By Smyrna Khalaf

As we were celebrating Mother’s Day last week, I was thinking about moms in Lebanon during these uncertain times. Yes, we feel that people have gotten used to COVID-19 but there is still a lot of uncertainty effecting daily life. The uncertainty of the economic situation, the uncertainty of upcoming parliamentary elections, uncertainty about the continuation of schools and education, and recently the impact of the Ukraine-Russia War on Lebanon.

Moms in the Middle East are usually viewed as the “glue” of the family – holding the unit together. They are said to be “the ones who make or break a family” (we can dissect this quote at a later time). They are expected to keep the homeostasis of the home, which means absorbing all the tensions and keeping conflicts at bay. They are expected to hold several roles: wife – attending to their marriage; parent – raising children; and manager of the household – cooking and making sure all is clean and tidy. This is on top of the different roles moms play in the workplace or with their families of origin. To do all this, they need to be SUPER MOMS.

Since moms are only human, and the expectations of them are immense, they are likely to experience high stress. In addition to the daily management of their roles, stress has increased quite a bit for moms specially during the COVID pandemic because some moms had their work move online, which meant they began working from home. Working from home these past two years brought many challenges. One of those is having to manage work, home, and children all at the same time without access to help and support from their immediate families due to the pandemic. Another layer of stress is the economic situation as moms deal with the inner conflict of wanting to give their children the best while only being able to afford the basics. They are constantly trying to figure out alternative ways to provide, which takes extra time and effort.