This is one of the first pictures of my son Henry.
I love looking at this picture of his puffy little cheeks, and seeing him all wrapped up like a cocoon in his tiny hospital blanket on his first day on earth. He’s three now and full of demands (I want more ice cream!”) and dreams (“Mommy can we fly to grandpa’s house today and go to a baseball game?”) and even though I was there every step of the way, sometimes it’s hard to believe that he really started out as that helpless little baby burrito. I remember sitting in the hospital recovery room, just staring at him and thinking, “What do I do now???”
What I also love about this picture is that he could be any baby. Wrapped in the same ubiquitous pink and blue striped blanket that has graced millions of American newborns, it reminds me that while Henry is *my* little miracle, he is also one of many. Having a baby can sometimes feel like a ground-breaking journey, but it’s really one of the most common experiences on earth.
The day Henry was born, I was transformed. I became a mother, started a family, and (it felt at age 27) truly became an adult. And, I now realize, I joined a new tribe: the sisterhood of mamas.
In those early days, I was pretty desperate for advice. Henry had trouble gaining weight and I saw a stream of lactation consultants and pediatricians to make sure that he was developing as he should. I tried Googling really weird questions that only a new breastfeeding mom would search (for a good time look up “hands free pumping bra”), but found the resulting content really hit-or-miss. Too much information for new moms was unreliable, or unengaging. I stopped Googling.
Social media was a bit more helpful. Through a Facebook group I started, my fellow mom friends and I bonded over our common experiences and shared advice. [And yes, Henry eventually, definitely gained weight.] When one woman was struggling to survive severe morning sickness, we’d chat about remedies and tactics that worked. Other moms would ask for tips about how to handle long-distance travel with kids (answer: wine). Others wanted advice on favorite strollers or carseats. It wasn’t expert-driven, but it became a supportive place to get good information. So despite the fact that I had moved across the country and was raising my babies 3,000 away from family and most of my friends, I learned that digital communities could be incredibly powerful for women in the midst of the transition to motherhood.
It’s been so helpful for me to remember when I’m in the midst of an intense period of parenthood that others have gone before me — and survived. And it’s inspiring to hear stories of other women who have found ways to thrive. But we’re also living in an age of great social and technological change, and Millennial mothers increasingly say that they’re carving their own path towards “having it all,” one that allows them the freedom to work on their own terms — and to have children when they’re ready. They’re putting the “Mommy Wars” behind them and embracing the future of motherhood: Armed with a smartphone and a bundle of social media accounts, Millennial mothers are chasing community across Facebook and Instagram, hunting for flexible careers on LinkedIn, and looking for kid-related advice all across the web. They’re piecing together bits of information and inspiration all around, but no single parenting brand has kept up with them. Millennials women (who account for nearly 90 percent of new moms) expect brands to be as tech-savvy as they are, and need a way to more easily access great insights and inspiration. In a sea of information (much of it conflicting) about how to raise a child and retain a sense of identity along the way, it’s hard for Millennial moms to find easily digestible, expert information about motherhood.
That’s where Motherly comes in.
Jill Koziol, a fellow mom-of-two, and former strategy consultant and baby goods entrepreneur and I created Motherly together to provide a solutions-oriented, next-generation parenting platform aimed at Millennial moms. Through intelligent advice (on topics like breastfeeding, maternity leave, and sex after baby) and inspiring essays from fellow moms, as well as buying guides and news analysis, Motherly helps make motherhood a little bit easier. And with a mission like that (read: ‘What is Motherly’?), we love going to work every day.
Our goal is simple: We want modern mothers to be empowered with expert-driven information that informs and inspires them, and to get it all from a community that understands them. We’ll be collaborating with content partners to curate content for the exact age and stage of her child, hosting online classes on topics like planning for pregnancy and going back to work, and integrating commerce and community to make it easier for women to find innovative products and supportive networks. We’ll be testing video formats and running social media campaigns, all with the aim of delivering great information into a busy mother’s smartphone.
Just because we have a simple goal doesn’t mean it’s easy to achieve. That’s why we’re thrilled to join Matter and truly dig in to the needs and desires of our users, and mold Motherly into a platform that delivers innovative content, community, and commerce that meets the Millennial mom exactly where she is. (And if she’s hiding out in her closet to get a break from her kids, then we’ve totally been there.)
Motherhood is an amazing journey. We’re so excited to be in this together.