FLORIDA, USA: My Baby’s Apple

FLORIDA, USA: My Baby’s Apple

photo apple“Yes please, yes please, yes pleeeeease!” is what I hear almost every time my toddler sees or hears my phone. If she does not get it, she isn’t too happy. She may move on to playing with something else, but sometimes comes back pointing at where she last saw my phone, and says “yes please!” again. (more…)

ThinkSayBe

I am a mom amongst some other titles life has fortunately given me. I love photography & the reward of someone being really happy about a photo I took of her/him. I work, I study, I try to pay attention to life. I like writing. I don't understand many things...especially why humans treat each other & other living & inanimate things so vilely sometimes. I like to be an idealist, but when most fails, I do my best to not be a pessimist: Life itself is entirely too beautiful, amazing & inspiring to forget that it is!

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WASHINGTON, USA: Vanity, Tunics, and Silver Hair Linings

WASHINGTON, USA: Vanity, Tunics, and Silver Hair Linings

WP_20131209_003edI don’t make resolutions for the new year. December is so full of celebrations and commitments, and I find the idea of sitting down to think through the ways I need to improve myself and make the world a better place overwhelming. I’m a change-as-it-strikes-me-anytime-during-the-year kind of gal. When I can help someone or donate my time and resources somewhere, I do it. As for my personal development, I take stock often. So as I am writing this, with 2013 coming to a close, I’m not focusing on who I will be in 2014. Instead, I’m celebrating on a few key changes I made this past year. (more…)

Tara B. (USA)

Tara is a native Pennsylvanian who moved to the Seattle area in 1998 (sight unseen) with her husband to start their grand life adventure together. Despite the difficult fact that their family is a plane ride away, the couple fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and have put down roots. They have 2 super charged little boys and recently moved out of the Seattle suburbs further east into the country, trading in a Starbucks on every corner for coyotes in the backyard. Tara loves the outdoors (hiking, biking, camping). And, when her family isn't out in nature, they are hunkered down at home with friends, sharing a meal, playing games, and generally having fun. She loves being a stay-at-home mom and sharing her experiences on World Moms Blog!

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World Moms Blog 2013 & Interesting Global Reads for Blogcation!

World Moms Blog 2013 & Interesting Global Reads for Blogcation!

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Last year at this time, I admit, I was burnt to the ground in exhaustion, and I thought about shutting World Moms Blog down.

It is a really tough thing for me to admit.

With a one-year old at the time home all day, who was down to one nap, and a 5-year old in only half-day kindergarten, I felt like I couldn’t keep on top of anything else.  I couldn’t.  Only by burning the midnight oil and hiring a babysitter here and there. Things got really busy, and the website was, at the time, plagued with technical difficulties that I was treading water to keep up with.  

I was a mom first. And I felt like a failure when it came to managing the website.  I felt like I couldn’t be the leader that the site needed and the stay-at-home mother of my children. My instinct was to shut the whole thing down. Really.

Friends asked me “how I did it all”, and to be honest, I cringed when they said that because I didn’t feel like I could squeeze in just enough time to keep things running. It only made me think of all of the things that I hadn’t done yet. Or the ideas to make World Moms Blog better or to bring in a cash flow that I didn’t have the time to work on.

Even my proclaimed-by-me-work-a-holic husband had found the time for us to spend together, and he was now asking me to find the time for us. Last year at this time was the roughest of rough spots when it came to being a mom, wife and leading World Moms Blog. I felt like we were a Forbes Best Website for Women that was beginning to unravel from lack of good leadership by me. 

World Moms Blog editors and contributors gave me the encouragement it took to keep us going. They loved the site and our community, and they pitched in and weren’t letting go, when I was falling.

In early 2013, Purnima won a BlogHer International Activists scholarship that would fly her to the USA. This was the motivation to keep us going until August when we would meet in Chicago at the BlogHer conference. But long before then, we were well back on track. Then the NY Times Motherlode called us a “must read”.  I cried.  We can do this.

Then, Forbes Woman listed World Moms Blog as a Best Website for Women for the second year in a row. Our contributors and I were on cloud 9.  We worked together and they helped me bring World Moms Blog into 2013! 

The blog was founded by me, but exists today because of the World Moms editors and contributors who nudged me on, knowingly and unknowingly, to get through the tough time and continue to volunteer their best work.  And to the organizations who told us in their own way that our work is valuable to society. 

