The Coming of Spock: Mothering in the 60’s

“Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do.”  (opening lines from The Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care)

The_Common_Sense_Book_of_Baby_and_Child_Care_(hardcover)

Along Came a Doctor called Spock

His revolutionary tale’s a shock

Instinct was in

Goodbye to the King

and the troublesome Plunket Clock

A change for the better, this still popular book, set out on the premise that Mother knows best.  This approach to parenting gave mothers permission to think for themselves, to “trust themselves”, whilst still providing instructions to cling to.

Second Wave Feminism had arrived, along with The Pill, the right to work and the fight for equal pay.  The ‘no fault’ divorce, and women were demanding the right to be like men.  Now we could be wives and mothers AND everything else.  Women were well educated, and increasingly becoming frustrated with the restrictive and prescribed roles open to them.  They were also frustrated by the limited information they were given access to.  In 1964 six Women Gathered in a Melbourne suburban home.  These women, lead by Mary Paton, formed The Nursing Mothers’ Association (which grew quickly and became the Australian Breastfeeding Association).  By the 70s men were being welcomed into Birthing spaces, twightlight sleep was a thing of the past (epidurals had been invented) and it was all peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll.  The times they were achanging.  Spock’s book was was a much better fit with this revolutionary time.  Household appliances were making light of domestic chores, mother’s could devote more time to their children.  The rise of television was changing culture, and fast.  Parents needed to be more attentive, because society was no longer a uniform monoculture.

poweroffew

Family sizes started to decrease, household incomes increased (but so did spending…so many shiny new things were being invented!) and people were travelling greater distances thanks to the modern transport (plane travel was becoming more accessible, automobiles more common).  Generational influence was decreasing, and peer-support increasing.  We were boldly going we humanity had never gone before.

whenwomengather

Coming up next: The Continuum Concept of the 70’s…the way of the future?

(previous: King of the Babies: Mothering in the 40’s and 50’s)

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