Women of Color: The Silent Victims of the Mommy Wars

BlogHer Original Post

My mother called the night before I was to give notice, urgently begging me to reconsider. After all, she had eventually become a stay-at-home mom after giving birth to my younger brother. At the end of seven years spent caring for us full-time, she experienced another common side effect of taking leave of the workforce: she found herself unemployable. As a non-native English speaker who had been educated overseas for an industry that had passed her up, she found her job prospects slim.

The untold story of the Mommy Wars is that for many women of color, the “choices” are already limited. The decision is not as simple as whether to opt out of the workplace and raise children with a husband whose income comfortably supports all the family expenses and more or to pursue a professional career with paid time off, medical benefits, and salary enough to cover quality childcare.

My mother eventually had to give up on the career she had studied and trained for, and had to learn a new vocation. Her journey is one I have reflected on many times during the past few years, as I’ve transitioned from being a stay-at-home mom to a work at home mom – another demographic that is largely overlooked in the Mommy Wars.

The real war we moms should be fighting is less glamorous than Hillary Rosen versus Ann Romney. Unfortunately, it’s a battle that is going to take more than a few sound bites or 140 character zingers. Our call to arms should be to demand equal pay – regardless of gender or race, policies which allow adequate maternity leave and health care, and support for women to make the choices they deem best in the face of their cultural traditions.

What is your journey as a Mom? How did your race or culture affect your path?

Race and Ethnicity Section Editor Grace Hwang Lynch blogs at HapaMama and A Year (Almost) Without Shopping.


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