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Vintage Mother Value

Much, if not all, of  work performed by mothers, in relation to caring for children and home-duties, is unpaid work.  In a world where money = status, bearing and caring for children is at the bottom of the pile.   I believe in the value of Motherhood as a chosen occupation or otherwise; however today’s society doesn’t.

Fifty odd years ago, although not idealistic for women, was a time when mothering was valued; it was important.   I’m under no illusions of the difficulties women faced in the 1950’s.  Just read the list in the 1954 Home Economics High School Text Book titled, How to Be a Good Wife. Today, this list may seem unachievable and downright degrading; however, when read in context with the expectation of the time, it doesn’t seem so shocking; kidna nice actually. In saying that, I wouldn’t like to go back to that time period. Instead, I’m highlighting the high value society (1950) placed on homemaking and the power a woman has to create atmosphere for her family; so much so, it was taught in school. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the same value for mothers without the expectation; to have a variety of choice without the pressure? Wouldn’t it be nice to have the best of both worlds?

It’s 2010, not the 1950’s. Roles of women and men are intermixed. Our world is fast paced and ridiculously full of stuff.  Material things are made to break, not last. We replace everything and throw out everything else.  We feel embarrassed when we say, “I’m a Mum.”  For a better response we say, “I’m a Mum but I used to be a nurse,” or “I’m a Mum but I’m working part time,” or “I’m a working Mum.” Just being one thing isn’t enough; women are pressured to ‘have it all’ in order to be valued by society.  The societal contrast between the 1950 and today is dramatic.

(I obtained data from the Australia Bureau of Statistics and various journal articles.)

When comparing the two time periods, it’s obvious the 1950 model of living was far kinder to society in general.  But really, I don’t think going back is realistic; I prefer to strive for an in-between. I like to call it Vintage Mother Value.  This is my goal.

This is not a post about working mother verses stay-at-home mothers or anywhere in-between. This is a post about valuing motherhood; valuing the essence of a woman: the heart of a family. If we could recapture 1950 value without losing modern choice, it would be a very wonderful thing.

12 Comments

  • Reply
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    May 13, 2010 at 8:53 pm

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  • Reply
    Ash
    May 13, 2010 at 9:37 pm

    Fabulous pics! 🙂 There’s so much to think about it in this post, Thank-you! x

  • Reply
    Christine Bunn
    May 13, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    I totally agree Kelly. I have struggled with this issue as I have been a stay at home Mum for the last 9 years. I have always felt that I had to be seen to be doing something more, ‘worthwhile’ to be valued. I have struggled with feelings of guilt to finally reaching a level of peace with the choice my husband and I have made for our family. I believe you should do what ever suits your family and be confident in that choice no matter how society may make you feel. Now the children are getting older I am questioned on a regular basis,”when are you going back to work?” Home makers and working Mum’s are terribly undervalued and I think it is up to us to change that attitude. I believe motherhood is the most important job we as women could and will ever do. God bless all Mum’s.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      May 15, 2010 at 9:25 am

      I’m so glad you have peace about what you are doing. As you say, it’s finding what is right for your family. And you have!

  • Reply
    Wendy Francis
    May 13, 2010 at 10:49 pm

    EVERY mother is a working mother – thank you for the reminder Kel

  • Reply
    Alexis @ finding prose
    May 14, 2010 at 9:00 am

    This is awesome! Loved the pictures, the words and the message!
    My name us Alexis and I’m a Mom!

  • Reply
    Julie
    May 15, 2010 at 10:13 am

    Thanks Kelly. I think I am very blessed to be surrounded by a husband and many close friends who are totally supportive of full-time mothering. (I know your husband is totally supportive too!). I feel I am valued in my role as a mother and don’t really need another “identity”.

    The pressure to return to work (for me) comes more from “keeping up with the Joneses”, though I hate to admit this. The cost of housing, in particular and pretty much everything really, seems to be based on the assumption of two incomes per family. I think in a way, women have dug themselves a bit of a hole, where now many of us “need” to work to pay for the normal things of life (mortgage, food, medical costs etc – I don’t mean an extravagant lifestyle). I don’t know how many women I know who would prefer to be at home, but feel “trapped” by having to work… This is a sad by-product of what is mostly a great thing for women – being a valued part of the out-of-home workforce.

    • Reply
      Kelly Be A Fun Mum
      May 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

      I love the points raised here Julie. It’s true, the lifestyle we live today has us living at such a high cost leaving so many women with little choice in relatin to work. It’s interesting, for you ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ was a pressure but for me it was more about feeling worthwhile. My husband absolutely supports me – and loves me being at home, and also happy for me to persue my other interests too. But somehow, I always felt like I had to prove something. Overtime I’ve let go of that (through God’s help).

      This post was less about working (we bloggers work quite a few hours lol) and more about value. I just would love to see value for women being the hub of the family (working or not). I think being a paid Nanny has more significance to society than being a Mother… hmmmm, interesting. It would be a nice thing to re capture.

      I loved this contribution Julie. Thank you.

  • Reply
    Mothers Doing What Mothers Do: Connect2Mums AusMumpreneur Conference : Be A Fun Mum
    September 20, 2010 at 1:52 pm

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