Audrey Poulin is 36 weeks pregnant, but she still made the trip in a 10.6-metre “Mom-Mobile” Winnebago from her Quebec home to Toronto to help other mothers beat the blues.
Poulin, 37, and her husband, David Proulx, are the co-creators of Social.Mom, an app they describe as “Tinder meets Facebook, but for moms only.” The Tinder comparison is the app will match you up with local profiles, but there’s no swiping left or right.
The mom of two young kids built the app because 80% of millennial mothers suffer from loneliness, often getting judged for their parenting posts on Facebook or other social media platforms. That judgement isolates them when there should be more outreach, she said. The couple toured across Canada last summer, but last week, made up for the missed stop in Toronto.
“I felt lonely myself and I needed to connect with other moms,” she explained.
“I needed a safe place where I could share what I’m struggling with. I think when you have a baby, everything changes. You have new questions during the pregnancy, but when the baby comes, you don’t know what to do. We have a lot of hormones and emotions, it’s almost like the teenage years, but for moms.”
The app, available at the App Store or Google Play, has almost 60,000 downloads since it premiered in July 2017.
After users find other like-minded moms in their area and break the ice using the app, they can create playdates, meet for coffee or take part in events planned by others.
There is also a feed of mom-related content to help share info and tidbits that make the day less lonely.
The tour last summer began in Montreal and stopped at 12 cities across Canada, ending in Vancouver. Last Friday, the family travelled to Brampton and Rennie Park near High Park to promote the platform. They were unable to come to Toronto in 2017, but wanted to continue spreading awareness of “mom loneliness” this year before Poulin gives birth their baby boy, Caleb, on Sept. 1, in Montreal.
Poulin said there’s a lot judgement surrounding parenting choices — especially those views expressed in online groups — because people love complaining.
“In the same platform where you’re always judging and giving your opinion without thinking of the other person receiving it,” he said. “We had a mom come to social.mom after she took a picture of her kid with cookie crumbs on the sofa and was told she was a dirty person. She received nasty comments.”
More controversial topics, including sleep training and anti-vaccination, tend to draw ire from traditional mommy groups, added Poulin. The couple monitors the comments carefully and when a user is not being respectful to others in the group, they are removed from the community.
“Every mom has her own way of raising their kid,” she said.
Since launching the app, Poulin said she’s met one or two friends a week using the technology to find them. She knows she has her hands full raising three kids, but also feels reassured she’ll have the support she’ll need from other moms nearby.
“Before, I was going to parks and taking walks, but I always felt like I needed to talk with someone who understood me,” she said. “I’ve met a lot of moms. They’re all part of my life now.”
Source:: Toronto Sun – Movies