Hello, there! Remember when the World Moms used to jet set off to parts unknown? Or were always busy covering conferences and events around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals? Well, the pandemic has provided our editing team time to reflect about a lot, including about what the future of World Moms Network will be, and I’d like to share with you what’s been going on behind the scenes over the past year!
How World Moms Network Got Started
First, if you are new here, you may be wondering how we got started…Back in 2010 when I had a toddler and another one on the way, I was interested to find a site to read that had perspectives from mothers from around the world. When I couldn’t find it, I decided to create it by getting a bunch of books out of the library, creating a website, and (kindly) harassing mothers I knew to write for the site to get started. If you build it, they will come. And they came! I have met so many magnificent women through this site! And if I knew the impact we were about to make in the years to come, I may have been even more nervous on day one – not being able to see the future, is bliss sometimes!
Over the past more than a decade we grew to over 70 volunteer global staff. Our World Moms wrote their hearts out on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights, and social good. They also made global friends along the way, championed social good causes, were sent on international reporting trips, spoke at the World Bank, and more! Then in more recent years we began to slow down…
The Slow Down…Was This The End?
Maybe it was because our kids were getting a bit older and we found ourselves with less time in front of the computer, maybe it was because we got more involved in our local communities, maybe it was because we went back to full time work or our work responsibilities grew, maybe it was because we all just needed a break, maybe blogging was losing steam, maybe we had had a good run, and this was it. However, amid the slowdown, the site stayed up. There were still World Moms who felt motivated here and there to put a post up. They kept us active, and we were still around.
I thought during the wind down, “This might be it.” We had an amazing run which led to invitations to places like the UN and the White House. (We still can’t believe that all happened!) Our editors had new things going on in their lives, too. Not to mention, the political climate of the world began to change and became more polarized (and depressing).
Messages From World Moms
I thought we were all ready to move on. Then the messages started rolling in. When are we beginning to ramp up? When can I write again? The World Moms wrote to me asking when we were getting back up and running. It was a pattern over time. The messages came in like delegates deliberating at a UN conference — from Europe, from Asia, from Africa, etc. The world was nudging World Moms Network that there was still a need for us.
Once the pandemic hit, we decided to have a few video calls to catch up with old friends and do a mental health check in. Every time we had a call different World Moms would show up. The questioning continued, “What are the next steps with World Moms Network?”, and they talked about how much they needed our community. It was their happy place. And, of course, we laughed A LOT! We’d hear stories that World Moms Network would come up in a mom’s therapy session as being something they really loved doing and that made them feel good about themselves and the world. Having their roles here made them feel important. Connecting with moms outside of their culture made life exciting and interesting! This was all true for me, too!
I always thought that the site was for our readers. Well, it very much is, but I completely underestimated how much the site is for us, the World Moms contributors, too. We’re here for you, but we’re also here because we need to be. There’s just something brewing in the universe that is tugging at us to be together and to get back to writing and convening. Coming from a group of global moms who are so used to giving, it was quite impactful to realize that we were all getting something out of what we do here, too. World Moms Network is a place where we belong. That sense of belonging is important to me, too. I had just been too focused on what we were doing, and I needed time to think, to take a step back, and to see the greater picture.
Rebuilding World Moms Network
After our group calls at the beginning of the pandemic Senior Editors, Purnima in India and Elizabeth in the US, suggested we get on a call one day just to catch up together in a small group. That chat led to more chats. Those chats turned into action items. Before we knew it, we were meeting more regularly, having weekly calls, and our planning circle grew wider.
Then I started a grad school program at Columbia University to earn my Executive Masters of Public Administration with a global policy studies concentration. I used my Quantitative Analysis class to create an effective survey for our moms. I thought, “What the heck! Why don’t I poll the World Moms and see how many were actually interested in starting up regular posting again?” They responded!!! They wanted in! I was really quite overwhelmed.
Purnima, Elizabeth, and I took the survey data and began running with it. We rebuilt our editing team. That was the easiest part. To our luck over time we had some editors come and go and many wanted to come back! We started working with a web designer to rejuvenate the site. Our informal chats turned into 2 weekly meetings (at different times to accommodate time zones).
Kyla was back. Kirsten was back. Margie was back. Tes was back. Oh my gosh, this band was ready to practice! That plus Orana was back and ready to pump up our social media. Nicole was back and thinking about ways to align us with nonprofits. Erin was back and wanted to run a yoga and meditation month. I was running lots of meetings again! Each editor had a geographical region of writers. The majority of our writers returned.
Among those that didn’t return – some were having babies or just moved and needed some time. We began to feel empowered and soon realized that you never quite say goodbye to a World Mom. We expected lot of No’s. To hear stories about people had moved on and there was no longer room for World Moms Network. On the contrary, we received lots of yesses and responses from people who wanted to stay on board and help with photos or offer to help in some other way if they couldn’t write. Even Asta, a World Mom from Norway who wrote our very first post on November 1, 2010, is back to help with photos!!
World Moms Network Relaunches!
The connections we have made over the past decade were real. And strong. Here we are again! Readers and World Moms, welcome to World Moms Network 2.021! Beginning next week, we’ll be posting twice per week (be on the lookout on Tuesdays and Thursdays!) and are planning to cover more UN International Days and continue to align our site with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals because they are at the core of what is important to us globally. Also, we have taken feedback from our contributors and rearranged the site into updated hot topic columns: “World Voice” (human rights and social good), “Let’s Talk About Racism”, “Health and Wellness”, “COVID-19”, “World Parenting”, and “Meet a World Mom!”.
We’ve become a family. We need this network as much as you do. World Moms Network is a community that people enjoy being a part of. Get ready for another long ride. Get ready to hear more about the behind the scenes, as we try out better ways to bring that to the site. World Moms Network is BACK!!!
Thank you for being here with us! Please subscribe to our newsletter (sign up on this page) to keep up to date with our posts and engage with us on social media. We have a LinkedIn page now, too! Stay tuned for great things to come from World Moms Network!
— Jennifer Burden, Founder and CEO, World Moms Network
This is an original post to World Moms Network by founder and CEO, Jennifer Burden, who hails from New Jersey, USA. Photo credit to Shilpa Iyer Photography.