Since his days as good-guy heartthrob Billy Campbell on "Melrose Place" ended in 1999, actor-turned-entrepreneur Andrew Shue has been helping mothers connect with a Web site he co-founded called CafeMom.com.
The site bills itself as "a place for moms and moms-to-be to connect with one another," and Shue came up with the idea after he saw how isolated his wife became after having their children.
"I was working with a bunch of people, bunch of moms and dads, and my childhood best friend and I started CafeMom," Shue told "Good Morning America" today. "After two years, [it's] the largest social network for moms."
Shue, 42, saw how other popular social-networking sites were and launched CafeMom.com so moms could help each other out. The maternal site has 1.7 million registered users, he said.
"It's really the most amazing thing how moms become the best resource for each other," he said. "It's this co-op or virtual park bench of moms coming together and sharing information, friendship, fun."
The site offers things like scavenger hunts and a kind of Second Life for mothers. There in Latte Land they can open a coffee shop, buy clothes and build friendships. The diversity of mothers that use the site, he said, is staggering.
"There's over 60,000 groups that have been formed," he said. "Everything from home schooling moms to moms raising autistic kids, military moms, Jewish moms, Muslim moms, Christian moms. You can't imagine the diversity. They are each other's best resource."
And, according to Shue, CafeMom.com, which launched in 2006, is a dad-free zone. He said fathers have Web sites like ESPN.com. The idea behind his site is that women should be comfortable talking about anything and moms-only site will make them feel safer.
"As much as dads want to think we're pitching in," the father of three said, "it's this phase of moms' lives where, as women, they can only share these experiences with each other. ... Dads can come on and look, but they can't join."
Money, Food Big Pulls for Moms
While the site provides a myriad of resources for moms, saving money has been a big pull in the current economic climate, CafeMom's senior vice president Laura Fortner said.
"Money saving is a big theme right now," she said. "In the current economy, everybody's looking for ways to save money. We've seen growth in a group called 'Steals and Deals' where everybody's getting tips and saving opportunities."
Food is also a popular section, Fortner said, because a lot of moms are turning to the site for dinner ideas.
More importantly, Shue said, is the site's ability to allow moms to find other moms who are going through or have been through whatever they're experiencing.
"With a couple of keystrokes, they can reach out to another mother at that time ... looking for help and advice from someone who's been there," he said.