The little girl had to be about two, not much more, and she had this little purse thingy that she was absolutely fascinated with—much more so than the high school football game her mother had dragged her to. I noticed her waving it in her mother’s face, an attempt to get her mama to play with her. The mother? She wasn’t having it.
“I don’t want to play with that,” she snapped, without even looking at her baby.
When the little girl gave another feeble attempt to get her mother’s attention, the lady was all sharp edges and thunder: “I said, I don’t want it,” she seethed through gritted teeth. “Sit it down, shit.”
Now Nick missed all this, but my heart just sank when baby girl wandered away from her mother and her two friends, and started trying to get my husband’s attention. He happily obliged her attempt to join her in playing with the purse. I chimed in with compliments on her shoes and telling her that I loved her afro puffs—something, anything, to make her smile. To deflect from the fact that her mother was acting the donkey toward her baby girl, who was looking for some motherly attention on a Friday night at 10 p.m., when she should have been home in her pajamas, in her crib, sleeping in Heavenly peace.
Peace wasn’t on her mother’s mind. Neither was kindness, particularly when it came to her daughter. Still, though I was disgusted by her behavior, it wasn’t at all surprising. I know Black moms love our babies and that we care for their every need just like any other mom—even and especially when we have to make a way out of no way. But my God, the cursing, the beating, the emotional abuse that I see some Black moms unleashing on their children in the street, at the mall, on public transportation, in school, out in public, hurts me to my core.
Now I’m not stranger to the mean mom. Y’all need to ask about my mom; she’s legend with “The Look” and, yes, the switch. With her, children were to be seen, not heard, and any misstep, no matter how slight, might incur the wrath. She was a great mom. But mean as all get out until I got older and had babies of my own. And she wasn’t alone: I grew up surrounded by Black mothers—women I loved and who loved me back—who were just plain mean. For no good reason. Read more…
by Denene@MyBrownBaby on September 20, 2012
I think I might have been about 35 or so when I took my first drink in front of my dad. Maybe even older. I do remember that I was fully grown, with a husband, two babies, a full-time job, a car note, several books under my belt and enough sense to know that my father had to be eased into seeing his baby girl enjoy a glass of wine in his presence before I could even think about drinking in front of him. I’m also pretty sure that my mother passed away having seen me drink only once—at my wedding.
I thought this was just, like, the way with African American parents. Read more…
By NICK CHILES
Researchers have found that the children of the poor spend more time than children of wealthier families using technology to play and waste time, rather than for constructive things. While we were spending all that time fretting about the digital divide in the 90′s, it turns out that as the divide began to close, a new divide was growing—the “wasting time” divide.
But as with everything else concerning children and childhood, what this divide is really about is children of the poor don’t get as much quality time with their parents—whether that time is spent preparing dinner in the kitchen, reading a book together, walking in the park, talking about the events of the day, or searching for crazy factoids on the computer about beetles. Read more…
By NICK CHILES
Should you allow your teenager to have sex in your house? This was a question posed by Clutch and like many, if not most, parents, my initial answer was a loud and resounding, “Aw, hell nah!” It’s about respect, about honoring the rules and the sanctity of the home, and, especially if you have younger, impressionable siblings lurking in the house, it’s about setting the right example.
But having actually brought a male child through those rough teen years, I know that the actual answer, like most things, is a bit more complicated. As anybody out there who has ever been in the presence of a teen knows all too well, teenagers are some sneaky little so-and-sos. You try to the best of your ability to set boundaries, to lay down rules, to monitor their behavior, but the average teenager envisions your rules as the obstacles set down by the enemy. That means the rules actually establish exactly the things the teenager wants to do as much as possible. If my parent says this behavior is bad, then that’s precisely what I want to do with my evening. If my parent says this behavior is okay, then it must not be bad enough. Read more…
Up at Black Like Moi, the question being asked is, if a woman can choose to abort a child, can a man choose not to pay child support? Or to put it less bluntly, if having a child is a woman’s choice, is it still a man’s responsibility? I’m sorry ladies, but this issue warrants a good airing out.
