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I'm Fed Up With Drunken White Moms!

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Kimberly Seals Allers: It probably comes as no surprise that I'm constantly amazed by the double standards that cut across racial lines in the parenting world. For some time, it's been really bothering me (no, really!) that a large and still-growing group of white women has built a successful blogging and publishing platform and branding niche around parenting while drunk (or at least very tipsy).

woman holding cocktail

A black mom would NEVER be able to get away with making money by extolling the virtues of alcoholism and childrearing. If I receive one more mom book to review with a cutesy title featuring some mom's need for alcohol, I'm going to scream. Or have a very strong cocktail.

Witness "Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay," by Stephanie Wilder-Taylor. This is where it all began. Wilder-Taylor, who also penned the really funny blog "Make Mine a Double: Tales of Twins and Tequila," followed up the huge success of her first book with a second tome, "Naptime Is the New Happy Hour." (Just love the cover with the two wine bottles in the diaper bag!)

Then came similar books from other authors: "The Three Martini Playdate: A Practical Guide to Happy Parenting," by Christie Mellor; "Baby, Mix Me a Drink," by Lisa Brown and (a man gets in on it!) "Daddy Needs a Drink," by Robert Wilder.

There are a few non-mom ones, too, which also speak to my white-girls-get-to-joke-about-being-alcoholics point: "You Can't Drink All Day if You Don't Start in the Morning," by Celia Rivenbark; "Crazy Aunt Purl's Drunk, Divorced and Covered in Cat Hair," by Laurie Perry and Perry's follow-up book, "Home Is Where the Wine Is."

Now, don't get me wrong: I love humor and caustic wit as much as the next mom who doesn't take herself (or parenting) way too seriously. I get it. I also totally love my evening glass of wine as much as the next stressed-out mom. (As my children know, when Mommy has her "special cup," stay away for a few minutes.) But a black woman would never be able to write a book promoting the virtues of PWD (Parenting While Drunk), or even close to it.

Let me rephrase. She could write the book, but no one would ever pay to publish it. And she would likely become the poster child for the next Republican-led black-mom-bashing campaign.

After successfully writing three books of my own (and coauthoring a fourth), I've been dying to write my own humorous tale of a black suburban mom on the edge -- minus the alcohol problem. So far, I've gotten no nibbles. I should change the proposal to my secret working title: "Hennessy in my Starbucks Cup." (That's a little trick I learned from the white moms in my daughter's dance class -- putting alcohol in your Starbucks cup, that is. The Hennessy part was my idea!) Maybe then I will get more of a response.

But we all know that won't happen.

The reason it works for white women is, it's assumed that a white woman is educated, capable of drinking all the time and still parenting, and is really only joking. But Stephanie Wilder-Taylor, once the poster child of PWD, wasn't joking: She later admitted that she had a real problem and had gone into recovery. (When she put up that fateful post nearly a year ago, saying that she needed to put down the cocktail and that she was done drinking, the clamor, outrage and cries of treason could be heard across the country.)

If a black mother joked that she drank all the time while parenting, somebody would call Child Protective Services in a heartbeat. (Remember when my neighbor thought I was spanking?) White women are safe. There is no stigma attached to their drinking -- in fact, there is even a trendiness, and some lifestyle cachet. My drinking would scream "unfit mother" in glaring lights.

Because black women are barely viewed as smart, savvy moms in the first place, the thought of us touting and even celebrating drinking-on-the-job would be preposterous. And we certainly couldn't build a marketable and profitable branding platform on the idea. Nobody, not even I (and you guys think I'm pretty bold), would go there. I'm not foolish enough to assume I have that luxury.

I love the liberty and freedom that white people have in this country. They get to be who they are without any preconceived stereotypes or judgments. I just wish that privilege extended to us all.

next: Confessions of a New Stepmom
186 comments so far | Post a comment now
lam June 30, 2010, 1:08 PM

aw man, i cannot believe these comments.

i am a white american woman living in the bahamas, and living here has opened my eyes to the racism that cripples our nation’s social interaction.

i think you are absolutely right that a black woman could not market tipsy parenting, because of the stereotypes you mentioned.

the ladies writing in with indignation are simply blind to the reality of racism, so blind that they can’t possibly recognize it in their own words and attitudes.

