SOSC Lecture #1
Jan 16 2014
The making of modern motherhood: Ideologies and practices of ‘good’ motherhood from the
1800s to the present
1) Mothering vs. Motherhood
2) The invention of Motherhood: From agriculture to Urbanization
3) WW2 and Beyond: The Privatization of Motherhood as Full-Time Mothering
4) 1990s and Beyond: Intensive Mothering: Emerging from Neo-Liberalism and as a Backlash to
• Mothering is culturally produced.
• Mothers are made to be this way, socialized to be this way
• Rich distinguish the difference between mothering and motherhood
• Rich: Motherhood demands mothers to live their life, not be limited to children only.
• But they also say there are other ways to mother
• Motherhood tells mothers how to mother and mothering is raising children
• Feminists critique motherhood, not mothering or mothers
• How is the institution of motherhood created?
• It has changed throughout history. Motherhood today and in the past and future are
• What causes the change?
• Motherhood changes as a result of significant social, economic, culture change upheaval
• 4 times in history motherhood has changed
• transaction (5000 B.C) when society went from hunting and gathering to agriculture
• First time, from agriculture society to Industrial revolution. 18 Century
• Second time, World War 2. Economy of war to economy of peace
• Third time, 1990s. Change in economics, rise of neo-Liberalism. Not that obvious of a
change but still significant
• Fourth time, crash of 2008. Economic change, economic upheaval
• Good mother in 1700s, agriculture time.
• What would her time be spent doing?
• She had far more important things to do than raise children
• Her day would be busy doing economic labour. Productive labour in her home.
• Have between 8-14 children
• Whos minding the children?
• Well children would be doing work too, age relevant but would still be working
• Children would be little workers on the farms.
• Children were an economic asset, today children are an economic liability
• The parents would love their children but their expectations would be different • Children were seen as evil beings who were made to be good.
• Children were seen as little adults
• Back to who was watching the children....
• Babies would be hanging from trees, coming from the lullaby, “.... baby on the tree top...”
• Today if a baby was tied on a tree people would call the police, but back then it was seen
as good mothering
• Safety on the farm, stop the children from hurting themselves.
• Second method would be wet nursing. Where a mother OTHER than the biological
mother would breast feed the baby
• The biological mother couldn’t breast feed cause she was busy running the farm so it
was someone else.
• Usually a woman whose job it was to breast feed a baby. The village breast feeders
• The feeders would be poor women, not in the best conditions. So the feeder wouldn’t
have much to each themselves.
• Some babies would die from illness, but the biological mother had no choice.
• Industrial revolution mothers
• Middle class families.
• Men would go to cities to work.
• But why didn’t the female go to the male and work?
• She couldn’t. It was the Law. Women couldn’t have a post secondary education. And
women could not have a job.
• Women were not seen as equal to work and the law made it so
• Now Motherhood was the job. It was invented in the 19 century
• Now mothers were suppose to take care of children since motherhood told them to
• These women would not be taking the “hard” work of mothering. Servants would do that,
even for middle class because servants were cheap.
• A nurse maid wou