We’ve had apps for all sorts of online dating but now a new piece of technology is bringing mums together in Gloucestershire.
Mush lets you create a profile detailing the area you live in, the ages of your children and what you’re interested in, then you can see who else is on it near you and message them to arrange coffee or a play date.
It is a very simple to use gives parents the opportunity to organise group meet ups, like coffee in a child-friendly café or a weekly group walk, and these are now taking place regularly in Gloucester.
One mother Rebecca Snel, 41, from Gloucester, has two sons, 11-month-old Joshua and 3-year-old Thomas. Rebecca had spent fifteen years in Sweden before and had not grown up with other women in the area so did not have that social group. When she came to Gloucester she had initially moved to Kingsway and then had had to abruptly move to White City where she is now settled, but had to start again.
Rebecca said: “I’ve had three sons, and each time I have been on maternity leave I experienced the feelings of loneliness, isolation and helplessness. The only times I experienced a lift of these feelings was when I made it out to baby groups or play areas where I could meet other mums.
“It is not always easy to get out, especially if you have more than one child to manage. I knew there were many other mums around, many of who were also in the same boat. Yet it was difficult to connect.
“I searched the internet for local forums but there were not many with much activity. I tried starting my own local website for families but the response was limited as I’m afraid it wasn’t a very mobile friendly site. Finally, I received a tip about an app called Mush, which is pretty like a dating app but for mums.”
Some days it is difficult to even get out of the house with young children who do not necessarily want to play ball and have no idea of schedules and time keeping, however meeting people and getting to know other parents is good for the parent and child.
Children enjoy socialising with other children so the benefits for the parents and child are very positive. Children develop skills outside of the home in varied environments and not only that it comes back to have a support network for the mothers if they are faced with difficulties and have someone there to talk to.
Another fellow Mush user Nicola Brown, 41 and from Cheltenham said: “When I had my son, I didn’t have anyone close to me that had a baby of a similar age. I’d done antenatal classes and though the group met every couple of weeks, I found I began to feel pretty lonely. I’d go and meet friends who didn’t have kids during their lunch breaks or go for long walks to get myself out of the house but I craved the support and friendship I’d hoped to find in fellow mums.
“When I’d built my confidence more, I’d attend local groups which were great and I’d get chatting to mums but it felt too soon or too forward to ask to connect on Facebook, or for a phone number so “I’d leave sometimes feeling more lonely than before I’d gone! One day it occurred to me that there should be something out there in this day and age. I searched the App Store and came across Mush which is free to connect mums with other local mums, and it was just what I needed.
“It meant that I could contact mums knowing they were looking for other mums to meet up with. I set up a profile in minutes and then noticed a mum on there who’d been in a swimming class, so I plucked up the courage and contacted her. We met for coffee, in fact, we’ve met a number of times now and since then I’ve connected with lots of local mums and regularly arrange meet ups or have mums contacting me too”.
There are many mothers out there that have grown up in social groups and gone on to have children at a similar time, but then there are others in the community that find it a little difficult to bridge that gap to get out there.
The app is a great and simple way that gives mothers the chance to meet like-minded toddler tamers who have the same hobbies and interests. Be that swimming, or yoga or just going to a mother and baby group together
Gloucester City Council, Cabinet Member for Communities and Neighbourhoods and Member of the Health and Wellbeing Board Councillor Jennie Watkins has four children and two step children. She said: “Being a mum is amazing but it can be lonely and isolating at times, especially if you’re a lone parent or just moved into an area when building friendships and socialising can be challenging.
“I’ve experienced this and I chat to lots of parents through social media who feel the same and so having an online app to connect people is an obvious and brilliant opportunity.
“I’m delighted Rebecca is highlighting this very relevant issue because isolation is horrible and she is being an ambassador for all those parents out there who would like to get out more and find friendship and fun in their local communities.
“There are so many benefits for parents and children that can be had from increased social activity.”
To find out more visit the App store.