Black stay at home moms get asked all kinds of strange questions, but it kinda comes with the territory. When I tell people that I’m a SAHM, the responses I get are unusual. From asking me why I’d want to be around my kids all the time, to telling me I’d do well in a fulfilling career to asking me if I can afford daycare, the responses vary in their strangeness. But then it dawns on me that the reason I’m getting these responses is not because I’m a SAHM (stay-at-home mom), it’s because I’m a Black Stay-at-home-mom. Most people don’t expect Black moms to be at home with their kids because they want to be. There has to be some over-arching problem, impairment or barrier to work for us to want to be at home with our children. Well, not this mama. Surprise! It’s my choice. Yup, I do it because I want to. So, just to clear things up, here are the answers to some common questions I get asked.
1. Are you rich? If not, are you poor?
Let’s be honest when you think of Black stay at home moms, most people think of two images. The images most of America holds of Black SAHMs is that of either an uber rich wife of a CEO, or an underprivileged, unemployed mom from an impoverished neighborhood. I’m just keepin’ it real. But if you’re talking to me, I’m neither. I’m not rich. (This means my household does not have a six figure salary. We are normal middle class Black people). We are not poor either. Bottom-line, I’ve just made a conscious decision to be home with my kids. I know the difference between the things I need and the things I want. I want to be home when my kids are awake and pick them up from school everyday. If that means I can’t get my hair done more than once a year or have the latest car, so be it. Here’s the thing, Black stay at home moms are not apart of some monolithic group of women who’ve all stayed home for the same reason. We have different lifestyles and different ideas about life. Don’t put us all in the same basket of your preconceived notions and Black female stereotypes.
2. Do your kids get on your nerves a lot?
Yes. Honesty is the best policy. My kids are just little people. Sometimes I like them and sometimes I don’t. I always love them, but we bump heads often. However, it’s made me a more tolerant person. My mom always says that the hardest thing about raising kids is realizing that you are just there to guide them and you can’t live their lives for them. That means you have to allow them to make mistakes and you can’t always be the voice of reason. Sometimes you just have to help them brush themselves off, give them a kiss and keep life moving. As my oldest son becomes a teenager I realize that more and more each day. Even though I get upset with my boys sometimes, and I do yell (very loudly). At the end of the day I love them. Bottom-line, I’d rather yell at them out of love then to have someone else yell at them out of frustration or anger. So yes, it is not easy being with my two younger sons 24/7, but I’d rather me than someone else.
3. Do you get tired of being the only black mom there?
Yes. It’s true. There are not a lot of Black stay at home moms. Personally, I try to take my children places where I know there will be diversity, but sometimes we are the only Black family present. I do get tired of it, but I’ve chosen this lifestyle for my family. For that reason, I’m not bothered if my kids are the only ones in the homeschooling class at the Science Center or the only Black kids on the playground at 10 am on a Tuesday. While most Black moms do go back to work once their children are older, there are Black stay-at-home-moms committed to the lifestyle. If you are in the Pittsburgh region you can find moms like me through our support group Pittsburgh Brown Mamas. If not, organizations like Mocha Moms is especially for Black SAHMs.
4. Do you miss working? Do you regret quitting your job?
Nope. Just being honest again. I feel very fulfilled as a mother and wife. A wise woman once told me.
“You will never be able to impact the life of any individual the way you do when you’re a mother. As a mom you literally take the hand of your child and walk them through life.”
Hearing this from her made me think about the potential impact I have on my children and how my mere presence is influential in their life. I think all moms are capable of influencing their children, whether they are working or not. I believe in the power of good parenting and it is my life’s work. Sometimes I do good and sometimes, not so much. But, just like any job, I get up everyday and keep on trying. So, no regrets here.
So if you’re among the few Black stay at home moms in America, raise your hand? What kind of strange questions do you get asked?
Read More About Black SAHMs: Why is Everyone Mad at Non-Working Black Women Thinking About Becoming A Stay-at-Home Mom?
.@THEBrownMama Watch on #Periscope ?Why it’s ok to be “just a mom” ? #lifescope #momscope… https://t.co/Y34RIPhFcQ— Muffy Mendoza (@THEBrownMama) September 10, 2016
There are a very few AA stay at home moms who frequent my library. They formed a smaller playgroup outside of the library which then expanded when all the other moms saw how much fun they were having!
Thanks for commenting Rachee!
It’s nice to know your sahm. I am too but don’t home school. I said i didn’t have the patience to home school my child but also said if i had to i could. Which i keep in the back of my mind as a back up plan if middle/high school doesn’t work out.
I’ve gotten you must be bored, i couldnt do it.
My response is my life us fulfilled. It’s not for everyone if it’s not your thing.
Thanks for commenting Danean. I get that all the time. I’m always think people who say that must not be familiar with taking care of children all day. It is always eventful. I find that if you tune into your kids, you learn a ton about yourself. Every moment is like a moment of self-discovery. It’s not always easy though.
I can soo relate to this article. The pressure on AA woman to get back to the grind after having children is definitely something I experienced. At times it was lonely and I was almost always the only brown mommy at the park or in the room at play places. I also felt a little apologetic at times or like I had to give a reason for doing it. I’ve learned that every woman is different. I tried working when mine were young and it just didn’t feel right. I have a 3 and 1 year old now and I just started to feel comfortable enough to let them go to childcare a few days a week so that I can finish my degree. I think a support group for AA moms in the Pittsburgh area would be great. Awesome article!
