Kimberly Seals Allers: I had a dream. Well, it's really a passion that has become my life's work. That is, to become the voice of today's modern black mother.
Let's face it: the mommy world is full of voices and those voices are often slinging harsh words between a multitude of warring camps -- stay at home vs. working moms, breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding, baby-wearing, bed-sharing -- the list of competing opinions goes on and on. I also dreamed, however, that by openly sharing our real-deal motherhood stories, other women could openly engage and appreciate alternate ideas and perspectives. And that by learning of each other's realities, we could soften the lines that often divide us.
I dreamed that in this new era of Obama, and now, Sonia Sotomayer, we
could stretch beyond our own comfort zones and be open to other
opinions. Unfortunately, as I've learned since I started blogging for momlogic, our culture has dangerously become too niche-oriented, and too many of us are only interested in looking at a small range of ideas and information.
To be fair, a good number of mothers, whom I applaud, opened their minds to consider some of the perspectives I've shared here. Others could even agree to disagree. I like that. But it's the commenters who are all too ready to demonize people who espouse opinions different from their own that bother me. Those who think they are so "enlightened" and progressive and "beyond race" but, in fact, are actually permanently stuck in their vacuum-formed convictions. I am still hopeful that by speaking the truth, our truth, as modern, educated, confident, black mothers and all the complexities therein, we can build bridges between our communities. And that these bridges can be based on a real foundation of honesty and not just saying the things the mainstream world thinks we should say.
As a journalist, I relish a healthy debate and watching my words spark the kind of free speech that makes this country great. As a card-carrying member of the broader group of modern-day mamas who've redefined pregnancy, motherhood, and careers, I'm a little frightened by the ideas some of us are toting in our designer handbags. We are raising the next generation of leaders and thinkers, people. It's time to check ourselves. Our biases become our children's biases whether we say them out loud or not, and it seems that all the diversity and sensitivity training and rhetoric so common in the corporate world hasn't fully penetrated the mommy ranks.
And as a black woman, I am frankly appalled that I have been told by some momlogic commenters here to "get over it" because slavery is over and we have Michelle Obama. BTW, I always find this funny, because people never tell Jewish people to get over the Holocaust, which lasted in its systematic form from 1941 to 1945. But over 240 years of slavery, followed by Jim Crow laws, which only ended in 1965 -- that we should "get over" that? Please!
The point is, it is not anyone's place to tell any other person what their experience should be. Or what their reality is. Mothers trying to silence other voices because of their own opinions are practicing the worst type of hypocrisy. And just so we're clear, I will not be silenced. I am only more determined to shed light on our realities.
Recently, I was asked by European stroller sensation Teutonia to participate in their "Motherhood Designed by You" campaign. The campaign features 12 moms and their businesses who are redefining motherhood on their own terms, and I am honored to be recognized and included among these phenomenal moms and dynamic businesses. One of the points I hope to make is that redesigning motherhood is not just about stylish diaper bags and trendy lattes -- it is about redesigning ourselves and our mindsets and challenging our viewpoints to raise the best and brightest children. It is about being open, nonjudgmental, and accepting of all mommy experiences -- whether we agree with them or not.
|Kimberly Seals Allers is an award-winning business journalist and founder and editor-in-chief of MochaManual.com, a weekly online magazine for moms of color. She is the author of "The Mocha Manual to a Fabulous Pregnancy" and "The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit." Kimberly is a divorcing mother of two and lives on Long Island, NY.|