IJCH 2015 Vol.1(1): 67-70 ISSN: 2382-6177
doi: 10.18178/ijch.2015.1.1.012

Perceptions of Motherhood: Differences among Racial Majority and Minority Women

Ekeoma E. Uzogara
Abstract—Perceptions and experiences of motherhood are important dimensions of women’s lives. However, research has often overlooked the significance of social contexts (e.g. racial minority status or socioeconomic inequality) in how women interpret their experiences as mothers and emotional consequences of not meeting societal expectations of “intensive mothering.” This article compared American racial minority (Nonwhites) and majority groups’ (Whites) appraisals of their effectiveness as mothers, feelings of guilt and worry, and perceptions of whether they outperformed their own mothers’ parenting skills. Using a national survey sample of 581 American mothers (ages 18-68), findings indicated that there were advantages and disadvantages for Whites and Nonwhites. White mothers reported closer relationships with their own mothers and were more apt to emulate her parenting style; however, Nonwhites were more confident in their parenting abilities, expressed less worry and guilt overall, but specifically felt more guilty than Whites about financial obstacles to parenting. Implications of results suggest that Whites — a class-privileged group — may lack some cultural or psychological resources that Nonwhites possess to buffer some of the stress of motherhood.

Index Terms—Intergenerational mothering processes, intersectionality, maternal guilt and worry, race.

Ekeoma E. Uzogara is with the Center for the Education of Women, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48104, USA (e-mail: ekeoma@umich.edu).

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Cite: Ekeoma E. Uzogara, "Perceptions of Motherhood: Differences among Racial Majority and Minority Women," International Journal of Culture and History vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 67-70, 2015.

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