Single Working Mother

Mary-Louise Parker – Nancy Botwin

Because of the family’s financial problems, Nancy has no choice but to get a job so she can support her family’s lifestyle. Now, as we know, Nancy does not have a normal job. She sells marijuana to support her family. This job requires a lot of attention and time away from her two sons. She is out a lot of the day and most nights making new connections, meting suppliers, and selling her products. Since she is a single mother, her kids do not always get the attention that other kids with two parents get. In the American Journal of Community Psychology, they state that “mothers who have experienced more negative life events report more psychological distress” (McLoyd and Wilson 423). We already know that Nancy has gone through so much with the death of her husband and now this job brings so many more negative events in her life. Because of this psychological distress, single mothers tend to “behave in a more contentious and less nurturant and responsive manner toward their children” (McLoyd and Wilson 423).

This is seen throughout the series as Nancy does not always giver her children the attention and motherly advice they need. They do not feel as important to their mother as they need to and that causes a lot of strain on their mother-son relationships. In another study found in the Journal of Youth & Adolescence, they state that “children raised by single-mother families are at an elevated risk for depressive symptoms and disorders,” (Daryanani et al. 214). Because of Nancy’s hectic single working mother lifestyle, Silas and Shane both show signs of depressive symptoms and act in ways to gain the attention of their mother throughout the series.