Words by Michelle Kennedy
It’s official. When it comes to dating we are socially conditioned to believe in love at first swipe. We like the speed of it. The immediacy– and yes, of course, the intimacy that follows. A swipe right is the new two straws in a milkshake. Sliding into DMs is the new hello, however cheeky. Culture has shifted and as a result, we’ve all attended the weddings of couples who have met on dating sites. The proof is in the vows.
Why should the same thought-process and tech not apply to modern mamahood? Well, it should– and it does. Enter: Peanut.
As the founder and CEO of Peanut, the app that encourages its users to connect as mamas and meet as women, I knew there had to be a better way to approach motherhood. See, motherhood can be incredibly lonely. The creeping solitary feelings can be both shocking and daunting during that first (and final) 4am feed. Motherhood can also be incredibly scary. Almost every woman I know has had a what have I done moment when they’re alone with their baby for the first time, and the questions start to pile up faster than dirty nappies.
Questions about what’s normal, what’s not, breastfeeding, childcare, mother-in-laws, tummy sleepers, side sleepers, zero sleepers (cry face), the best diapers for road trips, postpartum sex life, infertility issues, and more. Motherhood is an endless stream of joy, tears, fear, pain, and laughter. (And just about a million other emotions the English language currently has no words for.)
I know this deeply and personally. Five and a half years ago, shortly after the birth of my firstborn Finlay, I felt blindsided. I didn’t have any mama friends and I yearned for simple connection for someone, anyone, who knew what I was going through. I would have given anything for someone to have nudged me and said, those feelings of terror and loneliness, they are so normal.
Please don’t mishear me. There is nothing “normal” about motherhood, and there is nothing normal about accepting those feelings as status quo. That’s really why I created Peanut. I thought about the connections made between adults on dating apps and applied the concept to motherhood. They say it takes a village to raise a child.
We built an online village. How could we not?
It is this beautiful, modern technology that affords us the immediate presence of a person, an ear, a digital shoulder to cry on, even at our most isolated. At its core, Peanut was born as a salve to my own personal journey. As it’s grown it’s become the answer for other moms on their own journeys.
Two years in and we have almost a million women on the platform. The app’s Discovery feature operates similarly to a dating app. You fill out your profile, including information such as your neighborhood, bio, photos, interests, age/gender of your children or due date, and other defining factors such as work-life and education. The app uses intelligent algorithms and geo-location to match you with like-minded women nearby. Once connected, users can chat and create meetups in nearby parks or do activities that have nothing to do with their kids. (Ahem, moms who #winetime.) There are groups to join, and every mama’s feed is filled with convos about potty training, teething torture, debates over push presents, and gut feelings about partners. It’s technology at its best, meaning it isn’t meant to replace IRL connections, it’s meant to supplement them, and make it easier to mama. Dating apps don’t replace actual dating. They are the bridge. I could think of nothing better than to build a bridge for moms to connect to other moms.
In Peanut women connect, build trust and friendship, swap stories and support each other during harrowing times. They share stories of hope, first steps and words. The benefit of an app like Peanut is that when you reach out, there is someone there to answer no matter the time of day or the request. We see amazing connections.
For us, the proof is in the Peanut.