cover image The Mamas: What I Learned About Kids, Class, and Race from Moms Not Like Me

The Mamas: What I Learned About Kids, Class, and Race from Moms Not Like Me

Helena Andrews-Dyer. Crown, $27 (240p) ISBN 978-0-593-24031-1

Washington Post reporter Andrews-Dyer (Bitch Is the New Black) shares what she picked up in mommy groups in this candid take on race, class, and motherhood. Upon becoming a mother, Andrews-Dyer felt ambivalent about joining her neighborhood’s predominantly white support group, the Mamas. But feeling she needed a sense of community, she signed on, and soon she was confronted by tone-deaf comments (“you can’t compare them,” one white mom quipped to Andrews-Dyer about their children). An offshoot group called “The Super Cool Moms” was born, in which Andrews-Dyer was still the only Black woman, and out of that came an “all-Black pod” with some friends. Her experiences in the three groups led Andrews-Dyer to reevaluate the idea of belonging (“being Black and a mother didn’t necessarily mean we wanted the same exact things for our kids”) and to come to some striking conclusions, as when she writes “what I really wanted, deep down in the sunken place, was to parent like [a white girl]. All the love but minus the crippling legacy of institutionalized socioeconomic oppression and the baked-in fear that your child might get murdered.” She also mixes in some sharp reporting on topics including the importance of talking to kids about race. This frank portrait of motherhood hits all the marks. (Aug.)