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.
SOUTH | AustinMamas
Name of Moderator/Founder: Kim Lane
Year Founded: 2003
Geographic Area: Austin, Texas
Number of Members: 2,030
Fees/Membership Requirements: None
What you need to know: Writer and editor Kim Lane started the group as a bulletin board on the AustinMama.com website before moving to a private Yahoo! forum, where the list really took off. “Seems we just needed a little privacy to start talking,” said Lane, who prides herself on receiving more hate mail than any other commentator on National Public Radio’s “All Things Considered.” Contrarily, she’s received countless e-mails over the years about how the listserv “has been the most invaluable, transformational, supportive, accepting resource [moms] have ever known … not just in the parenting sphere, but in all of life.”
What you should expect: Although no topic is off-limits, the group chooses to avoid those that tend to be unresolvable and pit mothers against mothers (i.e.: right vs. wrong, good vs. bad ways to parent). According to Lane: “Ain’t room enough in the day for judgment, dogma, divisiveness or other power-trip baggage about being a mama.” Lane says it has also created “a safe place to sometimes say, ‘this parenting thing sucks and I don’t want to do it anymore.’”