Mocha Moms, Inc. and the Mommy Wars
By Cheli English-Figaro, Esq., Co-Founder & President Emerita
Since its inception in 1997, Mocha Moms, Inc. has adamantly refused to participate in the alleged competition between “stay-at-home” mothers and “working” mothers commonly referred to as the “Mommy Wars.” The most compelling, though not immediately apparent, reason for this absolute refusal is that three of the four founding mothers of Mocha Moms, Inc. were employed outside the home at the time of the group’s formation and during the years that followed. In fact, the United States Census Bureau would have classified these three founders as “working” mothers. Any philosophy that the organization could have developed which included a bias against the employment of our members would have been disingenuous.
Mocha Moms, Inc. is a support group whose mission and purpose is to encourage and inspire women of color who have modified or eliminated their employment in order to devote more time to the care and nurturing of their families. While many of our members have eliminated employment altogether, others work part-time, flex-time, night shifts, have home-based businesses, consult or freelance from home or have chosen alternative, less demanding career paths so that they are more available to their families. Our goal is to support the decisions made by our members. We will never pass judgment on mothers who choose to make or are forced to make different decisions for their families.
Mothers of color, particularly African-American mothers, have not traditionally had the opportunity to focus 100% of their time, energy and attention on raising their children. Slavery and its continuing legacy of racism and discrimination especially against African-American men, have made the employment of African-American mothers the lynchpin of the race. However, the mothers of Mocha Moms, Inc. are taking extraordinary leaps of faith and are making tremendous sacrifices to adjust their careers to the lives of their children.
Mocha Moms, Inc. acknowledges that life is full of tough choices for parents. We not do presume to know what is best for every child in every family at every moment. Parents are charged with the responsibility of determining what is best for their own families. We do believe that childhood is a brief season that, like time, can’t be recovered or relived. We believe that making a home for our families and nurturing the important relationships in our lives are valuable uses of our time that will endure forever. We support the choices our members are making that honor those beliefs, but respect every parent’s right to make different decisions.