For my part, I’ve always believed that the divvying up of reproductive rights, and by that I mean men having none, is the main reason that some men feel no responsibility toward their kids. In their minds, the mother chose – on her own, usually without or against his input – to have the child so she bears the sole responsibility of caring for it. As a friend reminded me, you have to ask yourself; what if a woman was forced to carry a child to term against her will, what kind of mother would she be? Point being, anytime one parent is forced into that role against their will, problems ensue. It’s a breeding ground for resentment.
This question of choice, or lack thereof, is poisoning the well. Women have the right to control what happens with their bodies, but since what happens inside a woman’s body can lead to a child, isn’t it fair to ask whether a man has the right to control when (or if) he becomes a father? Read more…
Who: Denene Millner
Why: MyBrownBaby.com is an online destination for thought-provoking,
insightful, wickedly funny commentary on motherhood, for and by moms of color.
Through posts penned by a collection of best-selling authors, award-winning
poets, national parenting experts and moms and dads passionate about raising
great kids, MyBrownBaby.com lifts the voices of African-American moms (and
dads!) looking for the 411 / advice / a high-five on everything from pregnancy
and childrearing to sex, work and relationships—all filtered through the lens
of the African American experience. MyBrownBaby.com was founded by longtime
Parenting magazine columnist Denene Millner, the New York Times best-selling
author of 19 books and a frequent contributor for Essence, Ebony and Jet
magazines. Read more…
Please understand, the southern caste system that kept Gamma Bettye and Papa Jimy from getting the educations all children deserve made them value education like no other; they came from a generation of African Americans born and reared in the South—where black babies were relegated, by law, to substandard schools and books and jobs and neighborhoods and services. And so the first chance they could, they high-tailed themselves up North, first for jobs, second to find each other, and third to give their children the opportunities they were denied when they were little. But for your grandparents, there was no time for PTA meetings and school bake sales, no know-how when it came to writing essays or figuring out tough algebra problems, no advocacy with teachers. Maybe they felt like they couldn’t handle it. Perhaps it was what parents like them did in their time—trust that teachers are professionals capable of doing their jobs without parents getting in the middle of it all. Read more…
By Denene Millner
By Denene Millner
It’s no secret that I stan for black fathers. My bias for the good ones runs deep: My dad is an incredible man who loves me with abandon, and my husband, Nick, absolutely adores his daughters. I’m surrounded by beautiful black men who take care of their children in every way—mentally, emotionally, financially, physically—and right here on this blog, I’ve made a point of highlighting fathers like author Derrick Barnes, writer Jamal Frederick and bloggers Eric Payne of Makes Me Wanna Holler and Lamar Tyler of Black And Married With Kids because I truly believe that we need to see them and follow them and study them and thank them for getting it right. Read more…
By Curly Nikki
Here I sit in State College, PA… life uprooted, internet-less, cable-less, and living in a house that I can only liken to a summer cottage. Why? Because like a vacation home, it’s old, dusty and dank, as if it’s been vacant for months on end… devoid of life, save for the bustling community of spiders that appear to be doing quite well for themselves. Everything is dingy and worn, paint peeling… vintage chic, I suppose?
“TIGER MOM” AMY CHUA TO HEADLINE MOCHA MOMS, INC. NATIONAL CONFERENCE
– EPA head Lisa P. Jackson and best-selling author Kimberly Sears-Allers to also speak –
Amy Chua, bestselling author of “Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother,” to speak at Mocha Moms, Inc. Parent Nation conference
Las Vegas, NV (BlackNews.com) — Mocha Moms, Inc., the national non-profit organization that supports at-home mothers of color, has announced that Amy Chua, bestselling author of Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother and one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, will be the keynote speaker during its national conference in Las Vegas July 21-24, 2011 at the Bally’s Paris Hotel. Ms. Chua will speak in an open to the public luncheon session on Saturday, July 23 about her controversial book, highlighting the rewards and costs of raising her two daughters the strict “Chinese” way. Read more…