If More African American Mothers Could be SAHM’s or PT Workers…?

Posted on Posted in Blog, Parenting's Not Easy, School Me on Research

If More African American Mothers Could be SAHM’s or PT Workers…?



There once was a time, I’ve been told, when many mamas did not work and their day to day focus was the family.  This didn’t happen in my neighborhood.  All of the mama’s I knew growing up in my neighborhood went to work a full-time job every day.  And when the mama’s I knew came home, it was to a cold stove with several pairs of eyes waiting for her to heat it up.   Despite not seeing stay at home moms (SAHM) I always knew they existed – well, sort of.  To me they were on television, and really more like a work of fiction.  Historically, working, maintaining a household and parenting a child through school have been the reality for most African American mothers.   In 1930, black women were three times more likely to work than white women.  By 1970 black women were 1.3 times more likely than white women to work.  The U.S. Census Bureau reported that from 1969-2009 Black women were about half as likely as White women to be a SAHM.  Today even Black moms are the least likely to be a SAHM.   In 2012 the percentage of children most likely to be raised by stay-at-home mothers:
  • 37% Asian
  • 36%Hispanic
  • 26% of white children
  • 23% of black children
Conceding first that the grass is always greener, I have worked full time as a mom and part time.  I’ve come to the conclusion that being a SAHM offers some advantages when trying to parent a child successfully through school.  Particularly, if the SAHM is at least middle to upper middle class then she is not stressed about money and can provide exposure to academically enriching opportunities.  Being at least a middle class stay at home or working part time mom allows for moms to more easily:
  • help build vocabulary.
  • have time to work with children on areas where they may need help.
  • plan and take to academic or enrichment activities.
A recent report by PEW research on stay at home moms revealed that mothers at home spend 18 hours a week on child care, compared with 11 hours for working mothers.  In 2012 56% of working mothers felt it was difficult to balance work and family.  Most children today, regardless of race or ethnicity, are growing up with a working mother.  In 2012 47% of mothers agreed that part time work is the ideal working situation. 
I am not one to down play the importance of women making their own money.  I can definitely testify to the power of being able to say, “I can get that for myself (or my children) on my own”.   But, the same financial independence that allows for mamas to provide educational opportunities, also oftentimes infringes on the times needed to give children a competitive academic advantage or edge.  And truth be told all children of color sure could use that!


What do you think? Would African American Children benefit from more SAHM or moms who work part time?

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