Which Mom On Zoom Are You?
In the age of social distancing, the video conferencing app Zoom has become the UV lamp keeping our social lives from blanching into sadness. At 9:30 a.m., your toddler has a date with his friends to sing Where The Watermelons Grow, at 11 a.m., it's an important business meeting, and 8 p.m. (aka the finish line), it's time for virtual happy hour. Which raises the question: what kind of Zoom mom are you?
Look, everyone is a nuanced individual, whose inner workings are as rich as they are complicated... but we can agree that, sometimes, we fall into certain tropes, right? Soccer mom. Hot mess mom. Type-A mom. It's the same on Zoom. Not only is it a portal to the outside world but, really, it's also a portal to our truest and most authentic selves. Who are we really? Like a crystal ball, Zoom can let us know, reflecting a distilled version of who we are, or at least some aspect of who we are and whispering, "Behold, child: I only speak the truth."
So, where do you fit into the Zoom landscape?
Within an hour of her child's school closing, Polly had emailed the teacher with an offer to host an all-student Zoom class, complete with precious art activity. Somehow, perhaps through a pact with dark forces, Polly is able to control a virtual classroom of 20+ kids and post adorable pictures of this interaction on social media with inspiring hashtags.
Is inspired by Polly and offers to host another all-class Zoom meeting because "These kids miss their friends! They need some interaction; let's use technology for good for a change!"
Things quickly descend into madness. To say she loses control, in fact, would be kind, because it suggests that she ever had control to begin with. Bless her heart: Amanda, soul twin of Workin' Moms' Kate, tries.
Do you remember that BBC interview a few years ago? The one where a commentator's two adorable children jauntily sauntered into the room, with not a stuffed Elmo to give about the fact that their father was in the middle of something really important? That's Samantha's life now. Samantha, you see, is a boss babe, who almost never sees her corner office because her days are mostly spent in the conference room... until now.
Now she's on Zoom... a lot. And do you know who else wants in on that action? Whatever children she has. This has thrown Samantha off her game. She is constantly shooing her child out out of the room. She frequently forgets she is not muted and inadvertently lets her team in on her parenting. Don't feel bad, Samanthas of the world, Senator Tammy Duckworth is one of you.
Social distancing has been hard on Jennifer, whose main hobbies include hosting dinners, cocktail hours, cookouts, coffee klatches, and themed costume parties. When she's not hosting something, she can usually be found out with her friends or relaxing outside with her neighbors while the kids run around the yard. Jennifer has therefore planned Zoom get-togethers (wherein she uses the Golden Girls background) with literally everyone she has ever met at least once a day after the kids are asleep. It's all she can do to keep from climbing the walls. Incidentally, "Climbing The Walls" is absolutely going to be the theme of her first party once lockdown is lifted.
Erica is leaning into the fact that she's working from home, so when she's on a Zoom meeting chances are she's got a child in her lap. She figures, "Hey, this isn't normal. I'm home with my kids, so you're all going to see my kids. Let's not pretend we aren't all wearing sweatpants right now, so let's call a thing a thing." Her team is charmed. A co-worker later tweets about her: "Colleague had her kid with her during a strategy meeting today. #goals."
Still doesn't know what's a Zoom. Is very focused on Tiger King memes right now.
Tanya is the mom who keeps her easily distracted child on task while they are participating in a Zoom activity for distance learning. She sits, just off camera, a silent sentinel waiting for them to stare out a window to long or start fidgeting. Tanya doesn't have to say a word: the flash in her eyes informs her child of the consequences of not paying sufficient attention. Her quarantine motto is "This is not a vacation."
Lauren keeps meaning to set something up on Zoom. A family game night, a play date, a cocktail hour with friends, but, somehow, even cloistered at home and literally prohibited from doing anything else, has just not found the time or energy. As Larry David put it, everyone is missing an amazing opportunity to stay on the couch and watch TV.