they think that you are jumping to an unreasonable conclusion, that racism can’t possibly be the most probable explanation, but anyone who examines the facts of american society will conclude otherwise.

slavery was ended a mere 144 years ago. that means that people in their fifties today were likely influenced by slavery-era ideologies via their grandparents and possibly their parents.

thirty per cent of adult black males have been or currently are incarcerated. that’s not because black people are stupid. it’s because they are disadvantaged from the start, and have been ever since they were getting kidnapped and sold to white people for profit. jpmorgan made its first fortunes facilitating the financial transactions of the slave trade, aetna sold insurance on the lives of slaves, all the tobacco companies owned slaves, and we can’t even begin to quantify the benefits reaped by textile companies.

i think white people are frustrated with these facts because they don’t know how to figure out their role in it, they can’t figure out where their responsibility lies. they figure that they never owned any slaves or mistreated a black person, so they shouldn’t have to tolerate affirmative action or finance social programs that are beneficial to black people.

i don’t blame you for being pissed off about it. one’s race and the impact it has on how one is perceived as a person and parent is absolutely undeniable, particularly in regard to behaviors that are traditionally thought to be undesirable.

and if there’s any doubt that your race has something to do with your book not taking off, many of the comments left here seal the deal.

Anonymous June 30, 2010, 1:19 PM

I think you’re completely right that a black mother couldn’t joke about drinking. If it makes you feel any better, I don’t like the white women who write books about parenting while drunk. I think it’s really sad that a woman who was actually an alcoholic became a hero and only got criticized when she tried to stop.

BelovedMother June 30, 2010, 1:29 PM

Frankly it might be time to play like “blacktivists” like dear kimberly here, and strat blogs, bussinesses, and observences for whites. Things like ” How To Explain Why Tayvon has 9 Daddies” may be useful for white Moms and their children, as well as subjects like ” Explaining to Jonny That he will need to get a high Earning Job to Pay for Blacks to Stay on Welfare” would be good.

BelovedMother June 30, 2010, 1:29 PM

Frankly it might be time to play like “blacktivists” like dear kimberly here, and strat blogs, bussinesses, and observences for whites. Things like ” How To Explain Why Tayvon has 9 Daddies” may be useful for white Moms and their children, as well as subjects like ” Explaining to Jonny That he will need to get a high Earning Job to Pay for Blacks to Stay on Welfare” would be good.

Anonymous June 30, 2010, 1:57 PM

I’m white, a parent of two, and opposed to drinking alcohol of any kind at any time, and not due to religious beliefs or any health concerns, either. I simply find it stupid. While I love that you boldly bashed this new parenting philosophy, which I have seen being touted all over the internet on parenting forums and in books, I do not agree that this was any kind of racial epithet. You’d get a lot farther with your argument if you didn’t make it about racism; object to the drunken parenting philosophy as a whole, not its alleged discrimination.

Anonymous June 30, 2010, 3:31 PM

I’m tired of angry black moms. Make that angry black people. Seriously, get over yourselfs already.

Anonymous June 30, 2010, 3:42 PM

So you are disgusted by the trend but you sound jealous that “only white women can get away with it.” Conflicted much?”

Nikki June 30, 2010, 5:02 PM

this is just racist of you to even write. you are wrong on many levels, and offensive to women period. get over your self, not every ones sees people for their color, but their behaviors. and yours are ugly and racist in themselves. sickening!

Anonymous June 30, 2010, 7:38 PM

You know, as a white woman who likes to have a glass of wine in the evening and some times joke with my girl friends about it, I have to say, you do have a point and I don’t personally think I would view any respectable woman (black or white) as a bad parent if they joked the same way and I DO think I would judge any woman (black or white) if it was seemingly getting out of hand. That’s me though.
I just wanted to tell you that I think you raise a good point, and it’s not fair. I hate that the world can still be this way. Some days I think we’ve come so far and others I am reminded that we have so much further to go.

Texasholly June 30, 2010, 8:04 PM

I think that shows like The Real Housewives are proving that whites women shouldn’t drink either.

Amber June 30, 2010, 9:04 PM

That whole article was a ‘sterotype’ and ‘judgement’ of white mothers. Some mothers drink because of the fathers and the only thing keeping them going are the children.

