Founder Of Peanut, Michelle Kennedy On The Power Of Community, Maternity Leave, & Momming
This whole “momming” thing takes a village, literally. And that’s exactly why this mama has made it her mission to give moms a platform to create their village with her innovative company, Peanut, the app for “mom finding.” Now, pregnant with her second, Michelle shares what motivated her to launch Peanut. Plus, she dishes on the idea of maternity leave as a founder, as well as sushi, sex, and style! @peanut @michellekennedylon
What was your path to pregnancy?
My son is 5, so I took more than a minute to consider having another child, but it’s absolutely the best decision I’ve made.
As an entrepreneur, how do you anticipate taking maternity leave given your important role at Peanut?
Such a difficult one. I’m definitely planning to take some time as my body needs time to recover. I’m not sure that I’ll ever be fully ‘offline’, but I have an incredible team, so I know Peanut will be in great hands. I think the ability to spend time with the baby, getting to know one another is critical. I doubt my time away from the office will be more than seven to eight weeks, but that’s the beauty of working today, we can work remotely from anywhere!
Do you think it’s important for your kids to grow up with their mom working and running her own business? Do you think this will positively impact them?
For our family and me, yes. I believe it’s essential for them to see that Mommy saw a problem and wanted to fix it, so she works hard every day to do so. With that said, it’s not necessarily the right decision for everyone, of course. How could I tell Fin that he can do anything, be anyone, be the one to make change happen if he doesn’t see me following that same advice and logic every day? That’s not to say there aren’t huge sacrifices which come with working and running your own business as a mother. There are times when travel takes me away, which can be challenging, or when I have to work late or on the weekends. The focus, however, is always about maximizing our time together in the best way, be it playing, talking, or walks.
What has been your experience with the community both online and off in motherhood + pregnancy?
Community is essential. When I first became a mother, I didn’t have one. Most of my girlfriends didn’t have kids, and I was very much the first of our group to embark on this new chapter. It was frightening, lonely, and overwhelming. I needed other women around me, doing the same thing as me, and experiencing what I was experiencing. However, I also craved women that I respected, enjoyed, and would want to be friends with in real life too…NOT just “you’re a mom, and I’m a mom, so we should hang out.” The older Fin got, the more I needed that community. I found the older my child became and the further into motherhood I went, the more support and likeminded conversations I needed to have. How are you raising your son in this era? How are you explaining some of the decisions made by our country? Therefore, Peanut was born to satisfy this desire. Not only so I could find friends, but so I could build a community, tap into like-minded women at each stage of motherhood, from trying to conceive to pregnancy and even emptier nesters! Peanut is about social discovery and helping women find each other. That’s important both online and offline, as one feeds the other.
On how you launched Peanut and what’s next for the company?
What’s next? More product development. We spend a ton of time liaising with our users, making sure we understand what they need and why they need it. We’re digitalizing the adage, “it takes a village,” and that means we have to think about how best to address all of the issues. We continue to grow across the US and the UK and have much demand for ROW, so in time, we’ll start looking at that too because every woman deserves community after all!
Any rituals you’ve had throughout pregnancy?
Not a ritual, but sparkling water is my craving. It’s so weird because I’m usually not into sparkling water, but now, I can’t get enough. I’m always walking around with a Perrier in my hand. One ritual I do enjoy is put oil on my stomach before bed, it’s become a bonding moment between me and the baby. I have a little chat with her about my day (and beg her to go easy on the heartburn!)
What does a regular day of eating (plus, any cravings) look like to you?
I was extremely sick at the start of this pregnancy; for 16 weeks, I could hardly keep water down. So, now, I am very VERY kind to myself, and eat whatever I can, whenever I fancy. I’ve had a sweet tooth this pregnancy, so I eat a wild amount of fruit and chocolate too! Plus, vinegar fries have been heavy in rotation! Other than that, I try to eat cereal for breakfast, and lunch begins around 11 am and continues until about 2 pm (lots of grazing!).
What’s the first thing you want to eat post pregnancy?
SUSHI, I crave it every day!
What’s one thing you do everyday no matter how short on time you are?
Kiss my husband and son. Every day. No matter how much we’re rushing. It’s the most important thing.
What does 7 am and 7pm look like at your house?
7 am at our house is absolute madness. Between trying to let the puppy out, getting Fin dressed for school, preparing for the office, making Fin’s lunch, and attempting to leave the house on time for school at 7:45 am — it’s always a wonder that we manage. Without fail, there’s one day a week which results in a mad dash for the car! 7 pm, however, is much more relaxed! Usually, my husband or I sit with Fin in his room to read a bedtime story. He’s getting big now and often reads to us. However, when the baby arrives, I’m pretty sure 7 pm is going to become as chaotic as 7 am (I remember the bewitching hour first time around!)
What has been your go-to pregnancy style?
Two things, I love dungarees (overalls) on a pregnant woman. I’ve lived in my Hatch dunggies all pregnancy, and they look great with a heel in the early stages, and now with a pump or trainer. Also, there’s nothing that a good blazer with an excellent cut can’t dress up. However, in general, my look is casual.