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Constructing Motherhood and Daughterhood Across the Lifespan

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Edited By Allison M. Alford and Michelle Miller-Day

Constructing Motherhood and Daughterhood Across the Lifespan explores the complex dynamics between mother and daughter over the lifespan. The editors believe that these vital family roles are socially and communicatively constructed, shaped, and molded as mothers and daughters navigate, respond to, and negotiate cultural and familial discourses. Aimed at undergraduate students, this timely book includes course activities and discussion questions in every chapter and a complete term syllabus to enhance a professor’s teaching, providing a smooth route for adoption as a course text. The book also builds on and contributes to the critical and theoretical research in family communication, media studies, and gender studies, delving into the nuanced communication surrounding motherhood and daughterhood in the United States.

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Chapter Five: Memorable Moments: Turning Points in the Mother-Daughter Relationship from Childhood to Mid-Life (Michelle Miller-Day)

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CHAPTER FIVE

Memorable Moments

Turning Points in the Mother-Daughter Relationship from Childhood to Mid-Life

MICHELLE MILLER-DAY*



Thinking back through my lifetime and the memories I have of my relationship with my mother, I can point to a handful of memorable moments that either increased or decreased my experience of intimacy in the relationship. One of my earliest memories of a memorable moment in our relationship is the time when I was five-years-old and I burned my hand on our stove. My mother was angry with me. I had expected her to care for me, comfort me, and sympathize with my pain. Instead, exhausted from spending the past week sitting by my brother’s bed in the hospital, her temper was short, and the last thing she wanted was to deal with another sick or injured child. She yelled at me, bandaged my hand, and made me go to bed. I recall lying awake and crying. Crying in pain, but also self-pity. How could she spend so much time with my brother and then when I get hurt, I get into trouble? Of course, at the age of five I did not understand that my mother was exhausted and feeling stressed about my brother’s illness. In my world, I felt neglected and betrayed. For me, this was memorable, and it decreased my feelings of closeness to my mother.

Memorable moments that occur in our relationships that serve...

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