In last week’s Mommie Dearest column, I wrote about Debra Harrell, a South Carolina mother who was arrested for “abandoning” her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she worked at a nearby McDonald’s. (Just yesterday we learned that Harrell has been let go from her job.) I had mentioned in my post that Harrell is Black, prompting a few folks to ask why I needed to note her race. Instead of penning my own response, I thought it would be a good idea to hear from women of color who are mothers. We gathered for a virtual roundtable to discuss Harrell’s situation and explorehow race impacts motherhood in the United States today. Meet:
Our conversation begins after the jump: Keep reading »
Another day, another mother arrested for trying to have it all. And by “have it all,” I mean struggling to figure out child care with little support while maintaining a minimum wage food-service industry job.
A 46-year-old Black mother from South Carolina was jailed for letting her nine-year old daughter play at the park unsupervised while she went to work. Let’s look at the facts, as detailed by Free Range Kids’ Lenore Skenazy:
- Debra Harrell works at a McDonald’s in North Augusta, South Carolina.
- Her nine-year-old daughter had been accompanying her to work for most of the summer, bringing along a laptop and using McD’s free wifi to keep her busy while Harrell worked her shift.
- Harrell’s home was recently robbed and the laptop was stolen, causing her daughter to request being dropped off at a local park.
- Harrell’s daughter was given a cell phone to call her in case she needed anything.
- On her third day at the park by herself, a stranger questioned Harrell’s daughter about her mother’s whereabouts, called the police, and subsequently, Harrell was arrested on abandonment charges.
Keep reading »
I was a freshman in college when I found myself Googling “can Vitamin C induce your period?” There had been some condom-less sex and, surprise surprise, worries over a late period. I wasn’t about to head to my university’s health care office, which offered a Band-Aid and some Tylenol for pretty much every malady. I may not have known what could have helped me out, but I knew that neither a Band-Aid nor headache reducer was the answer. And so, I turned to Dr. Google and was immediately overwhelmed by all the results that showed up.
I had no idea which links were legitimate and which could have landed me in serious trouble. In the end, I did take a huge dose of Vitamin C and my period arrived shortly after. Whether it was due to coincidence (probably) or not, I’ll never know. Now I’m older, a bit wiser, and have an IUD firmly placed in my uterus to prevent any unplanned pregnancies. Yet, with the Supreme Court’s recent ruling in favor of Hobby Lobby, I can’t help but wonder if more people may now find themselves in the same situation as I did almost 15 years ago. Keep reading »
“Like every woman is dying to give birth! I don’t think so. Nobody asks guys that. And you go into a supermarket and every tabloid is like, ‘Pregnant and Alone!’ Stuck in the 1950s ideal of how a woman should live her life. This brings out the fiery feminist in me.”
Zooey Deschanel has always been pretty upfront about her disinterest in having children and in August’s InStyle, she calls out the tabloids for their complicity. You tell ‘em, sister! [InStyle]
Given all the stories we hear about women getting flack for breastfeeding in public, it’s so uplifting to hear about the experience of Julia Wykes, who was defended by a teenage Starbucks barista. Wykes stopped at the coffee shop while running errands with her five-month-old son; when he started to get cranky in line, she sat down to nurse him.
A fellow customer spotted this, and loudly bitched to the barista about Wykes. She asked the barista to stop her from breastfeeding because it was “disgusting.” The barista told the woman he’d take care of it and approached Wykes, but instead of confronting her, he offered her a voucher for a free drink and said, “I’m sorry you had to deal with such unpleasantness today,” prompting the bully to storm out of the shop. Keep reading »
Motherhood — it’s not for everyone. Yet we live in a society that pushes it as the one path of femininity and womanhood above all. For women who choose not to head down that road, they’re usually subjected to all sorts of invasive questioning, unsolicited advice, and are generally made to feel as if they’re making a mistake by not having children. To be clear, I’m not talking about women who want to have children but haven’t found themselves in a space to do so, but rather the women who — for their own personal, valid reasons — have chosen not to procreate and raise kids. Women like actress Cameron Diaz.
Diaz has spoken previously in the past about not wanting to have children, but in a recent interview with Esquire, she laid it all out there in a way I really respect: Keep reading »
Buying your first piece of IKEA furniture. Backpacking around Europe. One-night stands. Splurging on dinner Friday night and spending the rest of the week eating ramen. These are just a few of the things most of us expect of our 20s.
Something that isn’t on anyone’s list? Slowing going blind from a degenerative eye disease.
It wasn’t on Nicole Kear’s list, either. And the Yale and Columbia graduate intended to live her life like it wasn’t. She moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career, fell in love, got married and even attended clown school. Yet through it all, Kear knew a degenerative eye disease she had been diagnosed with at 19 was slowing taking her vision away. She was told she had one good decade before she would be entirely blind. Her family and husband knew about the disease (retinitis pigmentosa), but Kear was embarrassed and hardly told any friends — she had lots of excuses for why her eye makeup looked messy or she wouldn’t drive at night. However, Kear and her husband settled into new parenthood, and she had to come to terms with the realities of her disabilities, including learning how to walk with a cane.
I read Nicole Kear’s funny, fascinating memoir Now I See You in almost one sitting and came away from it thinking, I could be friends with this person. She’s smart, spunky, and makes it easy to put yourself in her (unfortunately, no longer high-heeled) shoes. I gave her a call at home in Brooklyn to chat about blindness, how she managed to write a book with three young kids, and giving strangers the benefit of the doubt.
Keep reading »
Can seven-year olds be assholes? You bet.
Do parents sometimes talk about how their kids can be total assholes with their friends? Most likely.
Should parents — especially those with a decent-size platform — talk publicly about how their kids are huge assholes? Of course not.
But that’s exactly what “Real Housewife” Brandi Glanville did, and she’s not sorry at all. Keep reading »