This is not a mommy blog. It’s not a how-to for crafting faux-taxidermy for your child’s nursery, and I’m not advocating for Mompreneurs (which, by the way, is the most stupid portmanteau used by people who are still flabbergasted that a woman can have children and a business AT THE SAME TIME). But I am a mom, and this is a blog.
This is not a mommy blog, even though being a mom affects every decision I make. It makes me break-up with a great guy two months in because he wants to meet my kids, and I’m not ready yet. It makes me seek-out freelancing opportunities because I need a side-hustle that works around my kids’ schedule and, with summer around the corner, the cost of summer camp weighs heavily on me. Being a mom makes me value non-essential expenses by how many times I can provide something for my children for the same amount. (Example: I’d like to colour my hair, but for $180, I can pay for a month’s worth of Jiu-Jitsu for G and take the kids for dinner and a movie.)
This is not a mommy blog, and while it’s mostly a Fashion Blog written by Intersectional Feminist WOC with opinions and a platform, I also happen to be a mom; and this mom is thoroughly irritated by the upper-middle-class yoga moms and their pop-feminist bullshit.
Being a mom can be hard no matter how you look at it, but I’m tired of women wanting to be put on a pedestal for raising babies while they hustle. There isn’t anything radical about moms who choose to work, while failing to acknowledge the women who don’t have the same choice, but are instrumental in helping them achieve liberation at the cost of their own. Working moms, and those of us who are women of colour in particular, are all of the women who came before us who didn’t have the luxury of rich husbands to support us. We are just continuing the tradition of women who are underpaid, overworked, and dead-ass tired.
This isn’t a mommy blog, but this also isn’t a blog where we mindlessly tear-down the accomplishments of other women. This is a blog where we call on each other to thoughtfully critique why we do the things we do. Is it true that society demands more of working mothers than working fathers? No doubt; the patriarchy is fucking everybody. But why do we only celebrate a particular kind of working mom—ie. The one with the carefully-curated Instagram account, the obsession with wine, and the snap-worthy fresh-fruit smoothie? We do this while assuming the worst from the mom who recently started moonlighting as an Uber driver after her hours at Tim Horton’s started being cut in favour of the less-expensive foreign-workers, freely making snap-judgements about her, callously warning our children about the perils of making bad-life choices.
Why do we resent and vilify the working poor when the woman who chooses to work often does so to liberate herself, usually at the cost of liberation for other women in the process? Is it so much to ask that the women with the luxury of making that choice acknowledge that it’s always been hard, even before wealthy white women started acting like it’s a tough gig? This, despite the fact that, much like their male counterparts, their success was built mainly on the backs on women of colour. These women think they’re doing the hard work, but it was always hard for us, too, to know that our babies are with someone else while we clean your houses for less than minimum wage so you, wealthy white woman, can volunteer at your children’s’ school. Meanwhile, the schools in our neighbourhoods are still trying to figure out how to fund their hot lunch program. So yeah, the struggle has always been real, but the fact that you just noticed didn’t suddenly make it so.
I am tired of women expecting sainthood for doing what my mother, and the countless women of colour before her, achieved without once demanding a trophy. The deeply racialised history of working women and the jobs we were expected to do seems to be lost on the new wave of Beckies who are choosing to work and want a parade in their honour for doing it.
For generations, WOC were expected to be at the service of the colonisers, our own children be damned. We tended their children, harvested rice, picked cotton, wove cloth, washed clothes, worked in mines, all with our babies nestled on our backs. And if we were lucky enough to skip the hard labour in favour of the less physically taxing (though no less exploitative) domestic work, you had to hope someone was available to watch your children for you.
Women who hustle don’t want a pedestal. We aren’t superheroes, we’re just women who can’t afford to wait for someone to bring home a pay cheque when mouths are hungry, and bills need to be paid. I am tired of women acting like they’re special just because it was their money that paid the light bill. Girl, we always pay the damn light bill! Nobody ever patted us on the back for it.
Maybe empowerment to you means “having it all”, but who’s cleaning your house and watching your kids while you make the world your oyster? Empowerment to countless working-class moms means being able to pay your bills on time, have a fridge full of food, and if you’re lucky, a tank full of gas. When you work because you can, as opposed to working because you have to, you have the luxury of pouting until someone rewards you with the “Super-Mom” ceramic travel mug you’ve been eyeing on Etsy. But when you’re working because you need it, you just show up, do it, and then hurry home to throw dinner together before homework and laundry. Those working women are real, too, but they’re wearing the discount yoga pants from Wal-Mart. (Ain’t no shame, they do the same job.)
So, this is NOT a mommy blog. And no Becky, you’re not special just because you work. You’re a woman with mouths to feed, just like the rest of us.