When my generation was growing up in the 1970’s and 80’s, TV shows like The Brady Bunch and Happy Days depicted stay-at-home moms like Carol Brady and Marion Cunningham. Reruns of Leave it to Beaver showed June Cleaver always perfectly dressed and ever ready to assist her children. I enjoyed watching these shows portraying motherhood, not realizing the subtle message it was delivering: that generally only one “type” of women chose homemaking as their career.
Then in the 1990’s, new role models emerged in the black community. We were introduced to successful working women like Claire Huxtable on the Cosby Show and Vivian Banks on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air. The subtle message these role models sent was that success for women in the black community equated to holding an upwardly mobile career while raising happy and healthy children. While this model was a benefit in many ways to the black community, it inspired many young girls to seek a career outside of the home rather than the professional, in-home role of motherhood.
Despite the lack of a large number of role models, many black women have chosen to professionalize motherhood and are a part of a growing number of women who are choosing to become stay at home moms. According to Black Ink Online in an interview with Veronica Chambers, author of Having it All: Black Women and Success, middle class black women are choosing to stay at home in unprecedented numbers. However, many are meeting challenges as they are vital income sources for their families and often meet resistance from their husbands when they want to stay home. Also, having fought and sacrificed for their children to receive an education, many black parents are not thrilled when their daughter chooses to be a full-time mom. As black women overcome these challenges, many are finding the role of stay at home mom very fulfilling and rewarding.
Regardless of race or color, stay at home moms need support and avenues in which to network with others. Here are some resources to meet these needs and to help today’s stay at home mom be successful:
This support group for mothers of color is devoted to helping those who have chosen not to work full-time outside of the home in order to spend more time with their families and communities. There are over 100 chapters throughout the United States which seek to meet the needs of moms, their families, and their communities.
This website provides articles, books, free items, and other resources for moms transitioning home as well as established stay at home moms.
Home Based Working Moms
This professional association and online community is dedicated to helping parents who work at home and those who would like to.
Mahogany Baby is a magazine that celebrates black parenting. It was created to bridge the communication gap between existing parenting magazines and the needs of black parents.
Black Mom’s Club
Black Mom’s Club is a Black parenting online magazine and social networking community for moms of color. This site is a place for Mothers of Color to connect with friends and express themselves through the sharing of information, personal experiences and photos.
Black Ink, Q&A with Veronica Chambers, Randomhouse.com