Christa from Mom Meet Mom is taking over the blog today while I’m on a brief maternity break!
Once upon a time, I had a premature baby girl. I was incredibly lucky that I had a tribe of mamas who all had babies right around the same time I unexpectedly had my own. What I didn’t have was someone with whom I could share the unique experience of having a preemie and everything that goes with that: The discharge from labor and delivery without a baby in your arms. The constant feeding struggles. Early intervention. Weekly weigh-ins for months. Being trapped at home during cold and flu season.
It was a sad and isolating bunch of months.
But time marched forward and after a while, aside from her diminutive size, my preemie wasn’t much of a preemie anymore. I went back to work, and that’s when I once again found myself flying solo because no other mama in my life had to add ‘working’ to her job title.
While my baby grew and I worked, two more moms had babies and started their own motherhood journeys. One, my friend Julia, moved across the country with a high needs 18-month-old in tow to a city where she knew no one – flying solo by default. The other, Meg, a stranger to me then, had a son who she’d later discover had a severe nut allergy and she had to figure out how to navigate that all on her own.
There were others, too, the moms we three knew. Moms of toddlers just diagnosed as being on the spectrum. Working moms who were hanging on by a thread. Moms going through tricky divorces. Moms who were having their second, third, or even fifth kid when no one else was, and moms who felt like they just plain didn’t fit in, among others.
The common thread was loneliness. Who’d have thought that becoming a mom – adding people to a family – could make you feel like the loneliest person in the world? Who’d have thought that motherhood could be so isolating?
And that’s how Mom Meet Mom was born. Three moms, three different situations, but each of us wishing we had a way to connect. Not just virtually, but locally and without stress or awkwardness or fear of rejection. We asked around and it turned out that it wasn’t just us three, but rather hundreds of moms (and if we extrapolated from that, it was more like thousands of moms) looking for something more than the uncomfortable experience of walking into a mom’s group where everyone already knows each other or trying to muster up the guts to ask for another mom’s digits on the playground. ‘Mom dating,’ it turns out, sucks.
When Julia, Meg, and I didn’t find an easy way to get what we were looking for, we said, “Okay, we’ll build it.” And we did, with the help of an awesome team of developers. Today, Mom Meet Mom works kind of like a dating site: we don’t just give members a way to search for local moms; we actually match them with the nearby moms who they’re going to get along with and have the most in common with based on their answers to questions about their families, their interests, and their lives.
The Mom Meet Mom that exists now is kind of different than the Mom Meet Mom that existed in our heads and when we first started out. If there’s one thing moms are good at it’s telling people what they want. We’re good listeners, and we listened – shaping the site based on the kinds of things moms were telling us they wanted to see. I actually think that’s my favorite thing about what we’ve accomplished so far. The site isn’t just our project, but a collaboration between ourselves and between us and the hundreds of moms who’ve written with suggestions, compliments, and yes, complaints.
Actually, no, my very favorite thing about co-founding Mom Meet Mom is that in creating this website, I inadvertently solved my own problem. I was a working mom in a sea of SAHMs. Now I’m one of three likeminded moms working together. Of all the successful matches made among moms on the site, the friendship that has developed between myself, Meg, and Julia as we worked – and continue to work – on the site will always stand out in my mind as the first, and best, Mom Meet Mom success story.
Christa Terry is one of the founders of Mom Meet Mom, a social network where moms can find new friends, activity buddies, and playdates for their kids. The site has been featured on Good Morning America and in TechCrunch and DailyCandy, as well as in many other notable places.