right at home with this group. It’s run by a professional duo who co-facilitate a series of 8 gatherings every other Saturday. There is a $40 fee for the 8-week session, and the next one begins May 16th. During these sessions, new mothers will have the opportunity to process the joys and hardships of motherhood in an authentic and connected way.


photo: Lisa H. via Yelp

PDX Dads Group
A nationwide organization called City Dads Group is redefining what it means to be a father in the 21st century. The Portland chapter, organized through and also connected through Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, is filled with 100 dads who are actively involved in creating fun family experiences and enjoy spending time with other dads and their kids. Meetups take place at parks and playgrounds, museums and homes, and include parenting classes, dads’ nights out, and kid-friendly happy hours. Dads of all walks of life are welcome, including those who work outside the home, inside the home, stay-at-home dads, and everything in between.


Are you a member of a great group for new parents? Please tell us about it in the Comments below!

—Marianne Walters


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