SOUTH AFRICA: Surviving the Turmoil

SOUTH AFRICA: Surviving the Turmoil


I recently read a very thought-provoking post by a fellow #WorldMom with the title of My Frame World. In it, she wrote,

The manageable reality is my reference, a framework to enable me to keep functioning. It enables me to get up at a quarter past seven to cut some pieces of imported mango for my precious children. To sigh when looking at overflowing laundry baskets. To nag about an energy-devouring meeting that took longer than expected. It’s the framework that’s keeping me whole. The Frame World.

She ended her post with the question: “How do you deal with the discrepancy between your own private life and the tragedies around it? Does your Frame World help keeping you sane or is it rather keeping you from acting?”

I’ve been sitting with the abovementioned questions for a while, because they deserve a serious answer. It made me think about how we’re all first and foremost mothers. As such, our first duty is to protect our own children to the best of our ability, and to raise them to become contributing members of our society . My late grandfather always said; “Charity begins at home”.


I was born in Rome, Italy. My family emigrated to Cape Town, South Africa, when I was 8 years old. My husband’s family emigrated here when he was 5 years old. Both of our families were thinking that Italy was doomed, and that South Africa was the “Promised Land”. We grew up here, met and married here, and raised our children in “The Mother City”. 

I love this country and this city, but lately the tragedies have hit very close to home. South Africa is currently in turmoil.

Municipal elections will be held this year and (like every other election year) the violent protests have become so commonplace that they’re not even really considered “newsworthy” any more, which is sad. The violence makes many people afraid to speak out. From my experience, caucasians are afraid to speak out against the ethnic majority, when it comes to any government issue, in fear of being labeled racist.

The wounds of Apartheid are still very raw in our country, and inequality still exists. Even though the ethnic majority and ruling party have been in power for over 20 years, the road to repair the wrongs of the past is long and winding, and the ride is bumpy. We are experiencing the growing pains of bringing South Africa to a true equality. The weight of a pendulum swings from side to side until it achieves equilibrium. I can’t help but feel that South Africa is still a swinging pendulum as it seeks equality for all of its people.


So how do I deal with the discrepancy between my own private life and the tragedies around it? The same way that a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step.

I have learnt that I need to pace myself because if I burn myself out, it doesn’t help anyone. There’s a reason why air hostesses always say that you need to secure your own oxygen mask first, before trying to assist anyone else!

I also make constant use of The Serenity Prayer (God, please grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference). I’m not always wise, but I know that I am doing the best that I can, and that must be enough, because nobody can do more than their best!

Mother Teresa has been quoted as saying; “Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

That is how I deal with the fact that the needs of the world are so immense, that they can become completely overwhelming, if you let them. Like the little boy throwing starfish back into the ocean – he made a difference to that one, and that is good enough.

So I pick small things that I can do with great love, and I do that. I also decided to concentrate all my fundraising efforts to one charity that is very close to my heart: We raise awareness of the early warning signs of childhood cancer. The money raised is used to help the families affected by childhood cancer with whatever they might need.


In the end, though, I survive the turmoil by being grateful.

Grateful to be part of this amazing community of World Moms, who have become my Soul Sisters around the world. Grateful for my 19 year old daughter and 23 year old son who make me so proud. Grateful for my husband of over 25 years who takes such good care of me and our family when I’m not able to, due to my health issues. Grateful that I have a roof over my head and food to spare. Grateful for every “good day” that follows a “bad pain day.” I could go on and on. You see, I’ve learnt that nothing can make you feel better than feeling grateful for even the smallest thing.

When you start noticing how many things you actually have to be grateful for, it gives you the strength to deal with anything life throws at you!

What are you grateful for? What helps you deal with turmoil in your life?

This is an original post for World Moms Blog by Mamma Simona from Cape Town, South Africa.

Photo credits: Image of inked thumb courtesy of Darryn van der Walt / Flickr. Image of Nelson Mandela statue courtesy of Everyman Films / Flickr. Image of Cape Town via David Stanley / Flickr. Image of South African flag courtesy of flowcomm / Flickr

Mamma Simona (South Africa)

Mamma Simona was born in Rome (Italy) but has lived in Cape Town (South Africa) since she was 8 years old. She studied French at school but says she’s forgotten most of it! She speaks Italian, English and Afrikaans. Even though Italian is the first language she learned, she considers English her "home" language as it's the language she's most comfortable in. She is happily married and the proud mother of 2 terrific teenagers! She also shares her home with 2 cats and 2 dogs ... all rescues. Mamma Simona has worked in such diverse fields as Childcare, Tourism, Library Services, Optometry, Sales and Admin! (With stints of SAHM in-between). She’s really looking forward to the day she can give up her current Admin job and devote herself entirely to blogging and (eventually) being a full-time grandmother!

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World Moms Blog Special: In 2014 I Am Going To…

World Moms Blog Special: In 2014 I Am Going To…

6615492433_6d71a2c981Welcome to 2014! As we bid farewell to 2013 with all of its ups and downs, we are ready to look forward to the year ahead of us. Some of our World Moms have shared their resolutions. Read and enjoy, and add your own resolutions in the comments!

