Just Mama- revisiting and remaking Black motherhood

I actually had another post already to roll out but for some reason being a Mama is deep on my heart today. I also suspect I am missing my own Moms a bit today more than usual. Perhaps its because despite the plethora of blogs on motherhood that exist in the blogosphere the vast majority are not written nor geared towards women of color. (Look at the recent issue of Bitch Magazine for more on this)

Anyway I have made what will be a life-changing decision today, I am taking mini-me out of daycare and instead she will go to preschool. Now to the childless who read this, you are probably laughing because I probably would be too. However at present I compress my work life into 27-30 hours a week of daycare and for some strange reason preschool is only 5 hours a week. That means Mama is about to spend a whole lot of time with baby girl. No, I have not given up work either, its just that there is an ebb and flow to my work and I know in a few months I am going to hit a slow time and frankly in a family where both spouses are self-employed its time to get serious about saving money and having her home with me will indeed save a block of money.

On the other hand I have grappled since last year when I stopped teaching with wanting to spend more meaningful time with her and 3 is a good age to start the Mama and baby girl time. I am often intrigued with how white women take motherhood so seriously, I have read enough blogs and had enough real life discussions about Moms who feel bad if they turn on the TV or if they are not fully engaged with their offspring every moment of every day. Now when I first started rolling the idea around to take her out of daycare, I was fretting over what classes to sign her up for, nervous about how I would fill up our days. Then it hit me, my Moms never took me on a single play-date or extracurricular until I was old enough to have a say and I turned out fine.

No, my Mom by the standards of today’s parenting especially the parenting that is prominent by the educated classes would have looked like a slacker, yet looking back the best times and best lessons were learned by observing my own Mama. How she carried herself, how she went about the day to day of just living. Its not the big stuff I look back on when I reminisce about Moms, no its the small shit, its Sunday dinner, how she took forever to cook a feast. How she could make miracles out of nothing in hard times. Its how when I was 14 back in the 1980’s she convinced me that thrift shop clothes were cool when all my friends were rocking the Guess and Girbaud that was so popular at that time.

Looking back I am reminded that while raising kids is serious business since if you fuck it up, that’s a human who is fucked up but if you do it well, it lasts a lifetime.

Black motherhood has always looked different, after all we didn’t need to fight for the right to work, shit we were working from day one when we landed in this country. Yet we raised kids who were good even when we had no time to spend and no money to give.

So, I think mini-me and I will be ok, yes she may end up watching too much tv when I am on a deadline but as elder boy tells me too much TV didn’t rot his brain back when I was a single parent and had to rush home to make dinner so he had to entertain himself with Rugrats and the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air back in the mid-1990’s. This is a kid whose summer reading included Kurt Vonnegut and that was just for fun.

No, motherhood takes many forms and we can’t allow others to define it for us.