It’s the school gate meeting point, but online.
At 8am every day, mums around the country pull up outside school gates and unload the small humans they’ve just fed, wiped, dressed and chauffeured. They hold their little hands, help them out of their seats, and watch as they totter off to school. It’s a proud moment, but it’s also a lonely one.
As all the kids converge into a big noisy mob, there’s a minute when mums are alone at the gate. You know what it’s like: maybe you make quick eye contact with other mums, but then it’s straight back in the car – until 3pm pick up time. You think it might be quite nice to make friends and talk about your kids… But it’s awkward.
And making friends as a grown-up is awkward. Seriously. But it’d be kind-of amazing if it could happen… wouldn’t it? If we could all just get over ourselves and make new friends at the school gate? Maybe even buddy up with our kids’ friends? Have a quick coffee, share advice, have some actual fun with other people who know what motherhood feels like every day?
Yeah. Kirsty Dahdah and Kate Sanchez had exactly the same idea. They’re both mums, and they think it’s about time parents made friends with other parents. That’s why they’ve created Schoolparents.com.au – a place online where parents can start up friendships with other parents.
“Of course we all want to support our children and nurture friendships,” says Kate, who has three kids under 6 and a background in marketing.
“My instinct was to contact other parents and organise to catch up outside of the school playground. But then I got really anxious about it! How do I introduce myself? Am I interrupting her day? What if she’s never heard of my child? What if she doesn’t want to make any new friends? It just felt too personal – especially in this digital age where sites like Facebook and LinkedIn have conditioned us to make introductions online.”
That’s why Kate got together with school and university friend Kirsty to make it easier for parents to connect.
“We felt there was an opportunity to develop a website that would allow parents to search for other parents within their child’s school and easily make connections,” says Kirsty, who has two kids and great expertise in HR.
“The more parents we spoke to, the more the concept of a parent-only social network was validated! What really motivated us to proceed with Schoolparents.com.au was the consistent excitement expressed by parents with children of all ages. Parents of pre-school aged children loved that they could find other parents despite their toddler being unable to fully articulate the names of their friends. Parents of older children could see the benefit of helping their child fit in at school – particularly important for shy children and when starting at a new school.”
Just think: When your non-parent friends get sick of the constant stream of photos you post on Facebook, you can start sending them all to your new school pick-up friends. You can negotiate party invitation lists, set up car pooling, translate the messages kids bring home from school, and maybe… HAVE FUN.
Where did you make new friends when you became a mum?
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