Christina June 30, 2010, 9:40 PM

I think the people who are upset by this article doth protest too much. Please, people, especially you who post under “Anonymous”, research (or just freaking Google) “white privilege”. It’s not a made-up term. It is a real phenomenon. And you know it’s truth, or you wouldn’t be writing such angry, hateful, and insulting comments. For the record, I’m a (mostly) white mother of multi-ethnic twin boys.

Katelynn July 1, 2010, 5:47 AM

This author SO does not know what she’s talking about!! Hello, what privileges does a white writer get that a black one doesn’t? NONE - obviously a white writer could never have an article titled “I’m tired of drunken BLACK moms”. Kimberly and her whining about non-existent racsim - HELLO - we have a president who is black and white but only acknowledges that he is black because he clearly sees the privilege of such a declaration!! As a another poster commented white students with superior academics can’t get scholarships for colleges but black student can simply based on the color of their skin. White couples starting out can’t get any type of financial assistance or home buying grants but black families can. Even where I work it doesn’t matter who is more qualified - positions have to be filled based on race and African-Americans have rights over whites to jobs. PLEASE stop whining about how the world is against black people when they get FAR MORE privileges than any other ethnic group!!

BelovedMother July 1, 2010, 6:18 PM

BTW, Miss Kim does not have a “special cup”. She’s black. She has a dirty paper bag.

Monique July 2, 2010, 11:48 AM

My beef isn’t with this article. I am a single (black) mother who understands needing a drink every now and again. My beef is with the IGNORANT people who make comments about black students getting full scholarships to college (note: these are usually predominantly White universities). As a college educated black woman (gasp!!!), who paid for her OWN education (gasp!!! gasp!!!) I resent that comment. Also, just to make a point about the “racism” of free college educations…..there are institutions of higher education where white students get full rides because of the color of their skin. (gasp!!! gasp!!! gasp!!!) They are called Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs). PLEASE do some research or even ASK SOMEONE before you make such comments.

Chrissy July 3, 2010, 10:55 AM

Sorry, I agree with this article. And I am white.
Momlogic published an article not too long ago where the author whoo-is-me-I- gave-up-my-job-when-I-had-a-baby-and-now-I-need-my-afternoon-cocktail.
The author, white, believced that her afternnon cocktail made her a happier person and a better mother.
I repsonded that she might have a problem if she is believing a cocktail makes her a happier person and a better parent.
Boy was I shredded my other the other responders.
For the record the cocktail mommying isn’t being done by all white mothers just the upper middle class (or those pretending to be by over spending).
yes, it’s a current trend. Dr Phil has add several shows on it, there’s been magazine articles decrying it and the most obvious, books glorifing it (as the article mentioned.
On the other hand, there are those “white” mothers who make homemade baby food (to avoid addictives in store bought ones), breast feed, and stay on top of what chemicals, products, toys are toxic.
There is good and bad mothering in very class, race, ethnic group.
Profitting by the promotion of bad mothering is wrong.

sixft4 July 3, 2010, 1:02 PM

I am a BM, Most BW are racist and have a double standard when it comes to life in general. Most BW hate WW and obsess over WM.

Nicole July 3, 2010, 3:28 PM

You had me til you stated: “A black mom would NEVER…..” then you lost me. If we as a society are ever going to overcome racism, we should focus more upon our similarities as opposed to our differences. Nit picking about “who is getting away with what” is a pure waste of time. As a writer myself I choose to focus upon issues that affect women as a whole, I suggest you try the same.

greenly July 3, 2010, 9:47 PM

I started to write quite a few paragraphs about my opinion, and then I remembered a wonderful piece of advice which I will direct to you.
If you are ever feeling down or bad about yourself, or have any negative feelings about anyone else, before you act or speak, do something good for another person without recognition or reciprocation. -from a whitey and a fellow human being taking the higher road

Mama3000 July 4, 2010, 1:22 PM

Wow!! I am amazed at the “I-am-a-white-woman-and-so-sick-of-blacks-whining” backlash! Really! I don’t think people see how privileged they actually are. How would an upper middle-class white mother KNOW what it is like to be a mom of color? Btw….I am white, middle class, mom of 3, and I may have a beer every once in a while ( but haven’t blogged about it….yet….). But I would never assume to know what other mama”s experiences are like. I sure wish we could support one another a little better.

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