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Review of "The Mamas: What I Learned About Kids, Class, and Race From Moms Not Like Me" by Helena Andrews-Dyer

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the new mother bubbling fountain.She provides a life-giving flow of nutrients to the newborn baby, and possibly other children, partners and relatives. to be She, too, must be constantly fed by a source of water, which is the other mother. This analogy belongs to Helena Andrews, senior pop culture reporter for The Washington Post, and her Dyer. Her emotionally sensitive encounters with motherhood are the basis for her latest book, Mom: What I Learned About Children, Classes, and Race. “

In “The Mamas,” we follow Andrews-Dyer, a black mother who lives in Washington’s gentrification district. She seeks support available through her group of new moms who meet in person or online. But since she began her parenting journey in that gentrifying neighborhood, the mothers Andrews Dyer has access to are predominantly white. I find myself navigating the bewildering and exhausting stage of life that is new motherhood among those who feel alienated and alienated.

“Finally I got the hang of things…a woman who dutifully showed up at our tree in the park with my energetic 8-week-old and who used to pass me by on the street without even giving me a glance.” I chatted with him for an hour.” Women talk about anything. “Boobs were out and loose. Tongue even more. Vagina discussed. Dissected surgery. Exhaustion exposed.” But Andrews-Dyer is always on high alert. “To reveal my ignorance to the women I’ve learned through my own experience, and the deep women swimming in my blood, is to make clear that under no circumstances should I ever be hurt. was dangerous.

Fan of Andrews-Dyer, author of “Bitch Is the New Black” and “Reclaiming Her Time: The Power of Maxine Waters” expect candor and insight, and “The Mamas” does not disappoint. In prose full of irony and digression, readers ride shotgun as Andrews Dyer takes care of her, cares for her mother, whom she needs and sometimes despises, and escapes. .With so much trouble, why does she keep returning to mommy groups? I will explain. And everyone wants to avoid a nervous breakdown.

Oftentimes the only black mother in the group, Andrews Dyer does an invisible labor coined by sociologist Dawn Marie Dow in “Mothering While Black.” It acknowledges the additional burdens black mothers face in trying to prepare and protect their children for a white-preferring society. In seeking advice from these mothers on how pediatricians, strollers and kindergartens can best serve their babies, Andrews-Dyer found that she was also serving herself. . “What I really wanted, deep in the sunken place, was to be a parent like [a White mom]All love minus the devastating legacy of institutionalized socioeconomic oppression and the deep-seated fear that children will be killed while playing in the park.

But Andrews-Dyer’s invisible labor made her stronger despite the difficulties. So in contemplating the peace she temporarily feels in these mothers, she seems to ask herself. Who am I if I don’t carry this burden? can Will I stop carrying this burden?do i I want To? Should successful black mothers protect themselves from the burden of being black?

“The Mamas” is full of banter and wit, with dozens of pages competing like a Netflix comedy special. But the book finds its legs and strength in some chapters that feel like stand-alone essays. Dyer faces the painful fact that she and her black husband chose to live in this “hot” neighborhood, both as proof of their financial success and as a dividend, but historically red-lined. DC moving into the black part minus them they encourage gentrification. “Like carpetbagging gentrifiers, we looked to our elderly black neighbors’ decaying homes, but they complained to us about ‘all these white people’ moving onto the block. Were we white people in sheep’s clothing? I mean, no, obviously. But hey? ”Andrews-Dyer falls into the paradox of making it. It’s a relatable, if untenable, conundrum for anyone black middle-class or middle-class.

Another great chapter is “Your Mom’s Vagina.” In this chapter, she takes on the role of caretaker for her aging mother while raising her own little child. Here she reveals her vulnerability. And she appeals: “Can I be her daughter today, or must I be her mother?”

Perhaps the best chapter of the book is “The Invisible Mom,” where Andrews-Dyer, her husband, and little daughter are on the playground. As their daughter drove away, Andrews Dyer and her husband found a small black boy who was “maybe seven or twelve years old” and appeared to be of low socioeconomic class. They scan the surroundings of his parents, noticing a boy repeatedly riding a white girl’s bike. Seeing nothing, they suffer the unseen labor of preparing to protect and guide someone else’s black child, while the black child actually thinks universally. I am enjoying my day, worrying that I am doing what I am being told. Wrong thing, it still concerns children. “You were probably the kid on the playground with hand-me-down shoes and a chip on your shoulder. Was it possible to catch up and even surpass stereotypes? Was it worth it?” Who was it that kept us apart?

A day on the playground becomes a stalemate intersectionality when gentrifier Andrews Dyer is just one presumptive from the suspect. “Being a middle-class black parent in a transitional area is something that doesn’t seem strange… our bodies do loud introductions that bachelors and bank accounts can’t.” The girl’s white father incorrectly assumes that Andrews-Dyers and her husband are the boy’s parents (at least if not obvious to Andrews-Dyer, there is a class between them and the boy). (despite differences in “What do we want them to see when they look at us?” she asks. Andrews-Dyer is outraged at being stereotyped by the man, but covers her anger. of The goal — everyone’s goal — to take the next step? Be the middle-class black that the Huxtables and Obamas promised us to be. If we exist, shouldn’t we claim to be seen?”

This chapter delivers the biggest punch when a black mother of a little black boy comes to see what the fuss is all about and lays down on Andrews Dyer. I am looking forward to it,” says the mother. Andrews-Dyer ruminates. “Once again, it got me thinking about who ‘we’ are. How race, class, money, and fabrication divide us in ways we see and don’t.” , or maybe we do and are too lazy to break the magnifying glass. was invisible they, but no one saw us?

In yet another twist of satisfying nuance and honesty, Andrews Dyer feels another invisibility when her friends in the white mothers group turn a blind eye to her when blacks are in the news. Aren’t I cast as Black Mama Tomo No. 1 in this play?” she asks herself. “And that thought made me realize how much I had to deal with … my own … privilege, racial guilt, urban fatigue, financial insecurity, acute impostor syndrome, and social pressure. None of these women ever put me in a black friend box I went inside myself I knew the rules and the red flags so I felt comfortable but the space I was dissatisfied with how small it was.”

Books struggle as crafts. With so many mothers named but rarely developed as characters, the book reads like a play-by-play of a football game. Without knowing the roster, it’s impossible to know exactly who did what. Wit becomes slapdash. Andrews-Dyer is so vague about her feelings that you have to read between the lines quite a bit to discern what she herself may not have understood. Volunteer to surround yourself with a group of mothers made up of almost all the women who used to roll their phones—white women in Karen’s time—but I did. Was it not unlike the hysterical women who lived in may frustrate the reader. Still, she brings her burgeoning insights to readers. we understand ourselves right? “

Like most new moms, Andrews-Dyer learns that the real quest is to learn to nourish herself. It’s about thinking and trying to come to a conclusion that you can accept. In the words of Andrews-Dyer, “Everyone is trying.”

Things I Learned About Kids, Classes, and Race From Moms I Don’t Like

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