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mother in laws in the 50's

(25 Posts)
3boys Thu 11-Feb-21 10:26:58

Can anyone recall what sort of issues might mothers and mother in laws disagree about regarding raising a baby?
Something a young mum in the 40-50s would do that the generation before would not do or object to. I'm writing about relationships in a novel and want to try and get the feel of the time right and what it was like to be a young mum/daughter in law back then. Many thanks.

Nannarose Thu 11-Feb-21 10:35:26

My mum got on very well with her m-i-l, who shared her ideals that women should be educated and make their own way in the world. My mum applied for a job, with my m-i-l offering to care for me just 2 hours in the afternoon, so my mum could 'keep her hand in', but the office turned her down as they thought mothers of pre-school children should be at home (they knew because it was a very small community!)
I do know though that my m-i-l liked to see me 'nicely turned out', which I was for Sunday best, but my mum used to make me shorts so that I could climb trees and my m-i-l didn't like that. Neither did she like the 'romper suit' sent by my mum's best friend from the US. We would describe it more as a miniature track suit, in stretch fabric. although this was sent when I was only one, I still have it - after my sister had finished wearing it, I put it on my teddy bear who is still with me!

grandtanteJE65 Thu 11-Feb-21 10:43:55

I was born in !951 and my grandmothers objected to little girls wearing slacks, so we had to wear dresses when they visited us.

They heartily disapproved of the fact that if we were told not to do something, we could ask, "Why not?" if we asked out of interest and not about something that we already knew we shouldn't do.

They were quoted as having said that a crying baby should be left to cry, "It will strengthen her lungs."

keepingquiet Thu 11-Feb-21 12:32:45

I was born in late 50s. My grandmothers were very different people. Both were religious in very different ways (religion was more of an influence in those days). My maternal grandma was very supportive of my mum and helped her give birth. My mum's MIL was a very strict austere and matriarchal woman - really proud even though they were poor. She wasn't kind to my mum and made out my dad had married beneath him. Conversations would have been minimal-my mum's MIL always thought we were scruffy and not well groomed. We found her a bit scary. Not sure if that helps.

sodapop Thu 11-Feb-21 13:07:00

I seem to remember Grandmothers being more of a matriarch figure than hands on in the 40s and 50s.
I agree with keepingquiet religion was a big influence then and not always a good one. I have said on here before that my maternal grandmother would have nothing to do with me because I was illegitimate and adopted. I had an Aunt who wanted to be a missionary but again would have nothing to do with me, different times.

Visgir1 Thu 11-Feb-21 13:19:58

I'm a 50's baby. My Dad's mum told my mum when I was born that she would have given me £1 if I had been a boy not 10 bob she gave me.

annodomini Thu 11-Feb-21 13:39:56

My paternal GM, who had risen from humble circumstances and 'married well', thought that my dad had married beneath him (he really hadn't!) and I don't think they were ever on friendly terms, although there were no complaints when she came to stay with us. It was like Queen Victoria making a visit to her subjects! Luckily she lived on the opposite side of Scotland. She was a matriarch and carried out a voluminous correspondence with various relatives across the globe- she was one of seven sisters and had numerous nieces and nephews.

Deedaa Thu 11-Feb-21 15:24:29

My father's mother was quite old - he was the youngest of ten children. She never went out so we used to visit her on a Sunday. If my father and I went we used to leave in time to get home for lunch. After a few years my mother started coming with us and Gran asked what was happening about Sunday lunch. My mother said it was fine because we were eating it it the evening now. Gran's response was "Hmph you keep a funny house!" Our funny house became a permanent family joke.

AGAA4 Thu 11-Feb-21 15:35:54

I was born in the 40's and my Grandma believed "children should be seen and not heard". This idea was not taken up by my own mother who did allow us to speak.
I know this is not quite what the OP asked for but it does give some idea of how rigid the Victorian generation could be.
My Grandma was born in the 1890's and my mum in 1920 so she was a young mum in the 40's.

Redhead56 Thu 11-Feb-21 15:39:48

We lived with my paternal gran she was a cold and hard woman. I remember she would stand over my mum in her apron. To make sure my mum was scrubbing the steps outside the house properly. What a contrast my maternal gran was kind and always had a homemade cake on her little table waiting for our arrival.

Tangerine Thu 11-Feb-21 15:44:01

My mother got on well with both her mother and mother-in-law.

They were both very good Grandmothers to me but times were different. They didn't play with me or get very involved but they always asked how I was getting on at school. When I went to work, they were interested in my progress.

They were very nice ladies but wouldn't fit in with today's society. I don't think they probably approved of working mothers. They never in their lives wore trousers or approved of women wearing trousers.

