How a free app is connecting like-minded, local mums and removing the loneliness of motherhood.
By Antoinette Marshall - one half of the country lead for mush Australia.
The latest text exchange went something like this:
Felicity: Jack has been a stage 5 clinger all weekend!
Me: Oh my god what is their issue?! Frankie is the same. It's actually embarrassing
Felicity: And sorry but not sorry about Frankie. Makes me feel normal xxxx
Me: You can always feel normal with me (INSERT hands holding in friendship and the dancing bunnies emojis).
This is what being on the other side is like. The sisterhood of motherhood. It’s not to say that at times it may not feel judgemental or competitive (whether it’s coming from you, the other party or more often, from yourself). But there is this understanding. It’s the eye lock, the sympathetic head tilt or pursed lips that telepathically say, ‘I feel for you’, ‘I’ve been there my friend, and you’re doing an awesome job’.
This is why along with a mum I meet in a drop-in breastfeeding centre (so the place to meet someone these days!) we started a crusade. A mother’s movement. To ensure that no mum felt like she was going it alone. We are spreading the word that being a mum is many, many things.
It’s amazing. It’s hilarious. It’s hard work.
And sometimes, it’s downright lonely.
We want to remove this loneliness and help mothers around Australia to connect with other local women in their area. Because experiences shared are experiences enhanced. The highs and the lows of motherhood need to be shared mum friends. Because happy mums make happy kids too!
Loneliness in motherhood is a common experience. These days, we are left to create our own villages; we single parents, partners work unusual hours or interstate, we who don’t have family close by or that we are connected with. But also being alone doesn’t necessarily only make you lonely. Being surrounded by the wrong people, people who can’t share your experience can be just as isolating.
After mother’s group had come and gone, Felicity and I just couldn’t stop asking ourselves; wouldn't it be great if there is an easier way to meet local, like-minded women with children the same age?
mush makes life as a mum more brilliant.
So why is it called mush? Well, you turn food into mush to feed babies. Your brain turns to mush when you don't have adult conversation. It is an acronym for mum’s social hub. It is also old English for pal, and in Hebrew means perfect!
What I love most about mush is that you create a profile for yourself; yeah describing your mum self but also and most importantly who you are as YOU (you know that person that is still inside there who just happens to be hungry, tired, and in a body you don’t recognise). And you find the people YOU relate to. So rather than just being put in a Mother’s Group with people who live within a certain distance and had a child at the same time you can connect with mums who say hey I’m a wine lover (27% of Australian mush mums are); I’m a chocoholic (25%); I’m a multi-tasker (15%) or I’m experiencing PND (2%).
We also have these awesome mush guides that are hilarious short guides to mum life like no other. Think honest and fun mum fails and successes without judgement like ‘Ways I tried and failed to be a cool mum’ or ‘Skills you can transfer from boss to baby – and back again’.
mush encapsulates everything that I want to take out of my motherhood experience and share with other mums. It makes mums feel stronger, better connected, supported and more empowered. It allows women to take back the control that they feel like they have lost when their lives have so quickly and dramatically changed.
I want mums to know that it’s ok to feel lonely, to want adult company (with or without your baby) and to sometimes feel like you’re a failure or a fraud. That speaking honestly and openly doesn’t make you a failure or a fraud. That is doesn’t mean you’ll be judged. Or labelled. At mush we celebrate all the mums out there speaking the truth on motherhood. Because only through this can other mums feel less alone.
Life is easier, better and brighter with friends. And not just any old friend, but the ones that we are truly open with, when we are vulnerable. Some times becoming a mum makes you find new friends but wouldn’t it be awesome if these friends weren’t just for your kids’ sake but for your own sanity too. Only by sharing our real experiences can we make others feel better about themselves and can we feel better about ourselves.
Let’s do this together - #nomumalone
ABOUT MUSH AUSTRALIA
mush is a free app to connect like-minded local mums with kids the same age.
Biz owner: In Australia - Antoinette Marshall and Felicity Morrow are the Country Leads for the App.
Favourite café: Lots of them all over the Melbourne’s West (where I live) but a favourite is Rudimentary in Footscray.
Coffee order: Almond Milk Chai Latte (tea leaves not powder please)
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Are you a Melbourne mover & shaker? Does your biz make mother's lives easier, better and brighter? We'd love to showcase your dreams and help Melbourne mums on their quest to shop small and support locals. Have a look at our Celebrate Melbourne page for more info.