This is the first of a series of short pieces about how the Lisbon for Parents Community came to life and evolved.
I believe in the power of connections and relationships and Lisbon for Parents made my life in Lisbon easier and happier and so did for many other moms and families. Here’s how!
When I and my family first went to Lisbon four and a half years ago, our eldest son was five months, and Lisbon is the place he tried food for the first time, sat, and achieved many further milestones. After landing with an early flight from Copenhagen, I still remember our cab journey from the airport to our Airbnb in Campo Martires de Patria.
I wasn’t super happy to leave Denmark, and we didn’t know anything about Lisbon, but we stayed one entire month, and we had time to discover places at our pace.
When we came back a few months later to settle, I realized I didn’t know anybody and had no clue how to meet people, nor entertain a very active 7 MO boy.
As my Italian friend Giorgia also moved to Lisbon at the same time with her family and baby, I asked her if I could make some of our meetings public by creating a Meetup.com group and create some events to check if other moms were on the lookout for some company and friends: in April 2017, Lisbon Foreign Parents was born.
Italians Germans and Brazilian in Portugal but not for a football tournament
Our third member was Katharina, a german mom speaking Italian, that soon joined our meeting at Jardim do Principe Real: our gathering got more consistent by adding two Brasilians girls, Ania, and Thais to our crew, but it only was while I was away traveling, that the Monday playgroup in Jardim do Principe Real became a weekly appointment. In Principe Real Kerstin, a Swiss-German joined us with her second newborn son, and we kept meeting every Monday.
That autumn, with the group growing, the Facebook community became a necessity since we needed a way to chat with each other: I decided to choose the most neutral family stock picture I could find to let every family feel welcome.
Having fun with little friends
In Autumn, thanks to Anielle, we added a second weekly playgroup: every Thursday morning, we were having fun at the newly open Aldeia Crescer em Familia, a family cafe in Sapadores.
It would take me 45 minutes with the electrico to get there, but it soon became a lovely routine to share with my son, plus that time spent crossing the city fueled my current love for trolleys.
The cafe (now closed) was the perfect place for mothers to having a chat and relaxed while the kids were playing in the play area, and sometimes music and dance classes were happening, which Elio loved to participate in.
The months went by while having so much fun together and building the early memories with our babies: we did beach trips, library meetings, ice cream playdates, and much more. Right before Christmas 2017, few moms of the initial group, Giorgia, Anielle, and Thais, announced that they were moving back home or somewhere else for good.
We had a great Christmas party at our place, and we said goodbye to some good friends: I decided to gift every member of that initial group with a lovely framed picture of us that my son still has on his bed table and we are still in touch.
To be continued… stay tuned.
Back to the present
Unfortunately, the pandemic brought our playgroups and activities to a halt, but we want to be ready to start our gatherings once the pandemic is under control and when it’s safe to meet again. But Lisbon is a big city, and I can’t do this alone.
Looking for your family tribe in Lisbon? You are welcome to join Lisbon for Parents, the biggest and most active community of parents in Central Lisbon (with members from the whole Lisbon region and Setubal region). We also have a connected community of local moms, Moms for Moms Lisbon, which is open join for moms and moms to be, already living in the area: if you are only in the planning stage, join Lisbon for Parents.
We are looking for some neighborhood ambassadors to run local playgroups: I will support you with organization, material, and shutout in the group, and you will take care of choosing the location and date, running the group, and bring connections and happiness to other parents and families.
We are looking for both moms and dads: does this sound like something you would be interested in? Please fill this form to apply, we will set up a video call to talk further!