The European Mama from The Netherlands: Learn to read sheet music and play the piano. Have one or more of my blog posts published on a high quality website. Get paid for my posts. Learn more about blogging. Be a better parent. This mama has blogged about her resolutions.

Nicole @ Sistersfromanothermister from Florida, USA: In 2014 I need to find my center. My world seems as though it has been upside down for so long, I need to center my life to focus on what is most important. I need to take care of myself, so that I can take care of others. I need to strive for change on what I can control and let go of all that is beyond that control. And the relationship I have with my girls is all that I make it, and I cannot ‘fix that for anyone else’.

Tara B. from Washington, USA: Play more!

Mrs. P. Cuyugan from the Philippines: I need to seriously de-clutter. Our stuff is all over the house, my email inboxes (yes, all of them) are out of control, everything is just out of order. Even my thought process is messed up. I need to get rid of a lot of junk and try to sort things out and make sense of everything in my life right now. That’s my promise to myself for 2014.

Maureen @ Scoops Of Joy from Indonesia: My 2014 resolution is to focus on my health even more. I’m fighting uterine fibroids and changing my way of eating to avoid surgery so that will be the center of my 2014.

Susan Koh from Singapore: My mantra for 2014- Less Stuff, More Life. I’m aiming to find contentment with what I have, decluttering and purging what I don’t need in my life from toxic friendships to too many cereal boxes that I think I’ll need for crafts with my daughter.

Jennifer Burden from New Jersey, USA: There is one person that I could be spending more time with lately…my husband! My resolution is to make more couple time this year! And family hikes with the kids! And I was thinking the other day that I really want to drive a race car, a totally new desire for me. Not sure if the race car is for this year’s or another year’s resolution yet. I’ll let you know!

Sarah Hughes from New Jersey, USA: I want to step back this year and slow down. Less non-family responsibilities (other than work) and be absolutely 100% present in the moments with my children. Oh and I need to lose 15 pounds, it’s a must!

Karyn @ Kloppenmum from New Zealand: To eat cake, drink wine and have as much fun as is humanly possible.

Mom Photographer from California, USA: Exercise more. Organize more. Eat more. Reading books, more. Being more happy with what I have instead of thinking about and longing for what I don’t have. And funny thing, because driving a racing car is on my bucket list, Jennifer, and just as you, I am not sure if it’s doable in 2014 but definitely sometime in the future.

Elizabeth Atalay from Rhode Island, USA: I am not big on New Years Resolutions, as is evident in the same 10lbs I’ve been talking about losing for years now! That said, Family, friends and travel are paramount, but I’d like to connect the dots a bit more, and this year I intend to start making mini-documentaries as digital content,oh, and I’d like to really make a positive difference in the world through my work somehow.

Mama Aya from New York, USA: To find some time for me! I have been really burnt out lately between the kids, working full time, traveling for work, de-cluttering so that we can sell our place and move, etc. It is affecting everything in my life including my relationships with my husband/mother/friends and is causing me much stress. I resolve to do things for myself, like spend time at the gym or go for a manicure, regularly so that I can be a better mom, wife, daughter, sister, and friend!

Mamma Simona from South Africa: My resolution last year was to stop making resolutions!

Kirsten @ Running For Autism from Canada: To give myself permission to follow my dreams instead of neglecting my passions so that others can shine. To understand that there is room for what I want to accomplish while still being supportive of my husband and children.

K10K from Belgium: I have two. (1) I will finally finish at least one of the books I am writing and find the courage to send them to a publisher. (2) I will hide an encouraging or funny little note or drawing in my kids’ lunchboxes once a week.

World Moms Blog wishes moms all over the world a happy and fulfilling 2014. So, tell us your New Years resolutions!

Photo credit: toolmantim. This picture has a creative commons attribution license.

Kirsten Doyle (Canada)

Kirsten Doyle was born in South Africa. After completing university, she drifted for a while and finally washed up in Canada in 2000. She is Mom to two boys who have reached the stage of eating everything in sight (but still remaining skinny). Kirsten was a computer programmer for a while before migrating into I.T. project management. Eventually she tossed in the corporate life entirely in order to be a self-employed writer and editor. She is now living her best life writing about mental health and addictions, and posting videos to two YouTube channels. When Kirsten is not wrestling with her kids or writing up a storm, she can be seen on Toronto's streets putting many miles onto her running shoes. Every year, she runs a half-marathon to benefit children with autism, inspired by her older son who lives life on the autism spectrum. Final piece of information: Kirsten is lucky enough to be married to the funniest guy in the world. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Be sure to check out her YouTube channels at My Gen X Life and Word Salad With Coffee!

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Saturday Sidebar: Kissing a boo-boo in your country/family.

Saturday Sidebar: Kissing a boo-boo in your country/family.

