I recently met up with Josie Barron, the founder of Mummy Social; a fantastic friendship website and app for Mums which has literally exploded in popularity.
I’m sure many of us will have experienced moments of loneliness as a parent. At times like these, Mum mates are so important. For some people, these mates aren’t always that easy to find; which is why Mummy Social is on a mission to make it as easy as possible for Mums to unite for friendship and support. Josie and I discussed a whole host of plans for Mini First Aid and Mummy Social which I’ll tell you about soon. In the meantime, Josie shares the story behind Mummy Social…
When I was pregnant, I took it all rather seriously. I listened to countless words of wisdom from Great Aunt Meg types; heard many a dreadful birthing story that started with “You’ll never guess what happened to Karen down the road”; read the pregnancy books, attended a great antenatal class and even took up pregnancy yoga.
But what I didn’t do was think about what it was going to be like after I had the baby. Looking back, I was tunnel-vision, by a tunnel of my own anatomy and the thought of baby coming out of it. Nothing after that looming event came into my thought process.
I was lucky enough to have a straightforward birth and along came my little baby boy. Now what?!
I suppose I thought it would all be rather blissful and cosy. No work to get up for, no plans required - how chilled and lovely. Errrm no. If I’m being honest it was stressful and a little boring. It was no sleep, a crying baby, nappy changes and lots of vomit. It was overwhelming and relentless, and I found my days rather dull.
I needed to get out of the house and craved adult company. My antenatal class got together once a week but what about the other 6 days? My partner works abroad for months at a time so the days and evenings could be really rather lonely. That was it, I found motherhood rather lonely.
I appreciate there is plenty to do with a baby: Mother and baby groups, children’s centres, music sessions and messy play. But turning those half hour sessions into a proper stimulating adult conversation, they didn’t cut the mustard. They were a bit awkward. Trying to sing ‘Wheels On The Bus’ whilst juggling a (disinterested) baby didn’t lend itself to friendships forming.
“There must be an easier way to meet other mums” I said to my partner when he was home. “How about making a website?” he replied.
Before becoming a mum I worked for my Dad and learned some basic website building skills (the rest of the time I waitressed in a café so I can also make a mean cup of coffee). Whilst the baby napped, I set about building a website. It gave me something to do in the evenings whilst catching up on Keeping Up With The Kardashians.
The idea was for Mums to sign up, create a little profile and then see other Mums nearby with the hope they would send a message to say ‘hi’ and arrange to meet up (solo or as a group), cutting out the awkward ‘trying to make eye contact in the playground’ moments or the stilted conversations at toddler groups.
A few months later the website was complete and I posted about Mummy Social on Facebook. Within two weeks over 700 mums had joined. Within two months, the first testimonial arrived from a Mum who had severe Postnatal Depression (PND) but since getting involved with Mummy Social she had made a group of friends and her life had turned around.
Over two years later we have 80,000 members and two celebrity Ambassadors (TV presenter Helen Skelton and top mum blogger Sarah Turner aka The Unmumsy Mum). It is humbling to hear feedback from Mums every week telling me about the benefits of getting social, about feeling less anxious, experiencing fewer symptoms of PND and gaining greater confidence.
Those friends, those rants, that support, the laughs and the cups of tea really can make the world of difference from just surviving to thriving! Just getting out of the house with another adult can be a game changer to how your week pans out as a Mum.
So my piece of advice to any Mum to be, new Mum or expert Mum; would be to get social and join in the fun on Mummy Social! Preferably on a Champagne Social: Our ‘Mum only’ nights out… yeah we mean out-out!!
Look forward to meeting you all soon!
To join for free go to www.mummysocial.com