Babble Best Picks:
Top 12 Listserv Parent Networks
Being a new parent can be an isolating, lonely experience, but signing up for a parenting listserv provides new moms and dads with an instant community. From finding out where to buy the best children's clothing and baby gear to getting support for mastitis or post-partum depression, parenting listservs offer help and advice 24-7. Even better, neighborhood listservs are a great source of information on local resources of interest to parents, such as which restaurants are toddler-friendly and where to get your stroller wheels repaired - and they're a great way to make new friends!
Here's a list of some of the most active and engaging parenting listservs from around the country. If your favorite isn't listed, make sure you tell us about it.
Name of Moderator/Founder: Ginger Ogle
Year Founded: 1993
Geographic Area: San Francisco Bay Area (primarily Berkeley and Oakland)
Number of Members: 28,100
Fees/Membership Requirements: No fees, but members must be living in or planning to move to the San Francisco Bay Area. Members must also be raising or caring for kids, expecting a child or have a job working with kids.
What you need to know: Software engineer Ginger Ogle started BPN when she was a graduate student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at U.C. Berkeley. Her initial idea was to use the list to rally fellow graduate-student parents and pass a proposal to make graduate school more family-friendly, but it soon turned into something more. While most members live in Berkeley and Oakland, both famously left-leaning, U.C. Berkeley also draws young families from around the world with their own parenting cultures – which are often quite different from the liberal Berkeley point of view.
What you should expect: From funny Craigslist-type ads (one parent tried to get rid of a lightly used mattress smelling “faintly of urine”) to more controversial issues (smoking pot while breastfeeding), you can expect a group that readily debates sensitive topics. According to Ogle, one member is a “vocal contingent who posts regularly and reminds everyone that in order to raise healthy children, you must do yoga during pregnancy, labor without drugs, quit your job and practice attachment parenting.”