Life transitions & lifework success : the influence of mother-daughter relationships among women of Eastern European Jewish descent / by Sally D. Gelardin
Bibliography: leaves 199-210
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Although we have information on Jewish mother-daughter relationships, mother-daughter relationships in general, transitions, and lifework success, these concepts have never been linked. In particular, we do not have information on how mother-daughter relationships influence the ability of women of Eastern European Jewish heritage to make transitions so that they can participate fully in their lives. Participatory research was used to explore mother-daughter relationships from an ethnographic perspective. Six women, three pairs of middle-age daughters and their mothers of Eastern European Jewish origin, met with the researcher in two individual 2-hour dialogue sessions. The following procedures were taken: (a) participants were identified and selected, (b) agreements were written to protect the participants, (c) locations and sites for the dialogues were determined, (d) procedures for conducting and analyzing the dialogues were described, (e) questions to guide the dialogue were outlined, (f) participants were described, (g) data was collected, (h) data was documented and analyzed, (i) conclusions were drawn and recommendations for further research were suggested, (j) reflections on the process and themes were presented, (k) researcher's and participants' learnings were summarized. Each participant had an opportunity to interact several times with the study through individual dialogue sessions, review of the written material, and telephone conversations. The participatory process enabled participants to hear their own voices, thereby breaking the silence that was so pervasive in the mother's generation and against which the daughters rebelled. Those mothers who realized that they had been dominated learned to be more independent and those who had been silent gained voice. However, the mothers could not possibly meet all their daughters' expectations—to be successful mothers and career women, as well as successful in their personal development. The daughters realized this as they approached midlife, having all experienced the challenges of balancing their professional and personal lives. In an attempt to accept each other for whom they were rather than whom they wished each other would be, the daughters and mothers maintained ongoing dialogues with each other. This determination to relate to each other was the most important activity that mothers and daughters could pursue to be successful in their lifework.
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