Michelle Kennedy is the CEO and co-founder of Peanut. She started Peanut after struggling to meet other mamas she could relate to while also working. After starting her career as an M&A lawyer at leading international law firm Mishcon de Reya, she joined dating app Badoo and was integral to the launch of Bumble. Michelle is also a mama to her 4-year-old Peanut, Finlay.
Dear Mom bff, Weird to think when we started on this motherhood journey, we didn’t know each other, that we had to start this terrifying, wonderful journey apart. Those early days of Fin arriving, without you around, were tough. I looked at Fin, and he looked back at me. I wasn’t sure what I was meant to do. Did he know who I was? Did he care? Would he ever, ever sleep? Time went so slowly, it felt exhausting. Feed, change, sleep, repeat. Hearing my own voice, a lot. Walking out, seeing other women together, wondering what they were talking about, what they were laughing about, how I could speak to them! Finding the courage to speak to other women, then struggling to move the conversation past sleep routines and poop because we didn’t really have anything in common. Then, the long emotional walks home wondering what I was doing wrong. Memories of being at school flooding back, constantly assessing situations to see whether I could ‘fit in’. After all, not all women are the same -- with different interests, values, points of view. And of course, not all moms are the same. That artificial coming together because ‘you're a mom, I’m a mom, we need to hang out’ can be awkward and forced, and make you feel lonely all over again! I was tired of faking it and pretending to be someone I wasn’t, just so that I could spend time with other adults and not be on my own. What I really, really needed was to find someone likeminded whom I could be honest and authentic with. So that I could reclaim that part of my identity again. And then, there was wonderful you. You, who looked at me wide eyed and said “bit boring isn’t it?” and laughed. You who nodded and gave me a hug when I said I felt like I was getting it all wrong. You, who stuffed cucumber into Fin’s mouth and danced around in front of our boys to distract them when I was trying to have a work call. You, who fed me wine when I complained of feeling guilty that I was happy being back at work and sad I wasn’t with Fin. You, who made me feel like me. We occasionally talked about poop, sure. But we mostly talked about everything else: bad TV, places we'd want to travel to, family, friends, past, future hopes... You didn't care if I had a bare face or if my house wasn't tidy. And you didn't care that I'd sometimes change the tip back to Fin when I wonder if it was normal for his favorite color to be black. Because of you, I now feel that Motherhood is a chapter in my book, not the only one. Sometimes it's challenging, confusing, and even scary; but it’s amazing and exciting. And it became a lot less daunting when I was able to share my journey with you, whom I love and respect. That's all I needed -- the support of a woman who wasn't just a mother too, but someone I could relate to. And that's what you gave to me and even gave me the inspiration to find my calling: helping other women find their network of support -- their BFFs. I really believe that amazing things happen when women come together, and our relationship is proof of that. Thanks, mama. I owe you, a lot; and I love you, a lot. xoxo, Michelle