Read the headline in the Summer of 2015. An article ensued which concluded that Harper Beckham would have speech or dental issues if she continued to use a dummy at 'her age'.
I read the article with a mix of horror, and guilt. Guilt because Fin (aged 18 months), still had a dummy at night. Horror because, why did this little girl have millions of people assessing her? I think what I found most depressing, was that we were all ready to sit in judge and jury of Victoria Beckham, and her parenting choices.
I discussed the article a few days later with a few of my girlfriends. "I mean, do you care whether someone else's child has a dummy? What's it got to do with us?" I started... and I was really surprised at the response. Whilst some of my friends certainly understood my take, not everyone felt the same way. "I actually think it's terrible", responded one of my friends. My mind was reeling, you think you know a person...
The fact is, people judge people, women judge women, but most prevalently it seemed to me, people judge mothers. If we're not judging their approach to parenting, we're judging what they wear, whether they've lost their baby weight, whether their child speaks other languages, whether their baby is walking, whether they let their child eat chocolate. I've lost count of the number of comments I've received (and by the way, the comment giver can be man, woman, child, elder, youngster, it's kind of indiscriminate) where a judgment is wrapped in a 'compliment' or an 'observation'. Every time I receive one, it hurts a little more than the first. I was speaking to a girlfriend about it. I was recounting my latest experience "You went back to work when Fin was 6 months? I have so much respect for you, I mean I couldn't have done it, I couldn't have left [my baby], but good for you, I envy you". She laughed, herself a stay at home mother, "oh that's nothing", she recounted, "I was at a dinner the other night, and someone said "you'll know, where can we get good coffee round here? You mummies are drinking coffee all day, you must have the best places down by now"". Wow.
All of these snap judgements, these microaggressions, can add to the fear that can often surround motherhood. I lost hours of my life second guessing what people were thinking of me, what I was doing, whether I was doing a good job. Really, all that mattered was whether I was putting Fin first, doing the best job I could do, and being me. That can only come with time, and a little more confidence. I've actually only gained that confidence from speaking to other women, finding I'm not alone in feeling incredibly frustrated by this circle of judgement. Finding it's ok to feel frustrated at this 'mummy' tag, without recognition of the other parts of woman that I am. Finding it's ok to need to find female company where you don't feel judged, where you don't second guess what people are thinking of you, because let's face it...life is way too short.
I created Peanut because I wanted to find a community of women who were like minded. I had been working with dating products for years, and what better way to understand how people form connections, and use that knowledge to help a market I understood far more intimately; mothers. Today, more than ever, women want to find and spend time with women who share their values (whatever they may be). Building a product that facilitated those encounters, that made motherhood feel a little less intimidating, a little less judgmental, was something which felt an obvious solution to a clear pain point.
Peanut is an app which releases on the app store today. It offers a smart, mobile first solution for mothers to meet like-minded mothers. The response to the beta has been overwhelming, I've received so many personal messages from women explaining that they've been waiting for something like this. I am thrilled, but most importantly, I am relieved, it feels like one small step towards stopping the judgement of motherhood. Peanut helping women to meet as mamas, but connect as women.