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.