Being The Mother You Are Told to Be: a Qualitative Analysis on Mothers In Recovery

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Meaderds, Cyntoria Tanay
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Middle Tennessee State University
“Mother” is a socially constructed role that is defined and maintained through social interaction. Expectations to uphold the responsibilities associated with the role of “good mother” are created—alertness, parenting, gendering, nurturing and balancing that are performed, therefore, come to define the institution of motherhood in modern families. This is problematic for women recovering from drug addictions. Ten mothers who are former substance abusers, and who have attended or completed a formal recovery treatment program geared toward mothers completed semi-structured interviews to provide in-depth perception about managing their identity as a mother while battling addiction. This research provides a critical feminist approach to understanding women’s roles as mothers in society from the voices of moms who were not always considered good moms. It suggests that if there is a notion of “good” and “bad” mothers then the possibility of redemption as “good mothers” for drug addicted women will require more programs, education, advocacy for changes in laws and policies, and more accessible resources to reduce the economic and environmental barriers that these women face. It also advocates for programs for mothers in recovery that will effectively empower them to be good moms and encourage the balance of recovery and mothering.