Thanks a ton for commenting! Feel free to join the Pittsburgh Brown Mamas Facebook page. We get together with our kids once a month. https://www.facebook.com/groups/mochamomspgh
I love this post! I’m 9 months pregnant with no plans to return to work and so many people just don’t get it! A Caucasian co-worker encouraged Caucasian co-worker to be a SAHM, pretty much begged her. When I mentioned that was my plan that same co-worker tried to talk me out of it. I just don’t get it.
Thanks for commenting! Being a SAHM is tough. Not everyone will understand your decision. As long as you and hubby are on the same page, that’s all that matters.
Wonderful post! Everything you stated is exactly what I go through.
I’m glad you can relate. Thanks for commenting!
Hi Mrs. Mendoza, I applaud your decision. If you don’t take advantage of every day with your kids you will never, ever get them back. I was home with my kids but had to go to work when they were in about 6th and 8th grades. I resented every single minute of it. I wanted to be with my kids or at least have some idea of where they were at all times. Suffice it to say, they survived my working life but I sure missed being with them.In the end, you have to do what makes you happy. If that means scooting off to an office, so be it. But if that means staying home with your kids, then God Bless You.
Thanks for commenting! Yes, you have to make a lot of tough decisions when you’re a mom. Whether to work, or not, it’s one of them. Each mom had to do what works best for her lifestyle and current circumstances.
I know this post is dated, but it’s still relevant. Sigh. I have been a sahm for 6 years now. I left my lovely job mid pregnancy due to complications and having to be on constant bed rest. Back then, when ppl found out I was a sahm I felt as though I almost had to make excuses to make *them* feel better about my choice. They weren’t really excuses; I was taking my then baby to therapy every 3 to 4 days. Then there were the doctor appts seemingly every other day… Therapy didn’t stop until after he turned 3. I was so overwhelmed and plain ol exhausted. Being a first time mom and a preemie mom stressed me out. I was/am thankful that I didn’t have to compete with a work schedule, because back then my job wasn’t about work/life balance.
Honestly, had I had an uneventful pregnancy and a full term baby I would still make the choice to stay home with him. 3 babies later and I’m not missing work at all. I’m plenty busy with kid/mom stuff, wife stuff and my new found endeavors (that I probably never would have went for if I was still at my job). ??♀️
6 years later and I am still met with disdain a lot of the time. “Why would you leave your poor husband to carry everything on his back? I could never be ok with letting my husband take care of me/everything”3.. “Why would you want to be home with your kids? I would die….” Especialy from my friends. … I always get “I wish I could just sit around and relax with my kids.. must be nice” I can never tell if it’s a loaded comment, so I just smile and laugh it off. We relax, but we also homeschool and are constantly on the move just like any other family with kids who are involved in activities. My kids just have a little more time to do some of the things they love.
I’m ranting/venting, I know. My apologies. This is something that I have never addressed.
Sis, trust me I know the struggle. I have been a SAHM for 10 years now. I too homeschool my 3 boys and have a jampacked schedule some days, but it is sooo worth it! My kids get on my nerves like everyone elses’, but I love the decision I’ve made. Hang in their sis, and most importantly, continue to do what YOU know is best for your kids. You were divinely created to mother those 3 babies, you and only YOU! Thanks for commenting.
Thanks for that, Mrs. Mendoza! ❣️Blessings to you and your family. Happy New Year.
I truly appreciate this. The hatred and scrutiny we are given is a slap in the face to our ancestresses who smile at the fact their daughters can just be and love their families. Their work was not in vain. This truly lifted my spirit as I am in the south and the mentality is worse with putting down black sahm and homeschool moms.
I know this post is dated. However, I can relate. I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for almost 7 years now. My husband provides for our family of 6 (we have four sons) and I homeschool our youngest two children. My eldest graduated from high school 2 years ago and my second eldest has no desire to be homeschooled. I get crazy stares when were out during the day at parks, museums etc. In fact, one morning my children and I were leaving the house and the neighbor asked my 6 year old… “When do you guys go to school?” Needless to say, he wasn’t black neither did he notice that I was standing in the garage and could hear him questioning my son. I also have a close friend who ask me from time-to-time ” When do you plan on sending your kids to school? your children need to have social skills.” lol! I’m laughing because people do not realize the amount of freedom you have as a stay-at-home mom/homeschooler. The opportunity for our children to learn and develop “social skills” are endless.
It’s nice to know that I’m not the only Brown Mama who thought it’s perfectly normally to devote my time and energy to my children. Thank you for all that you do in support of Brown Mama’s…you are appreciated, Queen.
I know is late but thanks sometimes I feel the isolation so I joined the groups that other sahm mom’s go through. Why don’t we have things like? I need this to know that I’m not alone I do this because this is truly my calling. It’s a hard thankless job, but I love it and anything else seems wrong. The questions you wrote abour are so true. One I got a lot when I decided to stay home was arent you bored? 😂 While I’m not as challenged as I used to be I’m certainly not bored. I am just grateful that I have a wonderful husband who understands. Not every man especially Black man understands thank you for this article. It really helps