Troubled, troublesome, troubling mothers: The dilemma of difference in women's personal motherhood narratives
Motherhood is under review. What counts as a 'good mother' is receiving attention in both popular and academic contexts (Arendell, 2000; Hays, 1996). The mothers we spoke with are judged not to be 'good' mothers by medical professionals, teachers, friends and family, because they do not have 'good' children. Their children are disorderly, disorganised and disruptive, they have ADHD. We extend current debates to explore these mothers' ransoming to the narrative of 'the way things should be' in terms of Bourdieu's (1990) concepts of habitus, misrecognition and symbolic violence. Importantly, we examine how these women talk back to the cultural narratives that malign and disregard them and their children. They trouble those narratives. However, in speaking out, in being always vigilant to their child's interests, women often find they are considered not only troublesome, but themselves troubled. Rather than hearing them this way, we hear their stories as challenges to the cultural narratives that constrain them. We hear their voices as important activism in reformulating motherhood.
Sociology not elsewhere classified