Thursday, April 2, 2020

World Moms Give Perspective

World Moms Network contributors from around the world gather on
inform and comfort each other in our shared isolation.
Photo credit: Tes Soloman Silverman
Like a lot of folks these days, getting together with my friends for drinks and chats also means sitting in front of a computer screen. That can seem like an annoyance when it’s with my friends a few miles away, but it’s a giant privilege when I can get together with the women of World Moms Network!

World Moms Network was started by Jennifer Burden in 2010 with her vision that people would be much more tolerant and understanding of others who are different if they could personally feel connected to others globally. She built relationships with moms around the world and invited us to write blogs with our stories of raising children.

Over the years, we wrote of joys and concerns of motherhood in our own countries, which grew to include over 30 nations. The world would suffer many catastrophes like flooding in India, hurricanes in the U.S., and major earthquakes in Japan, Nepal, Ecuador, and Haiti.  Moms affected by disasters would write about their experiences, and the rest of the moms would read and check up on them with words of support. That was how it went until the coronavirus pandemic.

Never have we all experienced such an event all together. When several of us connected on our first online zoom call since the pandemic started, we had moms from Canada, Singapore, New Zealand, and several parts of the United States. All of our communities were in various stages lockdown depending on how our respective governments handled the COVID-19 crisis. It’s astounding how similar our experiences and feelings are, despite the miles between us.

The lives of the moms on the call were quite varied. Some have young kids, some have teens. Some moms work - requiring a 5AM wake-up to do work before kids must be supervised for at-home school) - and others are not employed. Our houses might be big or small, but all of us were feeling both anxious and glad to see each other’s faces.
As I listened to them, I kept thinking that if every American had friends like these, it would inoculate us from those that label COVID-19 coverage “fake news” and call the virus a “hoax” dreamt up by a political party. When you talk to a real live mom who tell you first-hand about what is happening in her community, it gives you context for your own situation and the news you consume.
Over email, I’ve continued to see more lockdown stories from Belgium, Switzerland, South Africa, and Portugal. In South Africa, they are only now starting to brace themselves for COVID-19 as it took longer to reach them. Racial issues persist as they battle a mis-informed rumor that only white people can catch the virus. Our Belgian mom is a scientist who shifted her attention to tending her garden as she can no longer access her lab. Switzerland was ahead of us in terms of remote learning, so our Swiss mom hopes they will reach a more normal state now that the teachers have things running smoother. A mother in Portugal tells us that the police are enforcing the stay-at-home order, but they are tentatively celebrating a flatter curve than Spain despite a shared geography on the Iberian peninsula.

I hope we’ll be able to share some of these stories soon at soon. In the meantime, it’s a source of joy and comfort to me to know that my fellow moms are out there doing the best they can to bring comfort and routine to their families and friends. Stay safe and healthy, everyone!