The paragraphs above were not the paragraphs I set out to write. They were written after I decided that the year in review post was finished.  They are the words inside that I wasn’t sharing with my blogging community, peers and readers.  I don’t just get by easily. I have no secret to doing it all.  Some things will fall through the cracks. I stayed up very late for many nights in 2013. But, we made it. 

We hired technical help and made more volunteer editing positions available to our contributors. We also reorganized our editing and scheduling system, which empowered our regional editors. These moves also helped relieve the pressure and free up my time for my life and for leading the blog. And then October came, and both my daughters were at school, and I had office hours. 

This year was my toughest, time-wise.  I got through it, we all got through it, and we’re headed enthusiastically into the future. I can assure you, we’ve come along way, and World Moms Blog is here to stay! If I had a magic ball last year to tell me where World Moms Blog would be today, when I really needed it most, the paragraphs to follow are what it would have told me. So glad everyone helped me through the tough time and our year turned out more than incredible…thank you, everyone.   

This year World Moms Blog made it onto Forbes Woman’s “Best Websites for Women” list for the second year in a row,  and we were called a “must read” by the NY Times Motherload.  Did that really all happen??!!  But oh wait, there’s more…our Senior Editor in India, Purnima Ramakrishnan, won a BlogHer International Activist Scholarship to come to the US and speak, and Mama B.’s post from Saudi Arabia on women’s rights won a BlogHer Voice of the Year award!

Also, as our founder, I received a scholarship as a “Global Influencer” to the Social Good Summit this year, where some of our moms were onstage for Shot@Life, and for the first time EVER, we were invited to the UN by the ONE Campaign and the GAVI Alliance. The UN!!! A dream come true!!!

Here in 2013, famous sex therapist, Dr. Ruth posed with our Lady World Moms Blog logo and World Moms Blog’s Middle East & Africa editor, Susie Newday, while Susie was reporting from the Israeli Presidential Conference in Tel Aviv.

susie and dr. ruth

And there were too many global contributor meet ups to mention — Jakarta, NYC, Walt Disney World, Toronto, Dar es Salaam and more! Our World Moms are truly, beyond grateful for this catapulting momentum!!!

Here we are with a new addition to our writing team and the former Miss World Africa, Nancy Sumari of Tanzania and Carolyn Miles, the CEO of Save the Children!

#Moms4MDGs -- Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon, Elizabeth Atalay, Jennifer Burden and Jennifer Barbour just after a discussion on children refugees from the Syrian conflict. September 23, 2013 in NYC.

#Moms4MDGs — Nancy Sumari, Carolyn Miles, CEO of Save the Children, Nicole Melancon, Elizabeth Atalay, Jennifer Burden and Jennifer Barbour just after a discussion on children refugees from the Syrian conflict. September 23, 2013 in NYC.

 

Here’s when Purnima from India was in Chicago, USA for the BlogHer Conference, and we met with Sheryl Sanberg of Facebook!

World Moms Blog Sheryl Sandberg

We attended the Disney Social Media Moms weekend in May at Walt Disney World in Florida.  Guess who also happened to be in the park? One of our editors from Africa, Kim from Mama Mzungu! It would be awesome if all of you could have been there! Here’s a photo of World Moms Blog editor, Nicole Morgan of Sisters from Another Mister, me and Kim at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

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There are too many World Moms Blog contributor meet ups to mention, so here’s a compilation of some that happened in 2013! We should make a whole page for these, shouldn’t we?! My heart sings looking at this collage:

WMB Meetups 2013

Also, the World Moms Blog community helped provide over 100 birth kits this year for CleanBirth.org to help better maternal health in Laos. We attended many conferences including Moms+Social in NYC, where I was honored to present a panel. A group of our moms also attended and helped lead advocacy training at the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life Summit in Washington, DC, USA, where we lobbied the United States Congress for aid for global health. World Moms Blog was also a finalist for the Bloganthropy award, which led us to the Champions for Kids conference in Arkansas, US this year, too.

Our #Moms4MDGs campaign on the web and on Twitter has been amazing.  We have been working with non profit organizations to raise awareness on how to help end world poverty and support global health initiatives. And we’ve brought many new people into the conversation through social media.  There are still 3 months of the 8 month #Moms4MDGs campaign to help the UN raise awareness about their Millennium Development Goals. We’ve made our promise to keep the conversation going after Moms + Social! We hope you will join us!

