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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
Andrew Zebrun III July 7, 2010, 6:13 AM

OMG, I can’t believe people like to share stories of parenting while drunk, PWI. The very sad, real world result of this is my daily reality!

Back in the ’90s I tried to gain custody of my two daughters from my alcoholic ex-wife. But the courts didn’t see her drinking as a problem, and I lost my attempt to save them.

In 2008 one of those daughters followed in her footsteps and drank just like mommy did. She then hid the fact that she was pregnant with my first grandchild. Tragically, my daughter murdered my first grandchild before anyone even knew she was pregnant. It’s known as neonaticide syndrome.

Alcoholism, passed from mother to daughter, was a huge factor in that poor babies death. I find nothing cute, or funny in that parenting style. I wish I could do something to help save mothers and babies from that horrific cycle of drinking, and child abuse…

Aleksandra July 7, 2010, 6:39 AM

I find this article pretty offensive. As one of the comments said “I’m tired of angry black moms” too. Get over the color stigma - I’ve never, ever treated anyone differently because of their color or thought lesser (or better) of them because of the color of your skin. It’s a person’s character that counts.

ClassyOne July 7, 2010, 6:46 AM

I find it amusing how all of the RACIST comments towards the poster of this article are disrespecting ALL black women because of this ONE article by this ONE black woman. WOW. Reality check — Irregardless of the color of our President, racism exists in EVERY community in this country! I wish that people would just stick to the article at hand and not take pot shots at the entire black community because this ONE person decided to speak her OPINION. — My goodness.

Jennifer July 7, 2010, 6:58 AM

I’m so sick of people making everything into a race issue. Get over yourself and on with life. And I also agree with anonymous about black people getting special treatment. Michele Obama says if she can go to Harvard - anyone can. That is Bull - most smart middle class kids can’t get in unless you are a minority.

Fawn July 7, 2010, 6:58 AM

Well, you just lost me as a reader. I as a white woman am tired of everything having to be about race with you. I DO NOT GET ANYTHING FREE IN THIS COUNTRY, AND AM NOT ALLOWED TO COMPLAIN ABOUT ANYTHING BECAUSE I AM WHITE. If I say anything about the ILLEGALS in this country living here for free or people of any color riding the welfare system, I am seen as racist. I think the real rascist is you. People like you can’t and won’t ever live in harmony with other people of other races. People like you always want to play the “people are mean to me because of my race” card. You are a RACIST.

Jan July 7, 2010, 6:59 AM

I am 59 years old. When I was in my thirties, I wondered why my daughter could not compete in the Miss Black America contest even though there had already been black Miss America winners in the yearly contest. Oh, then I remembered, she isn’t black. She can’t go to college on a scholarship like they can. Why is there the Black Entertainment Awards every year? Whaaat? And you want to complain about our priveleges? Get over it. You are a racist, period. This country will be “equal” when the black people quit separating themselves and blaming the white people for every injustice done eons ago by different generations. I do not feel your pain but I sure see your gain. And it is unfair.

Tiaras July 7, 2010, 7:04 AM

I like this post - I do not drink - ever - not ever! Not even once since I became a mother. I do not think a parent should drink - EVER! This is my opinion. I do not like to hear parents say that they “need” a drink at night to get away from their kids or stress. I don’t agree with this mentality at all. My husband will have a few drinks here and there and I can’t stand it. My kids will tell him too!

MB July 7, 2010, 7:13 AM

For all of our children, STOP making everything about race.

Let’s raise this generation of children not to see the color of someone skin but to see the person.

A racist is just as irresponsible as a drunk.

Kerri July 7, 2010, 7:13 AM

I think this post is dead on. I’m a white mom and I regularly joke about DWP. People all assume it’s a joke and the secretly I’m a very good parent. (or at least no one has taken me seriously enough to call the authorities) I hadn’t really thought about it, but I’ve never heard my mom friends of color make those jokes. And I think you are exactly right as to why. Thanks for opening my eyes.

Tina July 7, 2010, 7:21 AM

The truth hurts love the article!

Lynn July 7, 2010, 7:34 AM

I love white people, I love black people. There are trashy whites, there are trashy blacks. Yes, yes…back in the day blacks had it HORRIBLE! Now you have BET, Miss BLACK America, Ebony magazine, ect. Hmmmm….I’ll be right back…I have to watch WET, Miss WHITE America & flip through this month’s copy of Ivory. Come on, get over it already. The books you’re writing about are tongue in cheek. It’s comedy. Why do white people (not all) typically see us “all in this thing called life, together”, and blacks just don’t want to move on from the past. I know no Mom’s, black or white, that parent while using alcohol.Move on Kim.

