How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself

                                             YLONDA GAULT CAVINESS

                                             YLONDA GAULT CAVINESS

“We are different—White moms and me. Very different. More or less kindred as women, but as mothers we are disparate souls. Snaps and cusses of Twitter-trending ‘Stuff Black moms say’ don’t even scratch the surface.” —from Child, Please

Ylonda Gault Caviness, celebrated authorof CHLD, PLEASE: How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself,  was raisedin Buffalo (French Street and Rounds Avenue) on P-Funk and chicken wings by a mama whose “expert” advice was a beat-down glare and five simple words: Don’t. Make. Me. Hurt. You. 

CHILD, PLEASE adds a bold and refreshing new voice to the parenting conversation from an African-American perspective.  Foregoing the politically correct safe zone, Caviness reveals the hard and fast rules of being Black in America, including the unique and sometimes jarring set of expectations and goals under which Black parents operate.

In this wise and funny memoir, Caviness describes her journey to the realization that all the parenting advice she was obsessively devouring as a new parent ( living in an affluent, liberal enclave near New York City and sharing with the world as a “parenting expert” on NPR, Today, in Essence, and elsewhere) didn’t mean scratch compared to her mama’s old school wisdom as a strong Black woman and mother. Caviness’ fantastic narrative is the perfect tribute to the wit, wisdom, and attitude of the women who raise us.

“I conclude in the end that despite my education and national bylines, mama was right about motherhood all along,” notes Ylonda.”  After all, you don’t need an expert when you have such old school wisdom as, “Act like you got some sense!”

Ylonda Gault Caviness, who attendedMt. St. Joseph Academy in Buffalo, is aformer senior producer at iVillage’s Parenting and Pregnancy channel—the largest women’s website with 37 million monthly views — has been a parenting journalist for over a decade. She is an Op-Ed Contributor to The New York Times, and a Contributor to Essence Redbook, Latina, Parenting   & Working Mother among other publications. Caviness has appeared on NPR’s “The Takeaway” and NBC’s “Today” to discuss topics in the news that affect women and families. A Graduate of Northwestern University, she is currently a resident of Montclair, New Jerseyand mother to “three of the coolest human beings on the planet.”  


 How Mama’s Old-School Lessons Helped Me Check Myself Before I Wrecked Myself By Ylonda Gault Caviness  ISBN-13: 9780399169960, $25.95  Tarcher/Penguin Random House Hardcover