This article interrogates how employees at single-mother associations in Morocco construct the mère célibataire (single mother) as an archetypal, aspirational figure. Based on two years of ethnographic fieldwork (2013–15), this article traces how counselors work with single mothers to imagine alternative maternal futures. I argue that by invoking a counternarrative I call “aspirational maternalism,” single-mother advocates disrupt traditional maternalist rhetoric that excludes single women. Aspirational maternalism draws on moral discourses and neoliberal values of independence and responsibility. Through its deployment, counselors create affective space for single mothers to think beyond pathologizing portrayals of single motherhood in Morocco. Counselors also disrupt the neoliberal focus on calculated, self-interested action by centering “the mother-child couple” within aspirational maternalism. The ideal-typical Mère Célibataire is capable of achieving the transformation from victim to self-sovereign mother. And yet, aspirational maternalism elides the significant structural obstacles to independence that single mothers face.

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