There’s no denying that the COVID-19 pandemic had a profound impact on parents everywhere — and parents of celebrities were no exception.
The moms of Adam Levine, Alicia Keys, Jonah Hill and Beanie Feldstein — who co-founded the non-profit organization YourMomCares for kids’s mental health — all share how the pandemic affected their relationships with their children. Plus, why their work with YMC is more necessary now than ever before.
“I have a really great relationship with my children, we’re very close and talk a lot,” says Sharon, co-founder and CEO of YMC. She reflects on how much changed in such a short period of time: “Last year, Beanie had done Booksmart so we were going from the Golden Globes and her presenting at the Oscars — to lockdown. It was like, ‘What?’” At first, Sharon remained optimistic for her kids, hoping it would all be over in a month or so. “Let’s just stay home for 30 days and play monopoly and it’s gonna be fun,” she recalls herself saying. “I kept telling them how super-fun it was going to be.” Lo and behold, Beanie ended up living with her for eight months and constantly reminded her how afraid she was to get her sick. “She was pretty strict because she didn’t want to get it and give it to me because then she’d feel guilty, so I must’ve heard from her every day this year how old I am,” says Sharon with a laugh.
Alicia Keys’ mom Terria Joseph remembers how wild it was when quarantine went into full effect, and how it changed everything for people in the entertainment industry. “When things shut down, they shut down for everybody,” says Joseph. “Their tours were canceled and they were releasing new albums but that all closed down because nobody could get together to do that kind of work.” Still, she says, her daughter pushed onward. “It didn’t stop [her]. She worked for everybody and talked to everybody, and her songs just happened to fit into this time.” Because they live far apart, Joseph typically reads about everything Alicia is doing online. “I have her on Google Alerts, as all my friends know,” she jokes.
“All of us have Google Alerts turned on for our kids,” Sharon chimes in.
Adam Levine’s mother Patsy Noah, who co-founded YMC alongside Sharon and Joseph, says her relationship with her son has only gotten closer since the pandemic started. “It’s really deepened in one way: We check on each other more, even if it’s only a minute a day,” she says.
That being said, because Levine has two young children and is constantly busy with Maroon 5 (the band is releasing new music at the end of the month), they don’t get to see each other often, which Noah admits isn’t always easy. “You know, it’s hard to miss seeing your grandkids at each stage, other than on Zoom or FaceTime. My grandson just called me a week ago and he’s five.”
Despite their different experiences, there’s one thing these celebrity moms share in common, and that’s their passion for YMC, the non-profit organization they founded in 2014 to help support the mental wellness of kids nationwide. “YourMomCares is [made up of] celebrity and influencer moms banding together for kids' mental health,” says Sharon, the CEO. “I call us the Netflix of non-profit because we fund other people's projects and we also fund our own, so we’re boots on the ground, but we're also funding very innovative, advanced projects that diagnose and treat depression and anxiety before it becomes something worse.”
Mental health has 'always been important'
Since the pandemic started, mental health has turned into a huge topic of discussion, with statements like, “mental health is so important now” being thrown around on the news, podcasts, you name it. But Sharon points out that it’s always been important — covid-19 simply made it even worse. “The epidemic with kids’s mental health started before,” she stresses. “It’s just been exacerbated; they call it a tsunami now.”
For the last two years, YMC has offered back-to-school mental health toolkits that can be accessed virtually, but as Noah notes, they’re having to shift gears this year to reflect the reality of the world we’re living in. “This coming year is gonna be the biggest challenge of all because by September I’m sure almost all schools across the country will be going back to a more ‘normal’ version of school, and so we have to make something that makes sense,” she says.
Like so many of us, Sharon, Noah and Joseph are still in shock over everything that transpired in 2020. “I’m still in awe that one year has gone by,” muses Joseph, who adds how thankful she is to have such a caring daughter who checks in on her. “I think I’ve just grown in admiration of her ability to keep mothering and challenging her kids and still do all her work and be a good wife.”
To that end: Sharon believes the pandemic sparked an even greater need for moms and mother figures. She says: “You know, most moms have their kids, and other people’s kids’s best interests at heart. It’s not self-serving. So yeah, I think moms are more important right now than ever.”
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