Friday

A Peek Into the Life of a Working Mom: Comments about "What Black Moms Know"

At my daughter's school's open house


Sometimes people think that I am whining about the challenges that working moms experience today. Some infer that the problems of the middle class don’t really amount to much when there are mothers who are struggling to put food on the table. The critics have a point, but that does not mean that the challenges of professional working women are insignificant.

The truth is, I work in the career I was trained for. I work really hard. And I love my children with every fiber of my being. This reality makes me grateful and conflicted.

Black Moms are Like Other Moms

There was a well written OP-Ed in the New York Times last week entitled, "What Black Moms Know". The author downplays the struggles of middle class working moms. She suggests that Black moms are better equipped to deal with the pressures or working and mothering because we've done it for years. I agree with the author on one point. Black women have balanced the challenges of working and mothering for generations. Indeed, my grandmother and mother both worked. Although, I am grateful for their sacrifices, I don't believe that my family's history dictates how I feel about my situation or make me any better able to deal with the conflicts I face.

Here's my reality. I am blessed to have a middle class job. And while I make more money than any woman in my family has at this age, I also have middle class problems. My company has very high expectations and expects me to make it a lifestyle as opposed to a job. Those expectations interfere with my ability to spend maximum time with my children. Because I am on call even when I am at home, my time is not always my own. 

Unlike the author, I don't believe that being a Black mom gives me extraordinary enlightenment. Although, as I have written about previously, I do believe that being a Black mom requires extraordinary faith.

That said, I question the following constantly: 
  1. Am I making the right choices for my children?
  2. Does my job interfere with my ability to parent well?
  3. Will I be able to provide my children with everything they need for a bright future? (And I am not just referring to money.)
In my experience, these are questions that plague all mothers regardless of race. To be clear, I am not saying we're in a post-racial society. What I am saying is that I believe that motherhood, is as universal of a human experience that one can have. That is my perspective and my truth. For that reason, I choose to focus on the similarities and the areas where all moms can find common ground. So, although I think the Times article is well written, it doesn't really resonate with me. 

Indeed, sometimes, especially when one of my kids is having a tantrum, this Black mom doesn't feel as if she knows very much. 



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