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I am a mommy, scribe, and middle-school English teacher. I am trying to cope with being separated from my beloved. DoUWantMore? email me: theprisonerswife@gmail.com

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Mother/Outsider

Posted by the prisoner's wife On 12:17 PM


On a recent trip to the park, I was reminded of the staggering gaps in race and class when it comes to mothering. The park was full of moms—mostly white—with coolers chock full of snacks, toys, screaming, barefoot kids, and Benz SUVs. This world felt foreign to me and about as inviting as a new, awkward kid’s first day of school.

Of the many moms out that day, I was the only Black mother, or parent, for that matter. As I listened to a group of moms discuss plans for their next playgroup and Mom’s Night Out activity, I wondered, where are all the black moms and playgroups for people that look like me?

I hit the net searching for information. First I did searches for African-American moms, mothering, and working moms and playgroups. After punching in a myriad of search terms dealing with mothering, I came up empty handed. Most resources for African-American moms either dealt with stay at home moms, or poverty and African-American moms, none of which answered the questions I had in my head.

Despite the lack of internet resources, I know I’m not alone. My situation is hardly unique. I’m an educated, working mother, who is solo parenting a rambunctious two-year-old son. There are millions of women like me, yet no one seems give a damn. An article on the National Organization of Women website discussed the media’s virtual ousting of mothers of color. It states,

If you read major newspapers and news magazines or watch network news broadcasts, you may have the impression that all mothers are white, married, college-educated and have (or have abandoned) careers in high-profile professions such as law, medicine, broadcast news or finance.

And although they are poorly represented in media reporting on working mothers, African-American mothers have a higher rate of working outside the home than any other demographic. Married African-American mothers with children under 18 have higher rates of workforce participation than other married mothers (82 percent compared to 71 percent of white moms, 66 percent of Asian moms and 62 percent of Latina moms, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


So where are the real representations of moms that live outside of what society deems as the norm? Are we left to fend for ourselves, and continue to feel like outsiders on playgrounds across America? Something has got to change.

We need a place, a resource where both working and stay at home moms (married or single) can come together and share, commune, and find answers together. I have to yet to find that place, so maybe I should stop looking, and create one.

10 Response to 'Mother/Outsider'

  1. Ali's Zay Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1198114080000#c6573421871569290933'> Wednesday, December 19, 2007 5:28:00 PM

    Create one and I will help in any way I can! Ali will be moving here soon and she wants a baby ASAP. She will be going to school and pareting so we decided that putting her to work outside the house is a very bad idea. I figured it would be dificult for her, but until I read your post, I had no idea.
    By the way, how are you? :-) Forgive my bad manners, I guess I got a lil carried away by your post.

    Peace and Love,

    Ali's Zay (LoversA.blogspot.com)

     

  2. Christina Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1198125660000#c3210102549192680258'> Wednesday, December 19, 2007 8:41:00 PM

    I agree, there needs to be an option. Sad to hear that it is still the same all these years later. When I had my son almost 13 years ago I ran into the same situation; I just didn't fit in, we mothers need other mothers that really can understand what we may be going through, to connect even if it is thru play groups. I love that you brought this up.

     

  3. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1198163940000#c5262674659595136561'> Thursday, December 20, 2007 7:19:00 AM

    ali: hey X! may i caution her against going to school AND parenting. it certainly can be done (i'm doing it), but it's SOOOOO much harder. i know babies come in God's time, so good luck! and it's nice to hear from you. how's the book?

    xtina: it sucks that things haven't changed in so long. maybe bringing it up will bring some type of resolution to the issue. you already have SO many questions as a mom, it would make it easier to feel supported by people who share your experience.

     

  4. Me Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1198171680000#c4349964154158496340'> Thursday, December 20, 2007 9:28:00 AM

    Hello PW,

    I just read this great profile on Literary Mama (great website by the way) on Lonnae ONeal Parker. She's a Black working mom of three kids and she wrote this fascinating book about exactly this topic. About Black women mothering and working and being left out of the mainstream conversations about it and being kind of lost. The link to the article is: http://www.literarymama.com/profiles/

    or just google Lonnae ONeal Parker.

    Good luck.

    Also, did you run across the organization Mocha Moms?

    LT

     

  5. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1198183560000#c1163162378413348486'> Thursday, December 20, 2007 12:46:00 PM

    LT: thank you for the links. i check lit mama often, so i will check out the link you mentioned. i have also heard of Mocha Moms, but like i mentioned, they deal with Stay At Home Black Moms...which is GREAT, but i'm a working mom.

    thanks again! and come back soon.

     

  6. Lotta Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1198190400000#c520884580778340528'> Thursday, December 20, 2007 2:40:00 PM

    Our working class neighborhood borders a wealthy suburb. So I'm bombarded with engraved birthday invitations, shiny new cars and stay at home moms who are just "exhausted" because they only had the nanny come for two days this week.

    I'm white, but I totally get where you're coming from.

     

  7. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1198296000000#c2595757877849569642'> Friday, December 21, 2007 8:00:00 PM

    lotta: i think race & class are closely intertwined. the fact that this happens at all can make you feel horrible. thanks for sharing your perspective.

     

  8. Mango Mama Said,
    http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1198367040000#c4611008299157151924'> Saturday, December 22, 2007 3:44:00 PM

    I think to a certain extent, communicating with other moms via blogs, has provided me with a great sense of community, but it would be great to have a more tangible vehicle for us to get together.

    By the way, I love your blog. Be well.

     

  9. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1200653940000#c5507490632190901407'> Friday, January 18, 2008 2:59:00 AM

    I was doing a search for Black playgroups in my area and came across your blog. I feel just like you. I'm a Black working (registered nurse) mother of a 2 year old girl. Whenever I attend open houses for groups or local events like Baby disco, we are usually the only Blacks there. The Gays and the Bi-racials are usually the only people trying to associate with us. I would love a mommy and me playgroup with mainly Blacks. I surely feel your pain and I appreciated your blog!!

     

  10. http://theprisonerswife.blogspot.com/2007/12/motheroutsider.html?showComment=1200758940000#c2431850972539569098'> Saturday, January 19, 2008 8:09:00 AM

    hannahsmom: it's unfortunate, isn't it? just from your response & the responses of others i've talked to, this is SO needed. perhaps you can organize something in your town? meetup.com helps you build a group. but i know, it's time consuming...but we need to get our support some kind of way.

    thanks for stopping by!