5 Things to Learn from the History of Motherhood

History of Motherhood

I’ve always been told that I was born in the wrong era, but I never agreed. Mainly because there are a lot of great things about our own era. I am a full-time working mom to a hearing impaired multiethinic son. I am thankful that my rights as a mother have come so far, I’m thankful that I could marry outside my racial group, I’m thankful that my son can hear and has an ear thanks to the advancement of technology and medical science. Hell I’m thankful that I was able to give birth thanks to advances in medicine (and an awesome doctor).

But my interest in past eras followed me through college and my degree in History and it is so true that there are always things we can learn from the past.

Here are five things we can learn from history of mothers of past eras:

1. The Outdoors is Good for Kids

My mom tells so many stories of her mother throwing them outside and not coming in until the sun went down. She was not that intense but I definitely did not spend my childhood inside or behind a screen (partly because I never had interest in video games). I played outside, took toys outside, and did sports. More active lives have been proven to benefit our children in the long run.

2. Moms Can Find Joy Inside the Home and Outside

Since the 1800s women in our country worked in and out of the home. While it was once primarily lower classes who worked outside the home this changed over the course of the 20th century. The point being that history has proven you can be a good mom no matter where you spend the hours of 8-5.

3. Convenience is Not Always Best

I know this one is hard especially in our modern world and I’m not saying the drive-thru pharmacy is a bad thing. However, there is too much research to even link here about the long-term dangers of processed foods. That goes double fold for fast food. While I preach everything in moderation the fact that the foods we choose to eat matter can not be exaggerated. Granted the majority of moms in history didn’t even have those options because they didn’t exist, but still they made stuff from scratch and grew their own food or got it locally. The idea of eating something out of season was unimaginable.

4. They Understood the Value of Connection

We live in a world where it is understood and even somewhat acceptable to be socially withdrawn. I’m not saying they weren’t inflicted with anxiety or depression but they often found help in other mothers and the connections they forged. The idea that raising children takes a village was not something new and these mommas understood and embraced it to the fullest. This connection also extended to the connections with their family. They ate dinner together and as small as this may seem it can make a big impact to have a daily connection time with your family.

5. They Didn’t Do Mommy Wars

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying these moms didn’t judge each other, I think women and people in general often judge involuntarily. It is a basic skill that we learn as children to determine if something is safe, we judge. But they didn’t publicly turn on each other. They were mothers and they were on the same side. The rise of social media has fueled more divisiveness because we take things people say personally when they’re not necessarily meant that way.

Before we had our son I thought I’d want to take a year off with our baby and had a working mom friend literally tell me by planning that I was saying what she did as a mother was wrong. In that same breath once we had our son and I did go back to work I had a stay at home mom tell a mutual friend that I went out of my way to intimidate her and make her feel lesser. In reality nothing I thought or did had anything to do with either of these ladies, both of whom I love. But this is the world in which we live and the reality is that it hasn’t always been and we can easily change it for the better.

 

The biggest thing about studying history is that you can learn from what people did right and what they did wrong. I could write an entire blog about learning from moms’ mistakes but let’s learn from the good to make today even better.

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