Get over yourself July 7, 2010, 7:35 AM

This writer has the be the biggest whiner/racist in existence.

annief July 7, 2010, 7:48 AM

In what way is this relevant?

Sydney July 7, 2010, 7:54 AM

Oh, wah, wah, wah! Quit your racist whining and go have a drink! I’m so sick to death of “black entitlement,” I could scream. Get a life that extends beyond your distorted world view. Pathetic!

melissa July 7, 2010, 7:55 AM

if a white woman blogger wrote this, she’d be verbally attacked, called prejudice or bigots. this post is exactly that…prejudice and bigoted. i’m appalled and offended.
mothers who drink to the extreme are irresponsible. and being irresponsible has nothing to do with what color you are.

Amy in OHio July 7, 2010, 8:01 AM

This post really made me think. I sadly have to agree with you, as a society, had Stephanie Wilder-Taylor been black, the fire storm likely would have been terrible. I know she had plenty of critics when the books first came out, but they would have been multiplied drastically had she been black.

I’d like to think that personally I would have laughed just as hard at her wit and humor had the face I saw on the back cover been one of a black woman. But who can know for certain?

We’ve all be propogandized (yeah, I’m making up my own words now) to believe that welfare moms are black moms; that the black community is lazy and abusers of the system. We all know the crap slung around out there to make the bigots look good and everyone not like them look bad. It’s utter and complete bullshit of course - the last tally I believe has WHITE AMERICANS using socials services far more than their black counterparts, but facts and figures rarely go over well at klan rallies and GOP conventions.

I work everyday to fight against the nonsense of my occasionally racist upbringing (we all have *those* uncles and grandparents that have/had those opinions), to judge a person by no other gauge than how he or she treats me. And I work harder still to make sure my daughter never has to block out the stupidity of bigots.

I’d love to think we are just a generation away from knocking racism out - that by joining forces and raising our children to love, respect and embrace all walks of life, we can drown out the noise of the naysayers. A girl can dream, right?

Christy July 7, 2010, 8:09 AM

I no longer wish to receive your newsletter. I am not a mom but I help raise my 3 nephews. I am a white woman and feel the title of this article was unnecessary and I was shocked to see this in my email. I live Alabama and I will not put up with white woman bashing one more day of my life.

Anonymous July 7, 2010, 8:19 AM

I agree that the fact that MOTHERS who are drinking while parenting is a serious issue, IF it is really happening and not just being simply joked about. I do not see what it has to do with race what so ever.
If you want to talk about race and how UNFAIR it is for the poor black women, then lets talk! I am white, I went to college after having a child out of wedlock and worked 2 jobs the entire time I was in school. I am now married with 2 children and still work 2 jobs (both of which have nothing to do with my college degree as there are no jobs in my area). One of my jobs allows me to see the diffference in how life works. I am so fed up with seeing the POORLY treated black women coming in with her food stamps to by crappy food for her 5 kids all of which have rotten teeth and dirty clothes, using her state insurance to pick up medication (usually some sort of ADHD medication, of course why actually deal with your childs behavior when there is a pill you can pop in their mouth), yelling swear words and telling her girlfriends that she is gonna talk ghetto no matter what, wearing name brand clothes, nails done, hair done, then driving away in car that is worth more than mine!
I get my hair done 2 times a year, for mother’s day and my birthday, I havent gotten my nails done since my wedding 4 YEARS ago, I will admitt, my children wear name brand clothes (that I buy from a second hand store!)
I run a day care and also wrok in a pharmacy, so I do see all walks of life, but saddly, the majority of the time it is the poor unfortunate mistreated welfare collecting black women. I am totally fed up with that.

BossLady July 7, 2010, 8:21 AM

Well! I guess if we color people did not have BET or African American award shows, we would NOT be represented on tv or awarded for are contributions to entertainment at all. You precious white people have NBC, ABC, OXYGEN, WGN, FOX, OSCARS, GOLDEN GLOBE, COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS SHOW I can go on all day. DAMN!! Can we have something. Not sure if you Precious WHITE WOMEN forgot your history, but let me refresh it for you … Are people are the ones who created Jazz, Rock n Roll,Blues Dance etc, I can go on all day.. Now for welfare… Welfare was created by WHITE PEOPLE for WHITE PEOPLE and from the recent stats, precious WHITE WOMEN are the highest recepients of welfare along with section eight.. Since you racist bitter WHITE WOMEN have such a problem with us Black Women, why are you in line for lip botox injection, tanning salons and butt implants…Seem like somebody desires what GOD has blessed us with.. Get over your selves you are not better and will never be better..

Anonymous July 7, 2010, 8:22 AM

There’s a lot of people who don’t see black or white anymore. Maybe you should jump on board.
If the mom was green I’d still think it was a bad choice. Really??? Horrible post.

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