Navigating parenthood as a first time Mama can be a real eye opener for many women. I experienced this myself; despite reading a dozen books and chatting on online forums about becoming a Mum it didn’t really dawn on me exactly what that would entail until I actually WAS a mother myself. So many women comment about this on my Instagram page and blog, that during pregnancy we focus so much on the pregnancy and the birth, but not as much about being a Mama. Especially the early months.
One of the main advantages of being a Mama in the 21st Century, compared with the last, is just how connected we are now. But with that connection comes the paradox of isolation of face-to-face human contact. Now more than ever, whether it’s due to work, marriage or lifestyle, Mamas don’t live near their families, particularly their own mothers and female family members who had, in the past, been a source of support and advice when it comes to raising children. Especially babies!
You can share with other mothers, but that also has it’s challenges. Probably the biggest misconception about motherhood I’ve found is how we relate to each other. Just because we’re mothers, doesn’t mean we’ll necessarily have anything in common! Right? With different philosophies, interests, beliefs about parenthood, together with our own background and upbringing, there are limitless factors that determine the type of parent we become.
It’s so insulting as a Mama to be typecast as like all other mothers just because we’ve given birth when, actually, we’re all VERY individual.
Yep connecting with other mums can be tricky, but – here’s the thing – it’s an almost NECESSARY part of motherhood. Necessary for our own sense of stability, support and let’s face it, sanity!
Sure, there are Mother’s Groups, playgroup and other activities that we’re told to join, like ‘Mum Yoga’, but that’s not for everyone. I mean, what if you just don’t want to leave the house? What if you don’t have time? Just think, how many times have you REALLY wanted to catch up with another Mama friend, but then cancelled because you’re both too exhausted?! I have – many times!
A new app called ‘Peanut‘ is helping to change all that. It’s a free app for mothers to chat, meet up with, and learn from one another. Launching last year in the UK, US and Canada, Peanut is now available to Australian Mamas.
Peanut allows Mamas to chat about topics that matter to us – whether it’s returning to work after having a baby, getting back into shape, breastfeeding or formula feeding, maternity leave, even cooking and recipes. It’s a place for women to ask questions, answer questions share experiences and just converse as people, anonymously if you want to.
Known as the Tinder for Mums, Peanut uses the same swiping mechanism as Tinder which allows you swipe through the profiles of other’s using the app. To get started, you engage with it really easily:
- a) Swipe up to give another mum a “wave” to indicated you want to meet; or
b) Swipe down to skip down to the next profile
After you add in your details all the Mamas around you appear in your feed. I like how you can easily see them and their profile with details like how many kids they have, their ages, and what their interests are to connect straight away. The icons on everyone’s profile indicate what their interests are, whether it’s fitness, being outdoors or socialising with fun names like ‘Routine Queen’ (me), ‘Wine Time’ (also me) or ‘Mum Boss’ (yep, me again) that’s a great way to get the conversation started.
I said “hi” to another Mama that lives nearby, and we’ve chatted about the best playgrounds to take our 3 year olds to, and which cafes are the most kid-friendly. We’re even planning a playdate with our little ones – preferably a café! It’s been really easy to connect and fun!
The goal of Peanut is to help other Mamas find those who have the same interests as them and connect. There are a number of interests which are shared on the profiles, including:
- Your language
- If you work full-time, part-time, or are a stay-at-home mum
- General interests like enjoy fitness, love shopping, enjoy wine, etc.
- The age of their child or children
The Daily Telegraph described it as an “app for lonely mums to connect”, and yes at times motherhood CAN be lonely. But to call it that is really underestimating the value of good advice that Mamas share, the availability to ask questions – anonomously if you want to – about any subject relating to being a Mama or a woman in today’s modern world. And the ability to connect with like-minded women.
“Peanut at its heart, is about connecting women, who happen to be mothers.
– founder, Michelle Kennedy”
I mean, you don’t have to be lonely to want to connect with another mother! Sometimes you just want to vent, to chew the fat or to say: ‘this is what’s happening, is it normal, or is it OK?’ I think Peanut allows Mamas to feel stronger, better connected, more supported and more empowered. It’s a way for women – who also happen to be mothers – to take back some of the control they feel like they lost when their lives so quickly and dramatically changed: motherhood.
I think Peanut‘s real value is the ability for Mamas to dictate what the conversation’s about. There are literally millions of aspects to becoming, and being, a Mother, so having that platform to ask any question or discuss any topic is incredibly worthwhile and powerful for Mamas.
I’ve especially enjoyed being a part of the Mama Mantras section where we all get to share funny or unique things that happen to us as Mamas, like when you cook a meal for the whole family and no-one likes it! Or funny things you toddlers say. I especially love all the photos Mamas are sharing, ‘real’ photos and not Instagram photoshopped images, and there’s some really funny ones that make you feel more ‘normal’.
Another group I’m currently a part of is discussing the mundane and boredom we can feel as mothers. Often something that isn’t talked about because you’re not supposed to say ‘being a Mum is boring’, it’s been really refreshing and liberating to be able to share our stories without retribution or judgement.
There are other community groups online, including on social media, where you can share your questions or opinions, but one problem Facebook group users run into are privacy concerns. But in some groups, like Facebook for example, everything you share – no matter how personal – is still linked to your profile, so isn’t very secure or confidential. Peanut allows you to post anonymously, you just can’t answer anonymously to keep people accountable for what they advise or say.
I love the tag line: Peanut – Meet as Mamas, Connect as Women. Just because we’re Mamas doesn’t mean we’re not people with wants and needs too!