Moms are an undervalued demographic in American culture. Housework isn’t prized. Women who opt to rear children and not seek a career garner much criticism and little recognition for their sacrifice. American families battle discriminatory social institutions for paid maternity leaves and affordable child care providers. Single mothers bear the brunt of the scrutiny and inequity.
Single mothers are often thrown under the bus by feminists with class privilege. CNN details this in relation to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In.
Since 2000, as many households depend on a single mother as the breadwinner as depend on a traditional male breadwinner. One fourth of mothers are single, and at least half of children will spend some time in a single-mother home. In short, single mothers are now a huge demographic and a potential force for change.
And they’re a subjugated majority.
Most single mothers operate under extreme social and economic impediments — triple the poverty rate of the rest of the population, the highest rate of low-wage employment, the worst wage gap, the lowest net worth, the highest risk of bankruptcy — that add up to a massive inequality in American society.
But a new web series aims to promote the importance of all mothers.
“Moms,” a “Modern Family” meets “Sex in the City” web series focuses on the ins-and-outs of parenting by pushing the depiction of single mothers in a positive, uplifting direction. The show centers on Shari, a single mother, and her three friends who are all mothers as well. All four friends are seeking balance and peace in the chaos of marriage, motherhood and career.
Saadiqa K. Muhammad, a single mother based in Los Angeles, is the creator of “Moms.” Muhammad joins a growing list of advocates seeking a change in how single mothers of color are depicted. Stacia L. Brown, a frequent Clutch contributor, heads “Beyond Baby Mamas,” a support group for single mothers of color. Kenrya Rankin, a freelance lifestyle writer, tackles black motherhood and breastfeeding in her blog, “Black and Green Mama.” There’s also Denene Miller’s “My Brown Baby” and even a weekly Twitter chat for black mothers choosing to breastfeed (#BlkBFing). These women and others, including dream hampton, are providing unique, rare glimpses into motherhood, without the stereotypes attached.
Their efforts to foster dialogue and offer support is both warranted and appreciated. I hope this positive phenomenon continues. After all, single mothers can subvert patriarchy, according to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Susan Faludi. She writes:
“What does a single mother signify?
She is an adult woman with responsibilities who is not supported by a man. Symbolically, she stands for the possibility of women to truly remake the patriarchal structure. That would require a movement built not around corporate bromides, but a collective grassroots effort to demand the fundamental social change necessary to grant independent mothers a genuine independence.”
Peep the trailer for “Moms” below.