IHT: Commentary on Michelle Obama’s reinvention of the ‘Stay-at-home’ Mom

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Very interesting commentary:

Michelle Obama is reinventing the stay-at-home mom

By Jolene Ivey, Special to CNN

America’s vision of the stereotypical June Cleaver at-home mom is about to get a shake-up.

Michelle Obama is joining the ranks of the Mocha Moms! And she’ll be doing it at the most prestigious address on earth — 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

From the time when Africans were dragged to these shores as slaves, one of the jobs that fell to these women who weren’t working in the fields was caring for the children of their owners.

From breast-feeding to bathing to rocking them, the women tended their owners’ children, while not being allowed to lavish such attention on their own. Long after slavery was over, little changed in this dynamic.

It was common for black women to leave their own children at home to fend for themselves and go to work for low wages as domestics in the homes of well-off white families. As African-Americans have gotten more opportunities, a college degree has been a ticket to the career ladder. Period. Devoting full time to motherhood is considered a waste of education by many in the black community.

Middle-class white women, on the other hand, were expected to stay home with their children. They fought their way into the workforce in large numbers relatively recently. The feminist and civil rights movements opened the working world to all women, but culturally, black women still were discouraged from being the primary caretakers of their own children.

Michelle Obama is bucking that mind-set in deciding to take time off from her career to focus on getting her children acclimated to life in the White House. Her own mom stayed home with her children, but this was unusual enough that few African-Americans have such a family memory.

Read the rest of this interesting post here.

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