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Nonresidential Mother

  • By: Diana L. Gustafson
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

The term nonresidential mother refers to a woman who does not reside continuously with her dependent children. This alternative term is receiving more use of late partly because it more accurately reflects the broad range of living arrangements and familial relationships associated with women who live apart from their children. The more common term, noncustodial mother, tends to reduce parent and child to objects of a court decision, and is in some cases inaccurate, such as when the decision is not legally formalized. This term has also been criticized because it characterizes the parent-child relationship as one concerned with property and possession rather than care and commitment.

Another term, absentee mother, is more inclusive of the range of women who make such private or informal arrangements. ...

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