Shove Your Brownies, Janice; We Can See the Himalayas: A Note from the Editor
By Jordan Sapir
It has been difficult for me to find the mental space to go into detail about our topic of the month. Of course, it’s been chaos all around me. For us, the chaos is ensuing not only in our disheveled hair and piles of unfolded clothing strewn upon the floors, but the discord is in our community, in our governments, and is not discriminating according to gender. I should discuss the topic at hand: Nurture Nature. However, I feel obliged in my self-appointed authority as a woman to say, “I told you so.” Well, we. We stay-at-home-moms, working moms, and single moms have told the world how epically challenging our daily lives are. We are overwhelmed with emotions and distraught during this pandemic. We are disheartened by our governments failure to respond in a timely and according manner. As mothers, we are tormented by death tolls, mass hospitalizations and safe-guarding our families. Most of all, we have been distressed by the unexpected impact of the pandemic on our family life.
Our already hectic lives have been turned upside down. While the entire world is at a standstill, moms are facing an unimaginable increase in workload. We talk about emotional workloads, and, well, this takes the cake. While service workers and medical staff are asked to work overtime, moms all across the world are also expected to do double duty. It’s not enough to be expected to police our families hygiene, play teacher, cook, and clean, but the internet also wants us to take this epic tragedy to transform ourselves into June Cleaver.
The exact opposite is happening. According to the very factual, knowledge-based research I’ve done on the Internet, statistics are showing that moms are dealing with the crisis more like Betty Draper. Yet, for moms, the mass of information ruling social media is how moms are perfectly managing their craft stations, fancy meal times, and using their endless free time to declutter like Marie Kondo and practice self-care à la Gwyneth. Truth is, we should all stop calling this home-schooling. At school, teachers have a team of staff backing them, and let’s not forget a degree in managing little people. Not to discredit the immensely difficult time teachers have, underpaid and overworked as they are. Mothers are now teaching their children, managing the household alone or not at all, all whilst dealing with a global tragedy.
For the first time in thirty years, the Himalayas are visible. “Air pollution levels as observed by satellite are showing drastic improvements in many areas that have been undergoing restrictive quarantines due to COVID-19,” Peter DeCarlo, an associate professor of environmental health engineering at Johns Hopkins University, told Newsweek. But Janice is baking brownies and posting how to perfectly orchestrate Easter dinner under quarantine. In the face of tragedy, I’d like to show my children not how well I’m put together, but how I am angered by the political turbulence, the faulty medical system, and our failing healthcare scheme.
As an expat mom, I’m particularly relieved to be in a country where being unemployed doesn’t mean the loss of healthcare coverage.
This is our opportunity to show our children that change is important. That our system is completely fractured.
We’ve been watching NASA live feeds, Angela Merkel, and Jacinda Ardern in between trips to scavenge through the forest as a family and learn about plant life and our ecosystem. They’ve seen me cry. We’ve also planted seedlings together and left painted rocks with positive slogans drawn on them. We’ve sprouted an avocado tree from a seed, planted sunflowers, done science experiments, and repurposed a ton of toilet paper rolls, egg cartons and glass jars. We have explored the bounty of our natural habitat and haven’t been confined to the expanse of our local playground, which mostly involves chatting with other moms while the children are playing.
If there is one thing positive that comes out of this dire situation, it’s that we as mothers lose the nonsense: the comparison, competitiveness, rivalry, and trite gossip; and focus on the importance of raising our children to understand the ramifications of our impact on Mother Earth, what with fast fashion, mass production, and useless rhetoric.
It’s not easy. None of this is easy. Every day I wake up and come up with a survival plan. How will I not fail at being a mom today? As long as your children are well-fed, moving, and learning, you are doing an impeccable job. It’s not time to organize your linen closet or spend time away from your children searching for tools online to keep them occupied.
It’s time to dig in the soil. In my case, I would like to show my children that sometimes seeds just don’t grow because they don’t have enough sun or water or the proper elements.
So, although I applaud Janice for her efforts at baking, which very well may be where she finds solace, I implore you, dear Über Moms, to bake if you so chose, to sew, to escape into a book, to practice self-care and compassion, but also to use this unfortunate crisis to educate your children on our political system, the ramifications of mass pollution, and the importance of being knowledgeable about the meaningful and not just the mundane.
And above all, to love our earth and nurture nature.
Jordan Sapir, mother of two glitter-laden girls, 2 and 5, studied Journalism and International Political Science in NYC, a place she once called home. She can slaughter five languages fluently. She has worked in a newsroom or two, walked a catwalk or three, and is all for an impromptu adventure. Having traded in her Prada for pretzels, the founder of Über Moms lives in Munich, where she is a stay at home mom and studying to become a certified nutritionist. She is a mommy on a mission and wants to help fellow mothers raise healthy happy families, and beat a PR here and there.