Mother’s Little Helper

A couple of days ago we were driving to Target to get some baby products.  I am becoming a fan of Target, BTW.  When I was pregnant, I tried out all sorts of venues, but at the end bought the best maternity wear from Target and Old Navy.  Both stores rock when it comes to cute and inexpensive baby wear.  Plus they have jumbo packs of diapers and baby wipes at Target. 

We were listening to IPod on the way to Target, and the above-referenced song came up.

What Rolling Stones meant to do is to expose the hypocrisy of your average respected middle class suburban adults – a dreaded demographic.  Kids, you see, are not the only ones getting high.  Some feminists would add a line about the mundane of married life.  After all, a self-respecting feminist would not marry unless any vow to spend the rest of her life with one man would mean anything more then sharing their twilight years.

Regardless, when I heard Mother’s Little Helper I thought: Wow!  How did they do it in the 50s?  Women had five kids, and yet were expected to keep the house clean and have a dinner ready when husband returns from work. 

My 10-week-old overwhelms me completely.  I’m tiered when I get up, I’m dizzy after I feed her; I struggle to find time to walk with her and play with her.  Last week I decided that she’s now old enough to read to her, and so I started reading my books aloud.  This way I get some *time for myself*.  When my husband comes home from work, I *let him* put her to bed and cook dinner for me.

Granted, child-raring expectations were different in the 50s.  No experts advised mother to strap the baby to herself and carry her at all times.  Pediatricians weren’t in the business of telling women to sleep with their babies, allowing them to nurse any time they wake up.  This way a 50s housewife avoided nurturing her newborn into a sleeping problem that would later need to be redressed.  Still, we are talking about the Dr. Spoke era, so mothering was already sufficiently child-centered. 

Granted, cooking was less intensive as well.  If 50s were the era of mass-produced canned food, today’s parents buy organic cook chichi.

Still 50s mothers ran households without servants.  Now a middle class urb- or suburbanite can get a grateful foreigner with an expired visa.  Supporting amnesty for illegal immigrants is a viable option to alleviate guilt.  It can make one popular with other moms.  Unfortunately, once househelp will get all amnestied, she will probably quit working in a demanding new parent household.

The real story of Mother’s Little Helper is not how widespread the pills were, but how limited was their use.


July 23, 2007. Breedosaurus, Random thoughts.

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