Pride and Hope, Shame And Blame: How Welfare Mothers in Higher Education Juggle Competing Identities

Marginalized Mothers, Mothering from the Margins

ISBN: 978-1-78756-400-8, eISBN: 978-1-78756-399-5

ISSN: 1529-2126

Publication date: 15 November 2018

Abstract

Student mothers on welfare balance three primary “identities” or “responsibilities”: mothering, being a student, and being a welfare participant. Each role or identity is expected to be an individual’s top priority; however, mothers who participated in my research discuss how some days kids must come first, or their schoolwork needed their primary attention, or welfare requirements demanded it. The women in my research examined their stress and the strain of navigating these various “primary” roles and identities. In this chapter, the author explore how mothers who were marginalized by being poor, being student parents in college, and being on welfare managed this struggle. With so few resources – especially so little time or money – participants discussed the juggling act and identity negotiation that they managed on a near daily basis. Mothers explored how this delicate balancing act sometimes fell apart and resulted in burnout, welfare sanctions, failing or dropping classes, or fights with their kids. How is their mothering affected by this balancing act? This chapter explores the women’s experiences from an intersectional lens, and also from a theoretical frame of how women’s human, social, and cultural capital played a role. The women who were active with the grassroots activism were more clear about their role negotiations, how to balance it, and also felt less alone in their struggle. Finally, the implications of this research for social policies are addressed in the conclusion.

Keywords

Citation

Katz, S. (2018), "Pride and Hope, Shame And Blame: How Welfare Mothers in Higher Education Juggle Competing Identities", Taylor, T. and Bloch, K. (Ed.) Marginalized Mothers, Mothering from the Margins (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 25), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 11-24. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-212620180000025001

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018 Emerald Publishing Limited

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