Can white moms and Black moms ever truly be friends? Not just mom friends, but like really real friends? And does it matter?
“Utterly addictive . . . Through her sharp wit and dynamic anecdotal storytelling, Helena Andrews-Dyer shines a light on the cultural differences that separate Black and white mothers.”—Tia Williams, New York Times bestselling author of Seven Days in June
Helena Andrews-Dyer lives in a “hot” Washington, D.C., neighborhood, which means picturesque row houses and plenty of gentrification. After having her first child, she joined the local mom group—“the Mamas”—and quickly realized that being one of the only Black mothers in the mix was a mixed bag. The racial, cultural, and socioeconomic differences were made clear almost immediately. But spending time in what she calls “the Polly Pocket world of postracial parenting” was a welcome reprieve. Then George Floyd happened. A man was murdered, a man who called out for his mama. And suddenly, the Mamas hit different. Though they were alike in some ways—they want their kids to be safe; they think their husbands are lazy; they work too much and feel guilty about it—Andrews-Dyer realized she had an entirely different set of problems that her neighborhood mom friends could never truly understand.
In The Mamas, Andrews-Dyer chronicles the particular challenges she faces in a group where systemic racism can be solved with an Excel spreadsheet and where she, a Black, professional, Ivy League–educated mom, is overcompensating with every move. Andrews-Dyer grapples with her own inner tensions, like “Why do I never leave the house with the baby and without my wedding ring?” and “Why did every name we considered for our kids have to pass the résumé test?” Throw in a global pandemic and a nationwide movement for social justice, and Andrews-Dyer ultimately tries to find out if moms from different backgrounds can truly understand one another.
With sharp wit and refreshing honesty, The Mamas explores the contradictions and community of motherhood—white and Black and everything—against the backdrop of the rapidly changing world.