I’ve worked in government, publishing and libraries, but none of those jobs have been as demanding as being a stay-at-home-mom. Motherhood is a never-ending job. I attended a mixer hosted by the NOLA Mocha Moms and met a diverse group of women. Here’s a short chat with NOLA Mocha Moms about parenting in the Big Easy:
1) How long has NOLA Mocha Moms chapter been active? How many members? The New Orleans chapter of Mocha Moms, Inc. was charter in 2008. We have been active in the New Orleans community for 5 years now. Currently, we have ten members and we continue to grow.
2) What are some myths about women of color stay-at-home-moms? One common myth about women of color stay at home moms is that your spouse makes a lot of money so it’s easy to stay home. Many families restructure the family budget and choose to have mom stay home to care for their children in lieu of sending them to day care. With the rising costs of child care, this is beneficial to many families looking to save money. I also think many people believe that stay at home moms just sit at home and take care of the household duties so we have a lot of “free time”. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Some moms have at home businesses or work from home part-time. We also manage our children’s activities, home school and are active in our children’s educational endeavors.
3) Advice for finding balance between caring for your family and caring for yourself? You must take care of yourself first. You are no good to your family if you are sick, fatigued and stressed. Take 15 minutes a day to recharge yourself. Those few minutes can be spent reading a book, exercising, chatting with a friend or anything that uplifts you or makes you happy.
4) Do you think NOLA is family friendly? What concerns you most about NOLA? There are many things in New Orleans that are family friendly. As a native of New Orleans, I have experienced as well as shared many experiences with my children. The two largest parks in New Orleans, City Park and Audubon, offer activities for all age groups. Many of them are free like bike riding and playground areas. One thing that concerns me is the level of violence within our community. We need the village to stand up and fight for their protection.
5) How does MOCHA Mom remain engaged in important NOLA issues? As part of our national platform, New Orleans Mocha Moms engages with literacy and education. These are areas where we have seen the immediate benefits of our involvement. We set up book nooks at barbershops, beauty salons and clinics throughout the metro area. Children are given books to keep at our kickoff event and the host location has a book nook to keep in their location to engage children in reading while waiting for services. We hold annual education forums to discuss education topics like finding the best school fit for your child. Additionally, through our Occupy Schools activities we have donated much needed classroom supplies and books to schools while encouraging parents to get and remain involved in their child’s academic endeavors.
6) Tells us about some of your initiatives for 2014. We have our Annual Black Marriage Day celebration coming up the 4th weekend in March. New Orleans Mocha Moms will have our annual Shot@Life community event to raise funds for vaccinations for children in underdeveloped countries as well as our annual Mocha Literacy event in the Fall.