Mamahood is the new hustle but where are the sistas?

For the past year or so as I have gotten really into reading blogs, I have noticed this strange phenomenon, average every day women who happen to be mothers who have taken the art of mothering into something blog-worthy yet they also make a few extra bucks via these ventures. Now what I am about to say here is not new since a few months ago a sista did an amazing article for Bitch magazine talking about this exact thing, but this is my spin on it.

Yep, there are all sorts of Mommy bloggers out there as well as Mommy zines, even books about average every day mothering, which is cool since I love seeing what other Mamas are doing to stay sane and keep their wee ones engaged. However I have noticed a small, ok maybe a large problem. Where are the women of color bloggers? Zine? Books? I mean seriously, for every one black woman waxing poetically about the joys of motherhood, knitting, cooking and just living life (like my girl Chi-Chi)there are probably 25 white women doing this. The thing is some of these blogger Mamas is getting paid, but what about the sistas?

Is no one interested in our daily lives?  I admit when I first started blogging I wanted to be a cross between this and this which maybe I am some days but most days, I am just me and I follow no rhyme or rhythym with my blogging, so gone are my dreams of being known as a Mama blogger…instead I am just a sista in Maine which is already pretty strange.

But no, on a serious tip why is it that now that living simply is all the rage we see less representation among people of color, shit in my humble ass opinion many of us perfected the art of living simply, we just didn’t use flowery language to make it sound good. Look, my Mom was a stay at home Mama in the 70’s and 80’s and we were pretty much always broke, shopping at the thrift store and garage sales was a normal part of our lives. Saturday mornings in the summer, my Mama was up early with her trusty shopping cart for us to prowl the neighborhood in search of bargains, back then the shit wasn’t cool and I used to pray none of my friends would see us.

Cooking from scratch? Again, that was the norm in my house. Macaroni and cheese never came out the box, it took hours and was made from scratch with a mix of cheeses. In grammar school one of my favorite things was when I could invite friends over and Mom would make pizza (no Boboli crust for us, all homemade, made by hand) with a side of butter cookies. Good times, man. Yet no one ever gave my Momma a book deal and until recently I never thought much of these things, it was just the way Mama rolled. Shit, my Mom was sewing clothes and re-fashioning her thrifty bargains long before anyone thought it was hip.

No, it hasn’t been until I started reading Mama blogs and seeing how folks elevate this simple living that it hit me that I couldn’t be the only sista who grew up this way and even has a few of these handy talents, yet where is my book deal? If you are a handy sista reading me, where is your book deal?

Look, don’t get me wrong I am not mad that some Mamas are getting their hustle on while raising the kids, times is tough and folks gotta earn a few shekels anyway possible. I just want to know why the powers to be aren’t being more inclusive, really? I would be all over a book written by a woman of color who is a homemaker, and I suspect I am not alone.

I do know from engaging in the Black blogosphere there are sistas who are not only homemakers but even Mamas who are homeschooling like this sista, yet despite the few sistas I read on the regular who are engaging in these things, I still think we are greatly underrepresented.

Anyway maybe I should break out my trusty camera and start snapping photos about our lazy days and convince some publisher that there is a market on Black motherhood. What say you?

17 thoughts on “Mamahood is the new hustle but where are the sistas?

  1. You make an excellent point! It amuses me how much the heroic white home-schooling, homemaking white mothers have elevated their activity to a never-before seen phenomenon. I was a poor white mother in the early seventies, cooked from scratch, washed laundry by hand, walked the neighbourhood in search of freebies and bargains, made toys and useful objects from various things, went to school to better my lot – and yet I had not yet been sainted or lauded as the next up and coming social trend.
    Just how many times can the wheel be reinvented? Every generation?
    You should compile a book of first hand reportage of women of colour and their struggles to provide for their families for generations – there is a book in that, so why not capitalize on it.
    Rant on! G

  2. Don’t you know? It’s not newsworthy until white folks do it / it happens to white folks. School shootings, dangerous drug use, “voluntary simplicity”… *shrug*

    You could try to put something together but it might get shuttled into the “African-American” section of the marketing department because only blacks are interested in reading about other blacks (say most marketing departments). Not that that’s a bad thing but when it comes to ad dollars…um, yeah.

    Just thought of something else: Why not send a proposal to a site like theroot.com, offering to be a “mama blogger”?

  3. I don’t know much about the Mama genre.

    Just stopping by to see what’s good and what you are up to these days.

    Let me know when you hustle your book deal.

  4. I would love to see that kind of thing girl!! But I guess I’m not altogether sure there is that much interest in the AA community about homemaking and all the “home crafts”–especially not anymore. So Blavk folks who are consciously thrifty, creative, crafty, etc . . . are few and far between. I personally don’t know any beside me. Like, there are Black hockey players and certainly Black folks who enjoy hockey but are there enough where there would be appeal in the Black community? I agree with L. Bell that any “Mama genre” book written by a Black woman would be relegated to AA department unless the mama fought long and hard to make sure it wasn’t marketed that way. And would anyone aside from AAs be interested in a real way? I don’t know. Look at that series CNN did on being black in America . . . majority culture just doesn’t seem genuinely interested in the many shapes and forms that make up the Black experience.