2013 has been a great year for us in so many ways. Thank YOU to our readers for being along for the ride.  You are our inspiration!

As we take a much needed “blogcation” break to recharge for 2014, check out some fantastic great reads on World Moms Blog that you may have missed!

Did you catch this story from Nihad on her motherhood experiences since the coup in Egypt?

Or when Melanie in Japan posted about trying to protect her children from pornographic images in Tokyo?

Can an Ave Maria played at 6pm on the radio in Brazil help a mother get through the toughest part of her day?

Do you approach danger the same way Karyn in New Zealand approaches danger with her kids?

What would it be like having been raised in a communist state and now raising your daughter in a non-communist state? Read Olga Mecking of Poland’s motherhood experience!

Does what Mama B. in Saudi Arabia thinks is appropriate and inappropropriate for girls the same as what you think is appropriate?

Despite cultural Asian norms, should Ruth in Singapore find a nursing home to help her care for her mom with dementia?

What values do you think bond Hispanics from many different countries together? Read what Eva Fannon in the USA has come up with!

Does your child’s dad play a part in helping you out?  Tina in the Phillipines sent a shout-out to all the World Dads this year!

Need to cry and just let it out? Our editor Susie Newday in Israel interviewed her good friend Neta on the realities of living with metastatic breast cancer.

More in the mood to change the world with World Voice, our social good and human rights column edited by Elizabeth Atalay? Check out these things you can do with your child to celebrate world human rights by Jennifer Prestholdt in the USA!

And, check out the latest dates for our moms’ campaign, #Moms4MDGs,  to help raise awareness for the UN’s goals on world poverty and global health!

Wondering what our contributors are up to behind the scenes?  Here’s a look into World Moms Blog at the UN this year!

Last, but not least, need a motherhood pick me up?  Then search no further from this self-examining, truthful motherhood post by Polish Mom Photographer — you’ll be glad you did!

We’ll be sharing more great posts from 2013 on our World Moms Blog Facebook Page and Twitter, too, this week chosen by our Social Media editors! And there are way too many great posts from 2013 to mention — so have a poke around our site!

Meet us back here on Monday, January 6th to kick off 2014 running with our moms’ resolutions on World Moms Blog!  See you then!

Signed,

World Moms Blog’s Reenergized and Now Fearless Leader Going into 2014 with the Always Awesome WMB Editing & Contributing Team, Jennifer Burden 🙂

P.S. I really can’t wait to see what the mothers at World Moms Blog will accomplish in 2014!

 

Jennifer Burden

Jennifer Burden is the Founder and CEO of World Moms Network, an award winning website on global motherhood, culture, human rights and social good. World Moms Network writes from over 30 countries, has over 70 contributors and was listed by Forbes as one of the “Best 100 Websites for Women”, named a “must read” by The New York Times, and was recommended by The Times of India. She was also invited to Uganda to view UNICEF’s family health programs with Shot@Life and was previously named a “Global Influencer Fellow” and “Social Media Fellow” by the UN Foundation. Jennifer was invited to the White House twice, including as a nominated "Changemaker" for the State of the World Women Summit. She also participated in the One Campaign’s first AYA Summit on the topic of women and girl empowerment and organized and spoke on an international panel at the World Bank in Washington, DC on the importance of a universal education for all girls. Her writing has been featured by Baby Center, Huffington Post, ONE.org, the UN Foundation’s Shot@Life, and The Gates Foundation’s “Impatient Optimists.” She is currently a candidate in Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs in the Executive Masters of Public Affairs program, where she hopes to further her study of global policies affecting women and girls. Jennifer can be found on Twitter @JenniferBurden.

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SINGAPORE: Less Stuff, More Life

SINGAPORE: Less Stuff, More Life

Mother Theresa quoteEver felt like you have way too much stuff in your life? I do and it’s causing me unnecessary stress.

I’m a little embarrassed to admit, but I’m a hoarder. I keep cereal boxes and even toilet rolls thinking that I’ll use them for craft work with my daughter, someday, someday…

Plus I’m a huge sucker for pretty home decoration and knick knacks. I also believe that a girl can never has too many pairs of shoes and a wardrobe should be well equipped for just about any occasion. And it doesn’t help that I have itchy fingers that like to dabble in new craft projects every now and then (my latest pet project is December Daily and I’m embarking on Project Life). And as a result, my house is threatening to burst at the sides…

And so for my 2014 New Year resolution, my new mantra is “Less Stuff, More Life“.