They couldn't help having what I'd call old-fashioned ideas; it was the times in which they lived.

sodapop Thu 11-Feb-21 17:23:01

AGAA4 My mother was born in 1896 wonder what she would make of things in 2021 ?
Doesn't seem possible all that time has gone by,

oodles Thu 11-Feb-21 17:34:18

they would want the baby baptised even if parents were not religious
I remember an elderly lady when I had my children who said that when she had hers she was not allowed out of bed for about ten days after birth, and then when she did get up she was so weak [so it was sensible to keep in bed obviouisly]
Another older lady said that she wanted for her 4th baby to have a hospital birth, but the midwife said she didn't need one, she had a nice house and was perfectly healthy
Another older lady said she had so much milk she was able to express for all the babies whose mum's milk hadn;t come in yet, bottle feeding was disapproved of by many, I know my grandmother didn't believe in bottlefeeding

oodles Thu 11-Feb-21 17:35:18

And potty training, the earlier the better, and actually being pregnant in public lol

welbeck Thu 11-Feb-21 17:50:28

OP you could read about bill oddie's family history.
alo the tv, who do you think you are.
and he has written about it.
before he was born, he only found out about it from the programme, his mother was a young wife, living with stern MIL, husband away at war.
very young baby was crying and M wanted to go to her.
MIL strictly forbade her to do so. M felt compelled to obey, in MIL house, she knew about babies etc
when she finally could go, baby was dead.
later M was committed to an asylum, never was right.

Deedaa Thu 11-Feb-21 23:32:33

welbeck I remember hearing him talking about this. Absolutely tragic, how could you ever recover from it?

V3ra Thu 11-Feb-21 23:52:56

I was born in 1957.
My paternal Granny apparently used to pass comment about how she'd never cuddled her babies.
My Mum used to say that explained a lot!

Kim19 Fri 12-Feb-21 00:11:02

I always remember it being something like a mini state visit when we visited MiL. Her house, her rules and pretty formal. However I afforded her the respect she was due in that she did raise one terrific son. He cared for her and that was good enough for me. Give her her due, she coped with our more relaxed ways when she visited us and, even though I could sometimes detect disapproval, she said nothing. I have good thoughts of her memory-wise.

welbeck Fri 12-Feb-21 00:19:26

yes, there was certainly a view that you must do the necessary tasks re babies in a detached way, otherwise you would spoil them.
and that would have continued into children should be seen and not heard.
it wasn't just around babies and children; remember the idea that it was soft or weak to show any emotion.
the prized goal was to be unmoved, calm, sensible.
a friend of mine who was born in 1901 said she told her young children, the oldest was 5, that it was no good them getting into scrapes and having accidents because she knew nothing about first aid. all she could do was to find a telephone and call for an ambulance.
i asked how they reacted. she said, they didn't have any accidents, they knew not to.
well, it's an approach.

BrightandBreezy Fri 12-Feb-21 00:19:34

Born 1952. Mother couldn't take me to granny's house until I was Christened.
Older women [don't know who] told her she would 'spoil' the baby if she picked her up when she cried. She ignored this.
Told to stick strictly to four hourly feeds. Feeding a little baby just because it was hungry was apparently spoiling and 'making a rod for your own back'

Awful really. Glad she didn't take any notice but the advice from older women was of its time.

JackyB Fri 12-Feb-21 08:07:33

Not quite the same generation but my neighbours Mum dressed our playmates sometimes in black lithes. My mother didn't like that and thought black was unsuitable for children (around 1960). This was probably a relic from her mother's generation.

Humbertbear Fri 12-Feb-21 08:46:43

When my mother was in hospital having a baby in 1953, her MiL rearranged all the kitchen cupboards. She also used to criticise my clothes and my hair. My sister was 6 years older so I used to like to copy her. She put my hair into a bun for ma (I was about 7) and my grandmother made rude comments about it in front of the whole family.

sodapop Fri 12-Feb-21 09:07:48

I remember that women had to be 'churched' after childbirth before they could go out and about. I agree Welbeck about the detachment from babies, much more of a strict routine was imposed for feeding and sleep etc.

oodles Wed 17-Feb-21 12:39:36

Back to being baptised, just remembered something an older lady saying that she had been baptised in her parish church because it was said that if you hadn't been baptised you couldn't get married there and in those days many people wanted to be marriedin church

Chardy Wed 17-Feb-21 13:17:19

My mum was an only child, born in 1920s. I'm a 50s baby. Her mum was a bitter woman, the money was spent on her brother's education, though she was clearly much smarter than him. I was her 1st grandchild, and she adored me and I her. I think that possibly created a rift between me and my mum.
My mother and her MiL had little to do with each other, they went through the motions when they did meet. Dad would visit his parents after work every week, and ring every day. We'd be taken over to see them in the holidays, mum would never come. Mum's family were middle-class, owned their own suburban semi. Dad's family were skilled working-class and lived in the same rented 2up 2down in South London for 40 years. My gran never criticised my mum ever to the best of my knowledge.