Mothering in multicultural context: experiences of Filipino immigrant mothers in Calgary

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Both mothering and culture are recognized within psychology as playing important, sometimes crucial roles in psychological and social development, and are thus important areas of research. This project uses a discursive approach to examine how Filipino immigrant mothers to Canada approach and negotiate their experience of raising Canadian children: how do they talk about culture and motherhood? How do they position themselves in relation to their Filipino heritage and to the host Canadian culture? From which cultural resources and mothering ideologies do they draw, and how do they use or resist these resources and ideologies through their use of language? Eleven Filipino immigrant mothers volunteered to participate in five separate conversation sessions during which we talked about culture and mothering. The conversations were then audiotaped and transcribed for discursive analysis. I identify and discuss two broad issues that emerged in our conversations. Firstly, whatever the topic of discussion happened to be, an important concern of the mothers was to take up and justify subject positions with regard to 'good' mothering. Further, in attempts to resolve the tension between versions of the 'good' mother, the participant mothers oriented themselves to questions of presence and absence: does a 'good' mother have to be physically present to her children? Can physical absence from one's children be constructed as consistent with being a 'good' mother? Secondly, the importance of honouring both host and heritage cultures was evident in our conversations, particularly at moments when approval or censure of either culture were expressed. Participant mothers were careful not to be so loyal to Filipino heritage as to appear ungrateful to Canada, or so grateful to Canada as to betray Filipino heritage. Ways in which the current project arises from, contributes to, and extends existing literature on culture and mothering are discussed.
Bibliography: p. 140-153
Hertzsprung, E. A. (2004). Mothering in multicultural context: experiences of Filipino immigrant mothers in Calgary (Doctoral thesis, University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada). Retrieved from doi:10.11575/PRISM/20126