there’s something missing from mommy lit
October 18, 2008 § Leave a comment
great quotes from an article in bitch called: theres something missing from mommy lit
That black mothers were not among the combatants on the fake battlefield of the mommy wars is not coincidental. This simply wasn’t our fight. In her book Having It All: Black Women and Success, Veronica Chambers notes, “Guilt just isn’t a currency in our lives the way it is in the lives of white women.” Further, as economist Julianne Malveaux observed in USA Today, “Some African-American women want to yawn at the angst about shouldering multiple burdens and juggling multiple roles. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt so long ago that I recycled it.” Since the 1940s, black women have outnumbered white women in the labor force. According to some reports, the black middle class owes its existence to black women’s presence in the workplace.
I asked one Mocha Mom I know, Jennifer, what she thought about mommy memoirs and the mommy wars. She responded, “Historically, we’ve had to take care of our kids and their kids,” referring to black women’s roles during slavery and as domestic workers in white households after slavery and throughout the ’50s and ’60s. “Now we only have to take care of our kids, and we just don’t have the same level of angst as white women do. Definitely not enough to write a whole book about it.”
The encounter led Parker to write I’m Every Woman: Remixed Stories of Marriage, Motherhood, and Work, a book that combines memoir with the stuff good U.S. history texts should be made of. In it, Parker presents her personal experiences as a mother, wife, and professional woman, as well as the larger historical legacy of black women and work. Of the mommy wars, she writes: “Understand, it’s not that I think that black women have all the answers — only that we have struggled with the questions longer and that sometimes our tool sets are more expansive. I am clear that in all cultures there are other committed women who deeply believe they must stand on one or another side of a work-family divide and agitate in order to create a better world for their children. And really, I can dig it. I’m actually quite grateful that I can skim some of their best parts off the top. But these women must never, ever try to give me any of their excess baggage.”