When you give birth to a baby, you lose a few things in the process: control over your bladder, the ability to fit into any of your skinny jeans, and -- the saddest loss of all -- the time and energy to make new friends. No one really means to become a fumbling, socially awkward loner mom, but meeting people at the playground is hard, and most impromptu playdates are a gamble at best. That's why I'm not even slightly ashamed to admit my excitement over this new phone app that claims to be "Tinder for moms."
Peanut is a new app that lets you swipe up or down on chatting and meeting up with potential mom friends. According to TechCrunch, the app was cofounded by Michelle Kennedy, who spent six years working for the online dating company Badoo. Much like a dating app, Peanut allows moms to create a profile, upload photos, and then look for and chat with potential matches in their area.
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What makes the app unique is the profile options that apply specifically to being a mom. I downloaded the app this weekend to give it a test drive, and the very first thing it asked was how many kids I have and how old they are. After that, I was instructed to choose three options from a bunch of different "mom-centric" labels to describe myself.
Once you've chosen your descriptors (I chose bookworm, neighborhood newbie, and mom boss), you fill out a short bio and then you can start looking for matches. If you see a mom who looks cool, you swipe up to "wave" at her. If you think a mom isn't your type, you swipe down to keep looking. Once you've matched with a mom, you can start chatting right then and there via a messaging feature within the app.
Making new connections via apps and social media is likely the way of the future, but for those of us who roll a little more old-school, I understand it might seem awkward to troll photos and profiles looking for new friendships. But, the other people on the app are looking for friends too! There's no shame in it. Plus, apps have been really successful for dating, so I don't see any reason why that success can't translate into friendships too, especially in niche areas like motherhood.
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Pretty much every mom has a story of a "first mom-friend date" gone wrong. Maybe you met someone at the park with kids the same age as yours. You set a time to have coffee, but then she showed up and started trying to sell you a bunch of weight loss shakes, or you sat there deflated as your chill mom-hang turned into a heated political debate.
An app gives you an easy way to weed out incompatibilities before you spend time putting on real pants and driving to your local Starbucks. You can say in your profile that you're a vegan who sprinkles the F-bomb like seasoning throughout your conversations. Or, you can say that you're completely opposed to swearing and you're looking for someone to grill steaks with on Saturdays. You get to lay out the parameters of what kind of friends you're looking to make.
The other thing that makes a "Tinder for moms" so appealing is that it fits into any schedule, and it's completely low-stakes. As a working mom, I don't get to head to the park or the local children's museum as often as I'd like.
Plus, chatting up new people is hard. An app lets you browse on your own time and strike up conversations with no pressure or expectations.
Peanut certainly isn't the first app to try to appeal to the mom crowd. In the UK, they have a similar app called Mush, and there's a Yelp-like app for moms called Winnie that's popular for finding kid-friendly spots on the West Coast. No doubt, there will also be plenty of copycat apps that crop up once Peanut takes off. But, I say the more the merrier.
Motherhood is a crazy ride, and it's one that requires the occasional weeknight glass of wine or the "omg my kids are driving me F-ing nuts" text. Almost every mom I know wishes she had more friends to turn to when sh-t gets real, and if an app can help us find companionship, laughs, or even just someone who understands the pain of missing the end of This Is Us because the 3-year-old got out of bed again, there is exactly zero shame in using it and seeing what mom besties might be out there.