Mothers are speaking up, speaking out, making changes, and writing about it. From corporate mavens to homeschooling housewives, moms are taking pen to paper in a movement to speak honestly about the daily grind and rigors of motherhood.
Today bookstore shelves are lined with narratives, books of poetry, anthologies and in-depth scholarly looks at mothering and motherhood; all of which attempt to reach honest conclusions about what it really means to be a mom in modern day America.
What is fueling the ignition of this new genre called “Mother Lit”? Mothers are finding that the constant realities of motherhood are far different than the perceived notions and idealistic concepts that mainstream media and institutions would have them believe. So, moms are fighting back with two of the most effective tools of resistance — quill and scroll.
As the wave of “Mother Lit” swells, though, it is hard not to notice how overwhelmingly middle class and white this particular genre of writing is. But if you look closely, you’ll find that mothers of color are also writing their stories and telling the truths about what motherhood and mothering means to them.
Charisse Carney-Nunes, a freelance writer and lawyer, recently penned a book of poetry entitled Songs of a Sistermom: Motherhood Poems in which she lyrically shares the stories about her daunting life as a new mom while paying tribute to the sistermoms who helped her along the way. A former Poet Laureate at Lincoln University, Nunes says, “writing this book of poems was like having another child.”
Composing poetry since the third grade and intermittently since graduating from Harvard Law School, Nunes began more active and focused writing after the birth of her daughter in 1999. “When I became a mother I had this little baby that was completely dependent on me and this brought me to a writing renaissance,” says Nunes.
Through all of the dirty diapers, temper tantrums and eventual “terrible twos” Nunes still managed to squeeze in time to write an entire book of poetry. One of the main themes in Songs of A Sistermoms is the understanding that although being a new mom may bring undeniably trying times, rearing black children is still one of the most critical tasks reserved for black mothers.
Nunes’ book, flowing through four chapters, starting with the Prelude To The Dance and ending with The Ninth Symphony, conjures elements of love and admiration and aptly illustrates the subtle nuances of breastfeeding as well as the stark realities of combing “nappy” hair.
These poems, with a distinct African-American flavor, bring to light the varied feelings and emotions of being a new black mother and resolve these feelings with an authentic take on mothering, the same mothering that black mothers across the board experience.
For more information on Charisse Carney-Nunes and Songs Of A Sistermom, visit www.brandnuwords.com.
Copyright 2004, Jennifer James