Read LM columnist and freelance writer, Deesha Philyaw’s essay, “Ain’t I a Mommy?” in B*tch Magazine.
So if black women haven’t beaten down publishers’ doors with manuscripts about mothering or about pulling second shifts, it’s probably because this is what we’ve always done, without fanfare and without the luxury of “what about the children?” pearl-clutching. Perhaps because many of us are only a generation or two removed from poverty, we can’t in good conscience write unconcerned screeds that ignore the hard realities for poor women and children. Maybe we look at our girlfriends—working women who aren’t mothers—and are reminded that it’s not all about the mommies. Maybe we realize that mommy-centrism lets employers and policy-makers off the hook with regard to family-friendly workplace changes that would allow mothers and fathers to work more flexible hours without sacrificing their careers in the process.
This is not to say that black women never sweat the career-family stuff, nor is it to say we aren’t writing about motherhood at all these days. However, the number of such books is woefully small, and the results are not as shrill or as navel-gazing as the typical mommy book tends to be.