Four Takes on the Mom in Chief

Four successful mothers share their takes on Michelle’s choices.


For generations, The Mommy Wars have largely skipped black women. For most of us, staying at home to raise our children full-time was never a choice. Our families' survival depended on our wages—often earned from nurturing and caring for white families. With the rise of a post-civil rights generation, a critical mass of high-powered black women like the Princeton and Harvard-trained first lady Michelle Obama, have more options than ever. After gaining the educational credentials our mothers and grandmothers could only have dreamed of, many of us have exulted and rejoiced in having the choice to stay at home and raise our own children—a decision celebrated by black stay-at-home mothers' groups like "Mocha Moms."

As Michelle prepares to move to the White House to become "mom in chief," the always racially-charged Mommy Wars have reached new heights. In a joint effort with NPR's daily talk show Tell Me More, The Root has brought together four accomplished mothers—Rebecca Walker, Jolene Ivey, Leslie Morgan Steiner and Anna Perez—to share their takes on Michelle's choices. With viewpoints that are funny, brash and bracing, the four women bring controversial and conflicting perspectives that are sure to spark spirited and downright-heated discussions about Michelle's—and all women's—choices.

Read the essays on The Root, then listen to the writers as they talk with Michel Martin on Tell Me More. (Check your local NPR station for airtimes, or listen to the show online.)


by Jolene Ivey, co-founder of Mocha Moms 

I am thrilled beyond belief for Michelle Obama. Not just because she is black, but because she is making the same choice now that I made for my family. Black at-home moms often face particularly harsh isolation and judgment. Clair Huxtable did it all, but she only had to keep it together 22 minutes a week. Michelle Obama has a chance to create a new template for what a fully functioning African-American family can be.  Read More


by Leslie Morgan Steiner, editor of the anthology Mommy Wars