Most American Moms, Particularly Women of Color, Don’t Fit the ‘Mommy Wars’ Stereotypes

Prixel Creative / Lightstock
Prixel Creative / Lightstock

Here’s a common family story among black women in my generation: My grandmother worked as a live-in maid, and my mother lived at numerous relatives’ homes for the first few years of her life so my grandmother could keep her job.

Two generations later, I have a spectrum of choices beyond what was available to my grandmother. I can pursue a fulfilling career, stay home, or find something in between. While I believe women can find commonalities despite their different family and work choices, the two sides of the “mommy wars” do not capture the reality for many mothers today.

The current conversation about motherhood—centered around married, highly educated mothers who “opt out” of the workforce to stay home with their children—gives the impression that most mothers are caught between extremes of staying home or pursuing a career. Yet only 5 percent of stay-at-home moms fit this affluent demographic, according to Pew Research. Overall, American motherhood looks much different: Single moms now make up a growing segment of stay-at-home moms (20%), and the proportion of stay-at-home moms living in poverty has doubled in recent decades.

Despite these statistics, when we talk about “motherhood,” we usually are talking about that small minority: primarily white women with a spouse and a certain level of financial means. Our limited scope ignores the reality that many women in the United States (and the world) are not in positions to make these choices. And for women of color able to make these choices, they may come to that position much differently than their white counterparts.

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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Patrice Gopo