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Better in past generations!?

(11 Posts)
annieorangutan Fri 27-Dec-13 16:29:48

My mum and dad married at 20 as did I but she always worked, as did nearly every one of my friends parents of a similar age. I would of said they were the first generation to.

wonderstuff Fri 27-Dec-13 09:06:46

tribpot my great-grandmother was widowed and had 5 children during WW2, nan says she insisted on an indoor bomb shelter (couldn't bare to evacuate), and used to go out to work and ask the local bobby to check in on the children when he did his round. They got some parish relief and wore second hand clothes and shoes. At one point nan got head live and had to have her hair shaved. She was embarrassed by her poverty I think. There's no doubt my mum and nan had a much better life, and I feel my life is better again. My great-nan I think was from quite a wealthy family but married beneath her and was cut off by her family so had no extended family support.

Nan said she worked very hard but it was difficult, all the children went out to work as soon as they could. Strangely she thinks this was better than all these women having children and going on benefits.

JassyRadlett Fri 27-Dec-13 08:46:53

Annie, I'd say your mum was pretty lucky and had a very enlightened upbringing (and a partner who had one too?)

My mother wasn't massively academic and so went on to the low-paid-job, marriage at 22, kids at 24 and stay home with them track. She's since run family businesses, taught herself fabulous computer skills (you should see her on photoshop) but always said she didn't work. I don't think her experience is that uncommon in women of her age - particularly the expectation that women ran the home and raised the children. Goodness knows there is plenty of evidence that women still do the bulk of the housework and childcare in many relationships.

annieorangutan Fri 27-Dec-13 08:14:17

Really flora? I would say life is a lot easier now we have all the luxuries and less hard work. Most men take a hands on role with their children and the home. Back then you couldnt get tired and get a take away or any convenience food or your whole family sit for days on end in their pjs. Im glad I was born in the modern age.

MincedMuffPies Fri 27-Dec-13 08:10:28

My nan is in her 70s and loves how we're becoming more and more equal. When she first got married she couldn't even take out hire purchase products without my grandad and when she wanted her tubes tied her dr made sure my grandad was ok with that and gave his permission first!

tribpot Fri 27-Dec-13 08:04:58

My grandmother also thinks my life is intolerably hard. She had two children born just after the war. My grandfather was a seasonal worker (bricklayer) so was basically out of work every winter. He did literally nothing at home whilst unemployed. So she's there in the middle of rationing raising two kids on virtually no money, no domestic appliances (my uncle used to feed my mum's fingers through the mangle) and a husband sat on his arse doing fuck all.

But she cannot comprehend that my life, as the breadwinner, is not a hundred times worse.

Yet actually I would imagine my circumstances (my DH is disabled and chronically ill) were extremely common after WW2. What did the women whose husbands were too ill to work do in the 1940s and 1950s?

FloraFox Fri 27-Dec-13 07:56:28

Maybe your nan realises that women took on working out of the home but still generally do the majority (if not all) of the childcare and work around the house and family. I agree with her that a lot of women have a really hard time coping with their work and home responsibilities. I'm not sure what your nan's solution is. I think men have to pull their weight at home much more than they currently do.

annieorangutan Fri 27-Dec-13 05:03:27

I can see why your nan thinks like that as it was different then but surprised by jassys mum who is only 60. My mum is nearly 60 and has had a fantastic career and complete equality in the home.

JassyRadlett Fri 27-Dec-13 00:31:33


Meanwhile my mum (60) is becoming more feminist as she ages and quite accurately pinpoints how her entire future was strongly influenced by societal expectations. Which she sort of resents.

Says she's envious of me with equal home/parenting partnership with DH, equal importance placed on our careers, etc.

Anniegetyourgun Fri 27-Dec-13 00:24:49

So she gave up one job to have children, and then got two jobs? Yes, sounds much less demanding hmm

I'm guessing all that hard work, sorry, not work, er, whatever it was, wore out her logic circuits.

wonderstuff Fri 27-Dec-13 00:04:56

Wisdom of my nan, told me today how she was so glad there was no expectation of being a working mum in the 50s, she gave up nursing to have four children, go to the newsagents to sort the papers out at 5am, go home, do the school run, look after the baby and then when her husband came home she went to do the evening shift at the chocolate factory.

She genuinely feels sorry for me, having a career. Also told me how having kids young is harder for blokes, who have careers to think about.

I blame The Fail.

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