My husband was more than happy when I shared this with him. I thought I even saw his thought bubble with a huge, “It’s about time!” complete with a huge exclamation mark.

While it may be too early for New Year resolutions, it’s a good idea to think about what you want for yourself in the brand new year. I’m resolving to be intentional and purposeful with my life, time and energy. That would also means that

I will have to say no to some things in my life so that I can make space for things that truly matter.

I’m making a choice to do things that will add joy and contentment to eliminate stress and tiredness so that I can enjoy more life and go the distance.

Gifting the gift of an experience

And on that note, I’m doing something different for this Christmas. Instead of giving presents all wrapped up in a box and fancy paper, I’m choosing to give friends and family the gift of an experience. In our society, most people around me don’t need anything (though they may have plenty of wants). And I think what will make it meaningful is to gift them an experience be it a cooking class, a play or maybe even a meal lovingly prepared for them.

Here are some ideas I came up for my own gift giving:

  • For a child, a membership to the zoo, or field trip. Even a membership at an indoor playground will be received.
  • For a spouse, love coupons for monthly, or up it to weekly, dates. Or how about a spa package that you both can enjoy? 🙂 And if they like the arts, then a play, musical, concert or even movie treat will be much appreciated.
  • For a friend who’s also a parent, a night of babysitting will be so so appreciated.
  • For a coffee fan, a list of new cafes that have popped up so that they can go cafe hopping.

And since my hubby’s birthday is before Christmas, he’s the first recipient of my experience gift! I can’t wait to surprise him with what’s in store.

Have you finished all your Christmas shopping? If not, perhaps you’ll like to rethink your gifts and challenge yourself to think out of the box and give someone an experience rather than a wrapped up gift. Let me know how it works out, if you do!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Moms Blog contributor, Susan Koh, of Singapore. 

Photo credit to World Moms Blog. 

Susan Koh

Susan is from Singapore. As a full-time working mom, she's still learning to perfect the art of juggling between career and family while leading a happy and fulfilled life. She can't get by a day without coffee and swears she's no bimbo even though she likes pink and Hello Kitty. She's loves to travel and blogs passionately about parenting, marriage and relationship and leading a healthy life at A Juggling Mom.

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UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Merry National Happy Day Christmas: Holidays In a Flat World

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: Merry National Happy Day Christmas: Holidays In a Flat World

Christmas in Dubai

Starting midway through November, the green and red and white streamers appear; houses are bedecked with sparkling lights and buildings attempt to out-bling each other in outrageous green, red and white displays.  Festive lights and decorations sprout along streetlights and across shop windows and children get restless in school waiting for the holiday.

Except the red-white-and-green don’t signify Christmas but the UAE National Day, which is celebrated on December 2nd and commemorates the day forty-two years ago when the rulers of seven different fiefdoms signed a constitution and became the United Arab Emirates.  Sheikh Zayed, the leader of Abu Dhabi and the first President of the UAE, died in 2004 and his likeness is everywhere on National Day. For those of you in the United States, imagine if George Washington or Thomas Jefferson had died only ten years ago and you’ll have some sense of Zayed’s very long shadow.

For three years now, I’ve experienced a kind of cultural dissonance around National Day, as its colors and lights intersect in my mind with images of New York gussying itself up for the winter holidays. True, the UAE flag has a black stripe in it too, but when the buildings are lit up, they’re mostly lit up in what I think of as “Christmas colors.”  In my Facebook stream (which as an expat sometimes almost seems like a real space rather than a virtual one), pictures of people celebrating Thanksgiving or decorating their tree bump up against pictures of cars wrapped in UAE flags and buildings displaying Zayed’s face in lights.

Abu Dhabi prides itself on being a relatively open culture; there are expats living here from almost every country in the world. The international population means that that the city is a smorgasbord of holiday traditions, from Ramadan to Diwali to Christmas; I have friends here who (quietly) celebrate the Jewish High Holy Days, as well.

