It’s been a wacky couple of weeks for single mothers–at least for those who follow reality TV or traipse through the blogosphere ever so often. Between rapper Shawty Lo’s “All My Baby Mamas,” the obligatory online petition that seeks to block its airing, the Essence interview with the petition’s creator, an article on why being raised by a single mom can be “better” than two-parent rearing, and the obligatory response post decrying that as delusional, we’ve been all over the place.
But that’s par for the course, isn’t it? Single mothers make for good op-ed fodder. Whether a writer or producer is aiming to normalize or pathologize us, he’s guaranteed enough moral outrage to spike his page views or TV ratings. It’s hard to remain neutral when your family structure is so often subject to scrutiny and criticism–but that tends to be my approach.
Beyond Baby Mamas isn’t about lionizing or demonizing single mothers. Here, we simply offer a safe and welcoming space for single mothers of color from all experiences and backgrounds to discuss whatever portion of their experience they feel comfortable offering. The last thing a single mom needs is an initiative who seems to have the following messages coded into its bylines:
You’re embarrassing yourself. Do better.
Clearly, we need to teach you some self-respect.
Your family structure is the biggest problem with our community.
Single motherhood is a monolithic condition, so our advice and criticism is applicable to all of you, with little exception, and any poor representation of single parenting in the media is the truth for the majority of you.
It’s enough to make us a little defensive. But that’s also something we’re not interested in here at Beyond Baby Mamas. While we are proactive about amplifying the voices of many mothers, with wide and varied histories, what we’re not going to do is use this site or our community to go round for round, combating every article that contains erroneous information or promoting every petition that stops problematic portrayals of single parents. We may address these pieces on occasion, but it won’t be a primary function of our initiative.
We’re sure you get into enough of those kinds of discussions in your offline lives — and we’re more interested in sussing our your individual needs and pursuits, then finding ways to support and provide resources for them, than we are in trying to convince those who’ve prejudged us to reconsider their views.
Even so, if you’d like to discuss any of the media linked above here or on our FB page or via Twitter, you’re certainly welcome to. We’ll facilitate those exchanges to the best of our ability.
In the meantime, have a safe and loving weekend. We care. We’re here. And we applaud you. Also, check out this week’s daily content for any posts you may have missed:
With hope and admiration,
Stacia L. Brown, Founder