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"The Guilt Thing": Balancing Individual Needs and Domestic Social Roles
Unformatted Document Text:  31 This paper has examined the socialized gender identities raised in the everyday discourse practices of women. In particular, I have focused on the subject-position of the ’good mother’ and other domestic roles. The ’good’ mother is a social construct that is ‘deeply embedded in women's lives’ (Holmes, 1997: 207). The 'good mother' is someone who has recognizable qualities and, as was shown in the analysis above, can be seen to show many aspects of mothering within her discourse practices: she is ‘the protective mother’, ‘the responsible mother’,’ the concerned mother’, ‘the caring mother’ and ‘the organized mother’. The 'good mother' discursively presents herself as caring for and protecting her children and most importantly putting her children's needs before her own. Further, as shown above, women often compete for social capital, by discursively attempting to prove that they are efficient domestic managers and by inference ‘good mothers’. In contrast to the positive identity of the ‘good mother’, one of the school group mothers (Cathy) verbally admits to the negative role of the ‘inadequate mother’. While this is a role that could be said to offer a challenge to the subject-position of the 'good mother', Cathy’s verbal play does mark awareness that the identity of the ‘good mother’ is the dominant subject-position within the women’s conversations. Cathy knows the 'good mother' is the 'acceptable' ideal within their group discussions and her verbal play diffuses the potential face threat involved in not meeting all aspects of this ideal. The teachers also offer some discursive resistance to the subject-position of the 'good mother', they admit to having problems with their children, and jointly construct cultural scripts that present the management of domestic tasks as difficult and stressful. The guilt that results from the tension of balancing these conflicting roles is a frequent

Authors: Guendouzi, Jacqueline.
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31
This paper has examined the socialized gender identities raised in the everyday
discourse practices of women. In particular, I have focused on the subject-position of the
’good mother’ and other domestic roles. The ’good’ mother is a social construct that is
‘deeply embedded in women's lives’ (Holmes, 1997: 207). The 'good mother' is someone
who has recognizable qualities and, as was shown in the analysis above, can be seen to
show many aspects of mothering within her discourse practices: she is ‘the protective
mother’, ‘the responsible mother’,’ the concerned mother’, ‘the caring mother’ and ‘the
organized mother’. The 'good mother' discursively presents herself as caring for and
protecting her children and most importantly putting her children's needs before her own.
Further, as shown above, women often compete for social capital, by discursively
attempting to prove that they are efficient domestic managers and by inference ‘good
mothers’. In contrast to the positive identity of the ‘good mother’, one of the school
group mothers (Cathy) verbally admits to the negative role of the ‘inadequate mother’.
While this is a role that could be said to offer a challenge to the subject-position of the
'good mother', Cathy’s verbal play does mark awareness that the identity of the ‘good
mother’ is the dominant subject-position within the women’s conversations. Cathy
knows the 'good mother' is the 'acceptable' ideal within their group discussions and her
verbal play diffuses the potential face threat involved in not meeting all aspects of this
ideal.
The teachers also offer some discursive resistance to the subject-position of the
'good mother', they admit to having problems with their children, and jointly construct
cultural scripts that present the management of domestic tasks as difficult and stressful.
The guilt that results from the tension of balancing these conflicting roles is a frequent


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