    • I was wondering the same thing. I am a woman of color who is interested homemaking,homeschooling,crafts,homesteading and etc. In my search, I only found one her name is Mya of Apiring Homemaker. I like her blog, and I like yours. It would be nice to have a little diversity out on the blog waves. 🙂

  5. Hi there Shay,

    This is a great point!

    I think that the reason why these non-black Alpha moms have book deals and paid blogging gigs to talk about their experiences as homemakers and junior Barbara Smiths/Martha Stewarts is because there is a huge market that exists for white women to give homemaking tips to white women.

    As soon as a black woman steps in to give HER OWN homemaking tips…suddenly she’s place in a NICHE market by publishers and in the minds of bloggers in general. The assumption is “she’s focusing on black mothers” just because she’s black and a mother and blogging….

    My blog is unapologetically black…yet…more than one white feminist blogger has linked to my blog and informed her readers that I am a “feminist” writer. I have never been a feminist a day in my life…my blog doesn’t address a feminism at all.

    That brings me to my point about why there aren’t more black women getting these sorts of homemaker platforms….we are usually being typecast…or we are placed into a box that has nothing to do with who we are and what we are focusing on.

    We also need to consider… how many black women actually ROMANTICIZE the stay-at-home mom the way many white women have?

    In the black community, there were stay-at-home mothers who were domestics because they didn’t have other marketable skills that were in demand.

    They were sewing all their children’s clothes because they could not afford to do anything else.

    They were making everything from scratch and growing food in their gardens because it was the cheapest way to feed their families.

    The economics drove the “homemaker” who was a black women to make the life for herself that she did… it was not about having the social status of being a “homemaker”, scrapbook-maker, food-processor owning, “homemaker” who has a self-cleaning oven and a robot who vacuums her house. (Yes, there are robots now that vacuum.)

    This is the “homemaker” role that many white women have in mind.

    Peace, blessings and DUNAMIS!
    Lisa

  6. Oh, I’ve been so swamped, BGIM. It’s so nice to come back and read your flow.

    When publishers wake up and realize they’re missing out on a whole ‘market’, they’ll give us deals. Until then, it’s more of the same. Seems like Oprah could lead the way on this, eh?

  7. Thanks so much for this. Those mama blogs have been making me feel inadequate for ages. I never thought to question the premise.

    Funny how women busted their butts to get into the workplace and now the new ideal is to be home cooking dinner…

  8. Besides all of the other valid points you and your commenters make, I think another piece here is that traditionally, Black folk tend to LIVE life rather than write about the manner, quality and details involved in living said life the way a blog kind of requires one to. YKWIM? Of course, there is no one Black experience, but generally speaking in my experience, Black women who are crafty and or “homemaker” types do so in the context of groups of other women and don’t spend a lot of energy documenting their process. Now for those of us who are crafty homemaker types who ALSO work outside of the home and juggle tons of responsibilities…my silence on these details are because I prefer to sleep whenever I get a free moment.

  9. Everyone has provided a lot of good food for thought. Sweet, you mentioned that we as POC are not prone to documenting but instead doing and I think you may be on to something. I do a lot with the little one, yet thinking about it, I exist in the moment and rarely think about documenting what we are doing.

    Who knows, maybe I should write a book and see where it goes.

  10. @Julia, you said “Funny how women busted their butts to get into the workplace and now the new ideal is to be home cooking dinner”

    Black women have been working outside of the house forever. Traditionally and today in Africa, women are the ones who generally run the market. (But traditionally, our children came along with or were cared for by close family/neighbors.) So Black women haven’t been trying to get into the workforce. We’ve been a part of it (often forced) for a long time. I think the point most Black women are trying to reach right now is having the *choice* to do what they want to do: go to work or be a homemaker. Without being guilted or derided for their decision. Without being told if they work outside the home they’re neglecting their kids but if they work in the home they are wasting their time, minds, energy, degrees, etc. Trying to reach a place where our choice, whatever it is, is respected and is really our choice.

  11. Um, wow. I think there are many things going on and I don’t believe it’s all about reinventing the wheel, in most cases, but preserving the art of homemaking before it’s lost forever in our culture of consumerism and immediacy. I also think there’s some backlash happening. I think the latch-key kids grew up and realized they didn’t want to have their kids raised alone or by someone else if they could help it, so they made choices about forgoing paid careers and invested in their families instead. And yes, they document their lives, simply because they recognize the intense value of the Homemaker that was tossed out with the baby and the bathwater twenty years ago. I also think that women, unless earning money, are easily relegated to nonexistent status, so many of us embraced our lives as homemakers and mothers and artisan/craftspeople and said to the world, “this is worthy, too”.

    Personally, after my mother died and I reflected on her amazing skills and contributions that basically went undocumented and will forever be lost, really, outside of my memory and that of my sisters, and I thought, “gee, I want better for my kids, and what I do is important”. So I started my blog almost a year ago in a desire to document my life with my home and family and show that yes, I was here, I mattered, I had value and worth, skills and art in me and I passed it on to my children.

  12. Hi, I’m a little late seeing that all the comments were made in 2009. But I’m 20 years old and I’m struggling between being a career woman and being a homemaker. I’ve already done some college and I found out that I don’t enjoy it at all. School is very stressful and it has caused my hair to fall out a little, so I took a break. In my heart I want to one day be a wife and mother where I take care of the home…problem is, my family is all about education. Sometimes I feel bad about thinking of being a homemaker when I’m the only one.

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