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Sunday, 14 November 2010

Have things really changed since the Seventies?

I was reflecting the other day that my life on a daily basis is not that much different to my late mother's. I have the university education, have read lots on the rights of women and yet, really how much has changed for the majority of mums out there?

Mum stayed at home with her children until they went to school.
I have stayed at home, held part and full-time employed posts and tried to run a business. Some would call that freedom and some would call it having to juggle way too much.

Perhaps unusually, my Dad used to do the school run. In fact, my mum used to lie in bed till after I had left for school drinking the cup of coffee lovingly delivered by my Dad. Dad said it was an arrangement he asked for because she would criticize every move he made otherwise. She was never a morning person.

Him Indoors and I have shared the school runs over the years. However, what is clear is that it is my job to ensure uniform is bought, laundered, dried and placed in neat piles every night for the next morning. It also appears to be my role to check bookbags and fill in forms. However, he does bring me that morning coffee most days.

Mum and Dad both helped me with my homework.
We too share helping with homework playing to our individual strengths.

Mum's treat of the week was when Dad would bring her Woman and Woman's Own magazines.
Him Indoors would probably buy me the wrong magazine and my tastes would be for the glossier magazines. Scarily, Prima and Essentials seem to appeal these days to this Cosmo girl.

Dad never bought Mum flowers until she became very ill in the last three yars. He never bought her a Valentine's card either.

Him Indoors buys me flowers from time to time because he knows better than not to do so. He has always done well on Valentine's Day buying me a card every year and lovely pressies too.

If Mum and Dad were cashy, they would treat themselves to a takeaway.
When we cannot be bothered to cook, we might indulge in a takeaway and I often find myself ordering Mum's favourite of prawn curry.

Mum had a system for housework and cleaned up downstairs every day.
I try to do the same but sometimes I get this little devilish voice inside that screams radical thoughts like, "Why should I? What's the point anyway?" On days like that I get more writing done. As for systems, those who know me will tell you loud and clear that I am not a systems person.

Mum expected me to help with the housework from a young age.
I would like my children to help with chores but they look at me as if it is a form of child abuse if I ask them to tidy their things away.

Mum hoovered, dusted, washed clothes, pegged out and kept all rooms including the kithcen and bathroom spick and span.
I hoover, sweep, wash clothes, peg out and try desperately to keep all rooms decent. I try really hard but dust and other people's mess often overwhelms me.

Dad would only wash, peg out, dust or hoover if mum was poorly.
Him Indoors loves washing and pegging out, hoovers occasionally but has yet to be introduced to a duster.

Mum cleaned the toilet
I clean the toilet
Women throughout the ages seem destined to clean the toilet.

Mum would get all her jobs done by lunchtime so she could sit down and watch Emmerdale Farm and Dorothy Sleighthome's Farmhouse Kitchen on the telly.
I only get to half past ten in the morning before I am tempted by Mr Schofield and his gang.

Mum had a circle of friends from her neighbourhood and from church. She lived in the same area from birth to the age of 73.
I have moved around the country so I do not have a ready group of friends and have to seek them out proactively. Sometimes this works and sometimes it is an unmitigated disaster leading to me thinking I do not fit in and loneliness.

Mum never wanted to deal with banking and had a credit card that she never used. She only had it because Dad insisted she have one.
I deal with banking because that way we manage to save some money.

Dad did all the DIY jobs in the house.
Him Indoors does all the DIY disasters in the house so I have learned to get a man in.

Mum did all the cooking unless she was ill or away somewhere. Dad and I used to love catering for ourselves on those nights indulging in things she never cooked like pasta dishes.

Mum used to go out with her friends to play bingo.
I stopped playing bingo when I was about twelve and would not put Him Indoors through the trauma of starting again. It is one of the things he disliked about his first wife.

Mum was a frustrated woman I think who had never managed to reach her full potential. So sometimes she would rant. Oh yes, not that much has changed!


  1. Women are women, and there isn't a lot of difference in the hearts of women from one decade to the next. Although our cultures change so much stays the same.

  2. I've been thinking very much along the same lines too. I think we inherited all the jobs our mothers did, but because we were better educated, we added a whole load of new responsibilities to our role, including doing a significant amount of paid work.

    Now I think I probably spread myself too thinly in most of what I do, but it really is difficult to be as good as our mothers and as financially active as our fathers, all at the same time. I think trying to do-it-all is probably a big mistake, I just haven't worked out how to stop trying.

  3. Love the DIY bit! Very true here, though it tends to be more, I've learnt to do it myself! I agree with Karen G. And like Minerva, many women spread themselves too thin nowadays and don't take time for themselves. I'm lucky to have a man who will actually clean the toilet(Amazing, perhaps I could charge people to watch him clean it, lol), although he doesn't clean it as thoroughly as I do. Maybe he needs more practice....