Okay, I’ll admit it: I’m kind of addicted to Peanut. Not because it’s so awesome or anything. It’s actually almost completely useless in its current form. But I love the idea of it. In fact, I’ve wanted something like this to exist since the moment I became a mom. Peanut is Tinder for mom friends.
The app was created by Michelle Kennedy and Greg Orlowski, both parents themselves, and its resemblance to a dating app is no accident. Kennedy was previously general counsel and then deputy CEO of Badoo, an online dating company, and she also helped create the dating app Bumble.
Being a mom is isolating. If you’ve chosen to stay home with your baby, you spend your entire day hanging out with someone whose attempts at conversation are, at best, limited to wants, needs, and when it will be time to watch TV and, at worst, prefaced by a very large spit-up all down your back. If you’ve chosen to work, on the other hand, you’re suddenly juggling your old life and your new one, potentially unable to connect with your colleagues in the way that you used to and struggling to connect with other moms, too, since you’re at work all day, instead of hanging out at the playground.
It’s not that you don’t have friends. I’m sure you have lots of nice friends who love you very much. Calm down. It’s just that you may not have mom friends. You know, people who get you. Who understand what tired means (as in, a very small human screamed in your face non-stop from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Not, I didn’t get my full eight hours). Who don’t even notice when you start a conversation and don’t come back to it until two weeks later because your kid stole some other kid’s toy elephant and you had to intervene and then forgot what you were saying. People who are in the same boat: moms.
But it’s hard to make new friends. And it’s especially hard when you’re just trying to keep your eyes open because your kid was up all night with an ear infection, or when you’re chasing after your two-year-old so he doesn’t pet that mean-looking dog whose owner always says he’s friendly. And some days it’s just hard to get outside. So, you want to make friends. But you need a little help. At least, I do!
That’s the point of Peanut. It uses your Facebook account to create a profile which you can then edit (if, say, you really don’t want total strangers to see that you own a shirt that says “Phantom of the Opera forever” . . . for example). You can also choose from a set list of “badges” to broadcast a little bit more about yourself. Things like “Routine Queen” or “Book Worm” or “Powered by Caffeine.” You also enter the age and gender of your children as well as their names, if you choose (but that’s optional if, like me, you’re wary of putting too much information about your child online). You can also add your preferred language, a short bio, your occupation and your education. And you can specify whether you work full-time, part-time, or stay home full-time. Then it uses your location to show you profiles of moms near you.
Just like a dating app (but minus the inappropriate pictures), you see each profile and swipe down to pass them by, or up to “wave” at them. If a mom “waves back” she shows up in a separate section and you can start a chat with her. You can also create group chats with multiple moms with whom you’ve expressed mutual interest.
So, it sounds great. And it will be great I hope. But, at the moment, it is rendered basically useless by a lack of numbers. There just aren’t enough people yet to make all that swiping worthwhile. I live in New York City where traveling even a couple miles can take literally hours. But I’m seeing profiles from people in upstate New York and even New Jersey because there just aren’t enough people using the app to be able to show me people closer to home. Which is a problem that, hopefully, will improve with time.
Another issue is a lack of filters. Because I’m a stay-at-home mom, for example, who is really looking to hang out with other moms during the week, I’m not interested in moms who work full-time. (Before you say something nasty, I don’t mean that I’m not interested in them as people. Or that I wouldn’t be happy to get to know them. Only that I’m mostly trying to connect with other moms who are around during the long weekdays when I could use another adult to talk to.) You also can’t filter by age of child so, if you’re hoping to find a friend for your child as well as a friend of your own, it can be a little tricky. But again, I’m sure all these kinks will be ironed out in time.
In the meantime, I’m rooting for Peanut. And I’m not even bitter that I thought of it first. You can get it now for free, but only on iPhone. Sign up. Maybe we can be friends!