A new app is helping mums widen their social circle – and tackling the isolation that many may be feeling.
Likened to being a Tinder for mothers, Mush is less about finding lonely hearts and more about finding friends.
More than 1,300 mums within a 15-mile radius of Hemel Hempstead have downloaded the app to go on “mum dates” like meeting up at play groups or organised group walks.
The app, like Tinder, allows you tell it the area you live in, the ages of your children and your interests and it matches you with like-minded mums.
Half of 4,000 mums who were surveyed prior to the launch of Mush said they found it hard to make local mum friends – while 60 per cent sometimes go a full day without adult interaction.
Other startling stats revealed that 22 per cent of participants in the survey had only one “mum friend”, while 62 per cent had four or fewer.
With the aim of ending isolation – and possibly mental health problems – Mush is helping mums who are pregnant, new to the area, who are struggling to get out with their baby or who just want to widen their social circle to get out and meet others like them.
Lucy McRae, 45, from Kings Langley, is mum to five-year-old Oliver and three-year-old Sophie and, as the Mush research suggests, found it hard to meet people at first.
“When I became a mum I had just moved to this area. I had a new baby and my whole life changed, so all of a sudden I didn’t have as much in common with my existing friends who had older children and lived far away.
“Being a new mum is really tough as you’re exhausted and emotional, so it can be a lonely time if you don’t know others in the same position who can share what you’re experiencing.
“I did ante-natal classes and met a fantastic group of mums who still continue to be a wonderful support,
“But I also quickly realised that I needed to make a massive effort to meet more mums who lived nearby with babies of a similar age.”
Mush allows mums to create a profile detailing the area she lives in, the ages of her children and what she is interested in, then they can see who else is near and message them individually to arrange a coffee or a play date. It also provides safety guidelines about meeting new people.
Mush also lets people organise group meet ups, like coffee in a café, a group walk or even a run around in the local playground.
The app was launched in 2016 and now has more than 60,000 members across the country.
It was set up by two mums who met in a rainy playground and formed an instant friendship – they had no tech experience, but made it their mission that no mum should do it alone.
Lucy added: “There are loads of great play groups and classes in Hemel and beyond, but it can be nerve-wracking trying to strike up conversations in a big group of people you don’t know.
“I wish Mush had existed five years ago when I first became a mum.
“I’m really glad I have joined it and I have since met some lovely mums I would probably never have met otherwise.
“I feel like it is making a difference to mums who may otherwise feel isolated and not be coping.
“If Mush helps even one mum locally to get out and about more, I will be so proud. But hopefully it will help many more!”
The app can be downloaded on most mobile app stores.