I’ve often wondered if Facebook had existed when my oldest son was born, maybe I wouldn’t have felt as lonely as I did. By the time my younger son was born, Facebook was in full swing and I often made it through late-night feedings scrolling through my news feed reading articles and interacting with friends (knowing that they wouldn’t even see my “like” or “comment” until the sun come up, of course).
In other words, social media and my cell phone saved me. They were a lifeline to a world outside of spit-up and diaper blowouts. As much as I would love to have long, lingering conversations with my friends, the reality is that just isn’t in the cards for us at this stage of our lives. Children are screaming in the background. We can’t coordinate schedules. And we’re always running late for something.
People often lament the way we are glued to our phones, but I say THANK HEAVENS, because without my phone, it is entirely possible that the only conversations I would have during the day would be with people who still need to be reminded to flush the toilet.
These days, most of my communication is done on my cell phone via text, email, or social media. We’re communicating and connecting with each other in different ways now, but these conversations are no less important. And now three working moms are taking those new forms of communicating one step further with Emojimom, a new iOS keyboard with 250 emojis for pregnant women and moms that perfectly capture the ups and downs of #MomLife.
Launched on July 30, Emojimom is the brainchild of Sarah Robinson, Natalie Ralston and Hannah Hudson, three longtime friends and new moms who came up with the idea in the midst of a texting frenzy about the joys and challenges of new motherhood — things like, “Only three wake-ups last night, woohoo!” and “OMG, this mastitis is the worst.”
“Suddenly, it dawned on us,” Robinson tells Babble. “Why are there no emojis to describe what we’re going through and what it feels like? Like millions of other people, we loved unicode emoji, and used them constantly, but the yellow crying face just was not up to the task of conveying the feeling of spilling oh-so-painstakingly pumped milk; nor was the smiley face really expressing what it felt like when your baby smiled for the first time.”
What started as a “jokey conversation” about hypothetical pregnancy and motherhood emojis eventually turned into a business venture, and after brainstorming their app idea in the fall and Winter 2015, the trio began the development process in earnest in February 2016.
Their brainchild wasn’t without its challenges, of course. As three full-time working moms, simply finding time to work on the project was a constant struggle. Additionally, without any technical training, there was a steep learning curve when it came to the app development process.
It also took some time to find an illustrator who matched their vision. But eventually, they teamed up with Lauren Burke of Hey! Hey! Designs, who created 250 emojis that include a pregnant woman with back pain, mesh underwear, a peeing toddler, and a mom pumping in front of her computer.
Recognizing that parenting is an insanely wild ride (on which, sometimes all you can do is laugh), the women behind Emojimom are setting out to do just that — make people laugh. Even more than that, though, Robinson says they want to give parents a way to make their friends laugh.
“This parenthood gig is just ridiculously hard sometimes,” she tells Babble. “If we make it possible for you to brighten a friend’s day, or have your own day brightened, by exchanging something like a ‘lightning crotch’ emoji, then we’re psyched about that.”
But aside from the initial laughter, the Emojimom founders also want to help moms feel understood. “There is a lot about motherhood that is not talked about, particularly around what some women go through during pregnancy, labor, and post-partum,” says Robinson. “And so, by putting those things out there in a funny way, we hope that we can help women feel like someone gets what they’re going through.”
In the few days since the app launched, downloads have been through the roof, and the Emojimom team reiterates that users’ personal information is not accessed while using the app.
The app also includes a handful of dad-centric emojis, but if the interest is there, they would like to add even more emojis for dads, as well as parents of older kids. Perhaps a “I sat in someone else’s pee today because my boys have bad aim” or “OMFG I just stepped on another LEGO” emoji will be available soon …