The malls and shops reflect this cosmopolitan community but in sometimes disconcerting ways: holiday Christmas displays feature Santa on a camel, or Christmas trees draped with UAE flags.  It does seem, as Thomas Friedman wrote several years ago, as if the world really is flat. Friedman is talking about economics rather than cultural traditions but I’m starting to think that we can’t really separate the one from the other. Eventually, it seems, we’re all going to be living in versions of the same place: a mall.

The other day, as we walked to the movie theater in the mall (in Abu Dhabi, everything is at some mall or other), past the prayer rooms and the Christmas trees and the UAE flags, my younger son said “How come people fight about religion?”  I didn’t have an answer and he’s not yet old enough to be able to appreciate the irony inherent in his question: that in the “Middle East”, a phrase (and place) that still scares many people in the West, my son seems to be learning that different cultural practices can co-exist — not always comfortably but nevertheless without violence.

So happy National Christmas day to you all: may Santa (or whomever) ride his camel to your house and leave you white, red, green, and black striped gifts, and may you all have a happy new year, no matter which calendar you’re using.

This is an original post for the World Mom’s Blog by Deborah Quinn.

Photo credit to the author.

Mannahattamamma (UAE)

After twenty-plus years in Manhattan, Deborah Quinn and her family moved to Abu Dhabi (in the United Arab Emirates), where she spends a great deal of time driving her sons back and forth to soccer practice. She writes about travel, politics, feminism, education, and the absurdities of living in a place where temperatures regularly go above 110F.
Deborah can also be found on her blog, Mannahattamamma.

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#Moms4MDGs MDG #5 With Every Mother Counts

#Moms4MDGs MDG #5 With Every Mother Counts

#Moms4MDGs Button copy

In 2000, 189 nations made a promise to free people from extreme poverty and multiple deprivations. This pledge turned into the eight Millennium Development Goals, and was written as the Millennium Goal Declaration .- United Nations Development Programme

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MDG #5 is to Improve Maternal Health  and we are excited to continue our #Moms4MDG campaign  this month by joining forces with Every Mother Counts.

Every Mother Counts is an organization founded by Christy Turlington Burns after her own  frightening experience during childbirth.  Christy became aware that her scenario could have been fatal, as it is for many women globally, without access to the quality healthcare she had been provided. Every year hundreds of thousands of women die during or due to childbirth, mostly from preventable causes. Every Mother Counts works to reach the goal that no mother should have to give her life while giving birth to another. Tomorrow, in conjunction with our Twitter Parties, World Moms Blog contributor Dee Harlow in Laos features a post on the Every Mother Counts Blog about Maternal Health.

We hope you will also join us tomorrow , December 18th,  for our #Moms4MDGs Twitter party to discuss Maternal Health with @everymomcounts at 1:00 EST, and at 9:00 pm EST.  See you there!

P.S. Never been to a twitter party before?  Go to www.tweetchat.com and put in the hashtag: “#Moms4MDGs during the party times. From there you can retweet and tweet and the hashtag will automatically be added to your tweets. And, from there you can also view all of the party tweets!

This is an original post to World Moms Blog by World Voice Editor, Elizabeth Atalay of Documama in Rhode Island, USA.  

 

Elizabeth Atalay

Elizabeth Atalay is a Digital Media Producer, Managing Editor at World Moms Network, and a Social Media Manager. She was a 2015 United Nations Foundation Social Good Fellow, and traveled to Ethiopia as an International Reporting Project New Media Fellow to report on newborn health in 2014. On her personal blog, Documama.org, she uses digital media as a new medium for her background as a documentarian. After having worked on Feature Films and Television series for FOX, NBC, MGM, Columbia Pictures, Warner Brothers, 20th Century Fox, and Castle Rock Pictures, she studied documentary filmmaking and anthropology earning a Masters degree in Media Studies from The New School in New York. Since becoming a Digital Media Producer she has worked on social media campaigns for non-profits such as Save The Children, WaterAid, ONE.org, UNICEF, United Nations Foundation, Edesia, World Pulse, American Heart Association, and The Gates Foundation. Her writing has also been featured on ONE.org, Johnson & Johnson’s BabyCenter.com, EnoughProject.org, GaviAlliance.org, and Worldmomsnetwork.com. Elizabeth has traveled to 70 countries around the world, most recently to Haiti with Artisan Business Network to visit artisans in partnership with Macy’s Heart of Haiti line, which provides sustainable income to Haitian artisans. Elizabeth lives in New England with her husband and four children.

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