Working Her Out: Mother and Daugher In-Law Relationships and the Family Farm Business
This paper is based on a qualitative study of the relationships between mother and daughters in law who are currently living, or who have lived on family farms in South Australia and Western Australia. Methodologically the analysis is based on rich material gleaned from records of interviews, emails, letters, poetry and workshops. The participants were asked to tell their stories about their mother – daughter in law relationships and how these relationships spilled over into and influenced every day life. By focusing on these relationships the women talked about experiences that were extraordinary and exceptional for not only do they shape the individual’s perception of self, but they also they had a bearing on and influenced family dynamics and the construction of social and labour relations within the family farm system. The research demonstrated that the capacity of family members to accept newcomers, in this case the daughter in law, is stimulated through the acceptance of values and the combined respect and trust of each other’s right to express new ideas, goals and visions they have for life in general and more specifically, the family farm business.
Keywords: Relationship, Boundaries, Self-esteem, Power and Control
Dr. Karen Cosgrove
PhD Student, Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Adelaide
Project Management and Facilitation, Team of Two Consultants, Team of Two Consultants
She has held a number of positions on boards within the Limestone Coast region, including Regional Farmbis Coordinator and member of the Limestone Coast Regional Tourism Marketing Committee, Limestone Coast Youth Leadership Board and for South Australia on the Rural Financial counseling Service of South Australia.
Abi believes that sustainable and prosperous agriculture is not just dependant on economic factors but intrinsically tied to environmental and social factors. She also believes that family relationships along with succession planning are critical to the long term stability and sustainability of the family farm business.