For ex-wives, taking full time responsibility for the children coincides not only with emotional turmoil, but with many added new practical
responsibilities as well. Among the divorced female population, those women who have always worked they are joined by still more who return to, or enter
for the first time, a discriminatory job market.
Custodial mothers also have special problems in regaining a social life. Common sense and all
the studies support the view that it is harder for women, especially non-working mothers with children to construct a social life than it is for their ex-spouses.
The fact of being “trapped” with the children, the nature of their daily life and the special stigmas that are associated with being a woman alone, enforces the difficulty of creating a
satisfactory social life (Roman & Haddad 1978; Luepnitz 1986).
Because she is given
no relief from her parenting responsibilities, the custodial mother’s
difficulties with the children also affect and are affected by her emotional state. Among the feelings that many women experience include feelings of
having failed, ambivalence, both grief and relief, mixed fears and expectations about the future, rejection, loneliness, anxiety, hostility and depression (Hetherington, Cox, & Cox 1978).
Roman M., & Haddad W (1978). The Disposable Parent: The Case For Joint Custody. Holt,
Rinehart & Wiston: New York
Luepnitz D. A.
(1986) A Comparison of Maternal, Paternal, and Joint Custody: Understanding the Varieties of Post-Divorce Family Life. Journal of Divorce. 9(3):1-12.
Hetherington E., Cox M., & Cox R (1978). The Aftermath of Divorce. In Steven and Mathews
(Editors), Mother-Child, Father-Child Relations. National Association for the Education of Young Children: Washington D. C