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Will my white children will be better off without a brown mum?(85 Posts)
Sorry for the dramatic headline but I do feel that way today.
Both my babies DD (4) and DS (1.5) are white, my son is even blond. I'm Bengali (and brown) and their Dad's English. DD is attending a very good school and there's a mix of family backgrounds among the kids in her class.
I find I'm constantly being "blanked" or snubbed by some mums both in and out of school. I've been trying to make friends/arrange playdates/have coffee mornings - I find it has helped the kids' friendships to ripen in the past if their parents socialise too. We don't have to like each other but at least make an effort.
I'm a friendly person, pretty extrovert and normally dress fairly nicely (you'll see why I'm saying this in a mo) so I'm starting to wonder if this is a race thing? I've never faced (or maybe never noticed) overt racism before (I used to work in Publishing so perhaps ivory tower etc.) So maybe I'm misreading this? and its not racism. Maybe it's just me? Really? How come I've not faced this sort of unfriendliness before? DD went to another state school briefly and I made loads of friends (of all ethnicities) and I was pretty popular at school/uni/work.
When we've had a babysitter take the kids out and she's white, the response they get is so different. Its as if the moment I appear on the scene, and claim them as mine, it sours everything. People's expressions change, they seem to turn cold. Of course there's the proverbial "are you the childminder" sort of shit I face everyday. I just ignore that.
Soon, DCs will be old enough to notice their mum being treated differently. And how it affects their social lives. And they will hate me and perhaps even avoid having me around because of it.
What other shit am I going to have to face because of this kind of prejudice, I wonder? It's a whole, new, ugly world to me.
The more you worry about it, the worse it becomes. I went through a period just after ds started school - my mum died suddenly, dh was made redundant, crippling depression, etc etc etc it was bloody awful. I gave up bothering trying to be friendly and just closed myself off - I'm shy to start with.
One sunny day it just seemed to lift - I had eventually got a new job that I really liked (after working in a shit hole and being made redundant), ds was doing really well in school, dh was less stressed... I was crossing the road feeling quite happy and one of the alpha moms was crossing the other way. I shot a smile and she hesitated and smiled back. Ok so we aren't bosom buddies, but I get a civil 'hi' and a snmile. I may not be 'her kind of people' but I don't want to be.
As long as people aren't horrible, and ds has some playdates with sime nice kids, I fee like I'm winning.
It's hard to say whether this is a race issue, particularly if the school is fairly multicultural.
As other posters have said, it might be an awkwardness issue. I am mixed black/white and look mixed and not much like my mum. She is blonde, blue eyes, classic English rose and I am about 5 inches taller. She used to get asked to her face if I was adopted, whose child she was looking after, why she had a 'black' child and worse.
Now I have DS whose dad is white. DS looks very much like me facially but skin and hair are completely caucasian, and at nursery I've had odd reactions from other mums who have 'met' DS previously but not me - they clam up out of confusion - these are black, white, Indian, European parents, not just caucasian.
My policy is to learn their kids' names and go, "Oh you're X's mum aren't you - they get on really well. I'm X's mum." Luckily DS is pretty sociable so does half the work for me!
Good luck to you - it's not what we'd have, but it's what we've got and what we have is amazing, mixed kids who will be part of the movement towards a more multicultural society. she said cheesily
Totally understand your viewpoint... I've been asked if I am the nanny. My children are half Welsh/ white and half Bengali (my side). They are gorgeous and very proud of their dual heritage and I am the best person (no, I am the ONLY person) qualified to be their mum. Do not let anyone make you feel inadequate and please don't let their short comings become your problem. Introduce yourself to some of the mums and dads, it could be they are genuinely unsure of your role... Break the ice with something like "I'm so and sos mum, but some people mistake me for the hired help" and laugh loudly. They'll be so relieved that you said it first, they will immediately relax. Best of luck, and feel free to PM me as it sounds like have had very similar experiences.
Of course they won't be better off without you! My DH is Indian (i'm white) and we've taught our DD to be proud of the fact her mummy and daddy look different but love eachother so much we created a stunning littlle olive skinned girl (despite being 11 years old, my daughter looks like Nicole Scherzinger ). Do you encorage your children to embrace Bengali culture? Do you eat Bengali food at home? We eat Indian food most nights and DD loves it so much she proudly takes it to school and says the other children eat 'boring' food as they eat their ham sandwiches and she mops up biryani with a chapati! Encourage your children to be proud of their mixed heritage and to be proud of you, we talk to DD about racism and say how silly racist people are! I've been blanked at the school gates too but it is a strange place! When I sign things as Mrs Singh people are often surprised to see I have green eyes and white skin! They just assume I must be Indian to be married to an Indian . My advice is to ignore the racist comments (even it is heartbreaking and difficult to do so!) and encourage your children to be proud of their mixed heritage!
Of course they are not better off without you. If the school is multicultural it is strange you are having this problem. Mind you if you work full time you can avoid all this kind of stuff - nothing worse than doing the school run and socialising with othermothers. Avoid it and pursue your career and these problems will disappear. Feminism as ever has the answer.
It is particularly in cultures where women are treated appalling as in much of the Indian subcontinent it is particularly important work pursue good careers and outearn men.
xenia - do you run and empoyment agency - you are obsessed with bloody work.
Multiculturalism doesn't come from work but rather from PEOPLE.
No and my dm is asian and she is asian whether she works or not- she was not ever treated badly because she was from rich family and also married my english dad who treated her as an equal.
Nothing to do with work - just people.
As I've said to OP - her dkids need her becauses she is their mum. Just as I still my lovely mum.
you all need to see Adult Supervision at the Finsbury Park theatre. It's a comedy about 4 mums with 'mixed' families.
Very funny, very current and very appropriate to this debate.
That was a worrying title!
I struggle to believe this stuff happens (but I do believe you). What is it to them?
as u r in london i find it hard to believe that it is racism.
that's pretty naive!
In an ideal world children need their mum.
In reality, white biracial and multiracial children would be more accepted and fare better in the world with a white parent. This is just reality of things. I've had schools ask that only my child's white father drop him off and pick him up. It's just too shocking and uncomfortable to people for a brown mum to have a white child. Remove mum from the equation and the child has a happy accepted life.
I'm sorry. I've learned my lesson. I've not selfish. My child deserves better than the prejudice I face. My child has an option, a white parent. It killed me and I will spend the rest of my broken hearted days alone but I let my child go to have a better life without the stigma of my presence. White privilege in today's world is more necessary than a brown mother's love.
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