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer MamaMzungu.  She asked our writers,

How do you “kiss a boo-boo” in your country/ family?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Unicorn BandagesALadyInFrance of France writes:
“In France we rub the affected area and say ‘aye-aye’.”

Carol @ If By Yes of British Columbia, Canada writes:
“We kiss things better, but my husband’s grandmother from Wisconsin rubs things better instead. ‘C’mere and let me rub it’ was a constant refrain when we stayed with her.”

Eva Fannon of Washington State, USA writes:
“I give them a big bear hug and kiss, and then gently rub the affected area and say “Sana, sana, colita de rana, si no sanas hoy, sanarás mañana”. That was what my mom always did for my brothers and I. It literally translates to “Heal, heal, little tail of the frog, if you don’t heal today, you’ll heal tomorrow.””

Hamakkomommy of Japan writes:
“In Japan, they put a hand over the ouchie and say “Itai no itai no, tonde ike!” Which means something like “Pain, pain, go away.” One version of this lets you command the pain to go to other people. Dad is the usual victim.”


World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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Saturday Sidebar: Any wishes for 2013?

new year wishesThis week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Alison Lee.  She asked our writers,

“What are your wishes for the new year?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

The Alchemist of India writes:
“I intend to, hope to, take inspiration from Ruth Wong and complete my novel.  The publisher is ready, but I am still working with the plot!

As for World Moms Blog, I am hoping to do some work in Social Good.

Maybe if I can get this novel published in 2013, I will consider my wish granted!” (more…)

Wall Street Mama (USA)

Wall Street Mama was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago and moved to NJ when she was a teenager. She fell in love with New York City and set her mind to one thing after college – working on Wall Street. She has spent the last 16 years working on the trading floor at three major banks. As an Institutional Salesperson, she is responsible for helping large corporations and money funds invest their short term cash in the fixed income part of the market. She lives in the suburbs of central NJ with her husband of 11 years, their amazing 21 month old boy and their first baby – a very spoiled Maltese. She has baby #2 on the way and is expecting a little girl in June 2012. She is a full time working mother and struggles with “having it all” while wondering if that is even possible. Wall Street Mama was married at the age of 25 but waited to have children because she felt she was too focused on her career which required a lot of traveling and entertaining. When she was finally ready, she thought she could plan the exact month she was ready to have a child, like everything else she planned in her life. She was shocked and frustrated when things did not go according to her plan. Fast forward four years later, after a miscarriage and several rounds of failed fertility injections, her little miracle was conceived naturally. She never thought in a million years, that she and her husband would be in their late 30’s by the time they had their first child. Since the financial crisis of 2008, she has endured some of the most difficult years of her life. The stress of trying to conceive was combined with some of life’s biggest challenges. She and her husband, who is a trader, both lost their jobs on Wall Street the exact same month. Her mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she ended up passing away while she was 6 months pregnant. At times it didn’t seem like things would ever get better, but she has learned that life is cyclical and what comes down must again go up. Leaving her baby boy with a wonderful nanny each day is difficult, but at times it is easier than she would have expected. She still enjoys the seemingly addictive draw of working on Wall Street. The past few years have been dramatically different from the “good days” but she is focused on trying to achieve what she once had before. She is currently working on launching her own blog, Wall Street Mama, in an attempt to guide others who are focused on continuing their career, yet struggle with leaving their little ones at home. She is weathering the ups and downs of the market and motherhood, one day at a time.

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Saturday Sidebar: If the world were to end tomorrow…

This week’s Saturday Sidebar Question comes from World Moms Blog writer Purnima.  She asked our writers,

“What would you do today if the world ended tomorrow?”

Check out what some of our World Moms had to say…

Polish Mom Photographer skype'ing with her family in Poland.

Polish Mom Photographer skype’ing with her family in Poland.

Polish Mom Photographer of California, USA writes:
“I would bake a cheesecake for myself and an apple pie for my husband. Then I would call on skype my closest family in Poland. We would turn our cameras on and we would sit, and talk until the world would end.”

Jennifer Burden of New Jersey, USA writes:
“My husband, my kids and I would probably be working to the very last moment to prepare a time capsule to let those who come after us know what happened and what life was like on earth when the humans were here. And we’d probably all eat a lot of ice cream along the way!”

Kirsten Doyle of Ontario, Canada writes:
“I would Skype with my mom and some other loved ones. Then I would go for a good long run. After that I would soak in a hot bubble bath drinking wine and finishing whatever book I happened to be reading. The kids would be allowed to stay up late and we would all hang out on my bed playing.”


World Moms Blog

World Moms Blog is an award winning website which writes from over 30 countries on the topics of motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. Over 70 international contributors share their stories from around the globe, bonded by the common thread of motherhood and wanting a better world for their children. World Moms Blog was listed by Forbes Woman as one of the "Best 100 Websites for Women 2012 & 2013" and also called a "must read" by the NY Times Motherlode in 2013. Our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, was awarded the BlogHer International Activist Award in 2013.

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