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Sarah Hesz (left) and Katie Massie-Taylor

Having a first baby, as I did in 2011, well before smartphones were commonplace, meant I might as well have been in the middle ages.

The post-industrial atomisation of society was at its apex that year – we lived our solitary lives side by side. There was, for me, no society, no community. The word “loneliness” doesn’t even come close. It was catastrophic.

Where, I would think to myself, are all the other bloody mums? Have I done this in a fucking vacuum? (As it turns out, I sort of had – my scientific knowledge now of the exact whereabouts of Kitty’s peers concludes that there are scant six year-olds within a walking radius of my house.) My NCT group were okay but all lived a car-ride away. What fucking use is that?

But now all I see everywhere I go are mums and babies. All together. Not side-by-side not talking because they’ve given up starting conversations because the other mum will only be Finnish or a vegan or about to go back to work (sorry). They’re all together, complaining ferociously – as they ought to be. Don’t get me wrong, I would no more want to be back there than I would want to be about to re-sit my A Levels BUT I am still envious of their cosy groups and Insta-mummies to give them thinspiration and clothing advice.

It’s smart phones that have done it. Moan about them all you like but they bring online and off-line communities together, physically, in one space, which is something you need with babies and small children. You need to get out of the house, you need to talk to another adult, IRL. I met my dear friend Annie Kelly on Twitter who lives round the corner from me but that was by accident.

The literal embodiment of this is the app Mush, the brainchild of two mums (obv) who met in a windy playground one day and, some time later, went: let’s do Tinder for mums. You make a profile – adding such salient details as I DON’T SPEAK ENGLISH or I’M GOING BACK TO WORK NEXT TUESDAY, put in your location and wait for the invitations to stay-and-play roll in.

I was very kindly invited to Mush’s first birthday party last week, but couldn’t go. So instead I asked one of the founders, Sarah Hesz, some questions over email, and she replied below. Of course if she were on Mush I would be circumspect as to being her friend as she has no interest in cooking (all I talk about) and wants to have a third child (INSANIA!) Also see ridiculously kind answer to “my kids are…”, which I would have completed “karmic retribution for sins in a former life” Perhaps that shite attitude is the reason I have had no friends.

1 When did you first meet Katie in that windy playground?

We had just had our second babies – November 2014
2 How soon after meeting did you take your first step to creating Mush?
After we’d come out of the newborn fug…Spring 2015 I think.
3 Can you give me some boasty figures? i.e. how many users, in what areas of the country…
We have 120k mums who have used the app and over 300k friendships have been made. We have users all over the UK as well as in Australia. This weekend we have our US launch in LA.
4 What was it like meeting the Duchess of Cambridge? 
She was really lovely. I was a bit over-excited, basically just said words at her and she smiled and nodded and pretended kindly I was making sense. Two things, wow, she walks well in heels and also, she’s still a normal mum, she knows how disgustingly grotty kids are – and that really is a leveller. 
5 Tell me some of the things your Mush users say to you about how the app has changed life for them
We have so many lovely emails from mums saving that Mush has been a lifeline and transformed their mat leave. The other day we were talking loudly about work in a coffee shop and a gorgeous mum came over to us and told us how she’d adopted her baby; because she’d had no antenatal classes she’d relied completely on Mush to make her local gang of mum friends. She was so grateful and a bit emotional about it all. That made our year.
6 What are you having for dinner tonight?
I’m afraid I have zero interest in cooking. Probably salad and then chocolate buttons.
7 What’s the last item of clothing you bought that you were excited about?
And Other Stories silk shirts – I bought 3 in different patterns to wear with jeans. They make me happy and don’t require ironing. 
8 Are you going to have a third?
I’d like to.
9 Complete this sentence: My kids are…. really excellent at dinosaur impressions.