Interview with Meg Gerritson, Co-Founder of Hello Mamas
What inspired you to help create Hellomamas?
I created Hello Mamas alongside two amazing women and mothers, Christa Terry and Julia High. All three of us faced unique challenges when it came to making and keeping mom friends. My son, Jack, was extremely colicky and had severe food allergies, so I needed to be extra careful about where we planned playdates. Christa had a preemie in the winter so local moms’ groups were never an option as her baby was considered medically fragile. Julia moved across the country with an 18 month old in tow to a city where she knew no one. Each of us experienced these challenges first hand, eventually realizing we weren’t alone. There are so many other challenges that keep moms from finding friends and building their local mom tribe. We came together to make it easier for moms to find friends and support globally.
How does Hello Mamas help families who have babies / children with disabilities?
Meeting moms and planning playdates with local moms is challenging as it is. When you add family challenges like physical and mental disabilities into the mix, it can be overwhelming. It was very important to us that we create a channel that not only helps moms meet, but also one that empowers moms to connect with local and non-local families who are experiencing similar family challenges. For my family, that meant being able to plan playdates with fellow food allergy moms. For Christa, that meant being able to connect with other preemie moms.
Our Momfinder makes it very simple to search for local moms based on criteria that is important to you. Our family challenges section includes a variety of search options, ranging from prematurity and colic to autism and ADHD, as well as diabetes, cerebral palsy and cancer.
At the end of the day, we empower moms to empower one another through this parenting journey, which often comes with bumps in the road.
I think Hello Mamas can help moms and dads with disabilities as well. Tell us about that.
Through my experience with Hello Mamas, I’ve had the opportunity to meet so many mothers who have family members with disabilities and even those who have a disability themselves. The one thing that always amazes me is just how strong these women are – sometimes without realizing it.
The other side of the coin is that sometimes that strength comes with a wall because she is so invested in protecting her family. As parents, we naturally try to take on a lot, especially when our children are involved. The truth of the matter is that no mother should have to go at it alone. Surrounding yourself with a support system is the healthiest thing you can do for yourself. When mom feels supported, she’s stronger for it.
We are thrilled to be able to help moms realize that they are not alone. And to offer them a channel to connect with other moms who are experiencing similar challenges or have come out on the end side, and even moms who aren’t going through the same things, but are ready to share the journey.
How do you see your company impacting families on a social and global scale?
Four out of five moms don’t have enough friends. 53% feel lonely and isolated, and 87% miss the social life they had before having children.
These are scary statistics that are at the foundation of why we are doing what we are doing. Building a family should be the happiest experience of your life. Unfortunately, it can also be the most isolating one. As we continue to scale Hello Mamas globally, we will continue to combat this reality by empowering mothers everywhere to stay social.
What motivates you?
Our mom users continue to motivate us.
I’ll never forget a conversation I had with one of our users who lives way out in Alaska. She shared her story about how her husband was deployed via the U.S. Air Force while she was pregnant. They had just relocated their family to Alaska so she had absolutely no support network. She ended up having the baby very early. She faced caring for a premature child completely alone. Had she been looped into Hello Mamas at that time, she would have had the ability to find the support she needed, right there in her city.
These types of stories continue to surface, and the realness of them is what keeps us going at full speed.
I would also say that my business partners and I continue to motivate one another. Building a business is no walk in the park, but there is something especially empowering about doing it alongside other women who understand the kinds of challenges our users face.
Where do you see Hello Mamas in 5 years?
In 5 years I see Hello Mamas as a premier destination that empowers mothers globally.
I love to spend time with my 3-year-old, Jack, and my 1-year-old, Elle. We live in a beach town so I often spend our free time together at the beach where we just play or I can surf. In the winters I play ice hockey with a group of local moms!
What’s your life motto?
“Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing, gonna be alright.” (Bob Marley) And “Everything happens for a reason.”
About Hello Mamas
Hello Mamas is a social networking site and web app for moms that takes the stress out of meeting local mothers and finding playdates for kids. Visit www.hellomamas.com to learn more, and follow us for updates on Facebook , Instagram, and Twitter.