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I'm Not a Bad Mother – Stories of Mothering-on-the-Edge

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  03 August 2012

Jenny Snowdon*
Affiliation:
University of Waikato, New Zealand
Elmarie Kotzé
Affiliation:
University of Waikato, New Zealand
*
Address for correspondence: Jenny Snowdon, c/o Department of Human Development and Counselling, The University of Waikato, Private Bag 3105, Hamilton 3240, New Zealand. Email: jennysnowdon@hotmail.com
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Abstract

This article is located in the field of custody and day-to-day care, with a focus on experiences of mothering where mothers no longer have everyday care of their children. At the time of writing, tens of thousands of mothers live separately from their children in Aotearoa, New Zealand. However, there is a general perception of rarity associated with non-resident mothers, partly due to their reluctance to speak of loss of custody. In this article, we develop a theoretical discussion around the inside/outside relationships between non-resident mothers and their children that informs therapeutic practice. We argue that mothers who live apart from their children are situated at the edge or periphery of their children's day-to-day lives and experience this as outside the lives of their children. Nevertheless, mothers’ stories speak of qualities of (m)othering that have been born of and nurtured by longstanding and long-term commitment to their children.

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Articles
Copyright
Copyright © The Authors 2012

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