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Kirkland mom helps create Mom Meet Mom start-up

Julia High, a co-founder of Mom Meet Mom, poses with her daughters, newborn Isabelle Smith and 3-year-old Katherine Smith.  - RAECHEL DAWSON, Kirkland Reporter
Julia High, a co-founder of Mom Meet Mom, poses with her daughters, newborn Isabelle Smith and 3-year-old Katherine Smith.
— image credit: RAECHEL DAWSON, Kirkland Reporter

With more than 100 new users each week, Mom Meet Mom, a start-up created by one Kirkland mom and two Boston moms, will gain even more attention when they plan to launch the website nationally on July 25.

Currently in the beta stage, the individualized matching website has close to 1,000 mothers looking to expand their maternal social network in a safe and reliable environment.

After moms fill out a question survey based on criteria such as personalities, interests, activities, schedules and their children’s personalities and interests, a special algorithm matches users with others in their area. From there, moms can choose to send a friend request, they can chat online and then arrange a place and time to meet up if desired.

“Everybody’s kind of messing up and trying their best in the same way and it makes a big difference knowing you’re not alone and if we can prevent moms from feeling isolated and alone like that, then we’ve succeeded,” said Kirkland resident Julia High, co-founder of Mom Meet Mom.

Last year, High and her friend Christa Terry, who lives in Massachusetts, came up with the idea after wishing there was something they could do to take the stress out of meeting other moms. Later, Meg Gerritson from the Boston area joined the team after she had the same idea.

High, a cognitive neuroscientist social media strategist turned stay-at-home mom, moved across the country and found meeting new moms “analogous to the awkwardness of dating.”

“It was just that feeling of being completely exhausted by going to parks and playgrounds and trying to figure out what woman looks like she might be friendly,” said High, who has a 3-year-old daughter and a newborn. “Her kid is playing with my kid. I hope that means we’ll get along.”

Terry, an author, editor and occasional marketer, helped found the start-up so that other working moms, such as herself, could stay abreast in the social scene while still managing busy schedules. Terry also had several months when she couldn’t meet new moms and go on playdates because her daughter was born six weeks premature and was prone to flu season at the time.

And Gerritson, a creative online marketer for start-ups turned stay-at-home mom, spent her time creating a new geolocation application - before she joined the Mom Meet Mom team - that would bring moms and children together for an “allergy-free playdate,” as her son has severe peanut and egg allergies.

“All these different experiences - moving across country, having a premie, having a kid with allergies - the list goes on - being a single mom, it’s challenging,” High said.

The Mom Meet Mom team launched their beta website in the Boston area on Mother’s Day, six days after High’s second daughter was born. Aside from going national, High said their goals include improving the user experience through feedback and collecting data.

Next year they hope to implement an additional tier of service that would be ad free and have more communication tools and an improved matching algorithm for a monthly subscription fee. But High notes the basic level of service will always be free.

“The goal is to connect moms and we don’t want to shut anyone out,” High said. “If you can get online, you can use our stuff.”

As the mothers of Mom Meet Mom prepare their national launch for the “ridiculously large and diverse market” of about 35-38 million moms with kids under 18 years old, High said it may be a while before they think about an international level.

“You’ve got everything from your urban single mom to your rural, stay-at-home, homeschooling mom. And everything in between,” High said. “It’s a lot to think about. How do you create a service that serves [both]?”

The majority of the users are in the Boston area with clusters in Washington DC, California and Seattle - “with four in Kirkland,” High told the Reporter at the time of interview.

And while High says her experience meeting moms in Kirkland has been rocky, she is a client of Mom Meet Mom herself and admits meeting new friends is hard with a 6-week-old baby girl.

“I am not just the co-founder, I’m a client,” she laughs.

For more information or to sign up for Mom Meet Mom, visit mommeetmom.com.

 

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