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Then and Now

(37 Posts)
apricot Mon 19-Sep-11 20:52:29

My daughter has a young baby plus toddler and said she's dried all the washing in the tumble drier since baby was born because she hasn't got time to hang it out.Toddler is at nursery 4 days a week.
How did I manage with 3 children in 4 years, no drier, no family nearby? I also made most of their clothes and actually ironed everything. I'm not boasting, this was usual 30 years ago, just wondering if there used to be more hours in the day than now.

glassortwo Mon 19-Sep-11 20:59:36

apricot when I brought up my children I did all the things you mentioned, I now have two of my grandchildren from 7am until 6pm Mon to Fri, I also live with my DD so the children are part of my life, but I must say that I dont do alot of the things I managed when i was running my own home, I dont know if its the pace of life now or I am just getting old grin

Notsogrand Mon 19-Sep-11 21:08:14

I had 3 children in 4 years too apricot, 40 odd years ago. Not only no family nearby and no drier, but no washing machine either until oldest child was 7 and youngest 3. All done by hand with a glass and wooden wash board. (I'm only 64, but I was a child bride smile)
I don't wish that regime on the mums of today, but you're right, we must have had longer days then.
Of course, in those days, we didn't have the time-consuming duties of taking little ones to nursery ( and having to collect them again!), keeping up to speed with all our social media comittments and monitoring the forums du jour. (Or is it fora?)
Hardly surprising that given these additional pressures, tumble driers are eating up the electricity essential for parents today. grin

HildaW Mon 19-Sep-11 22:06:55

A headline on a paper the other day was something like 'People too lazy to reduce fuel bills' and they are dead right (for a change). More of us must realize that we are storing up dreadful trouble for the future by not being a bit more frugal with our fuel. I am no zealous environmentalist, I am far too weak willed but I do try to be a bit more careful. I work on the lines that little improvements lead to subtle permanant changes that will hopefully reduce what I use. In all honesty I know I'm a lot better than I was 10 years ago with recycling, fuel consumption, food miles etc etc. Its down to us all to find better ways to live, its our duty for the next lot to come; all those darling Grandchildren we say we adore so much. I get very cross with people who say they cant be bothered to even try recycling or fuel economy because such and such company or organisation dont so why should they?

harrigran Mon 19-Sep-11 22:37:35

I think days must have been twice as long 40+ years ago. I had two children 2 years apart, no washing machine for first child and all terry nappies. I found time to cook every meal from scratch, bake cakes and bread and knit all their clothes because I didn't have the money to buy them.
With my kitchen pulled apart I am having to replay the early years of marriage and wash everything by hand again, not nice after getting used to washer and drier.

greenmossgiel Tue 20-Sep-11 09:23:16

No washing machine until the youngest was 4 - and even then it was an old second-hand thing with a wringer attached (brilliant, actually)! Have always hung washing out to dry and if weather doesn't allow, I hang it on an airer in the boiler cupboard. Like apricot and Notsogrand my children were all born within 4 years of each other. Boiling nappies on top of the cooker, knitting all their jumpers and cutting down jumble-sale finds to make the girls dresses was all part of life in those days. All my friends did the same. Now I'm cutting up old clothes that aren't good enough for the charity shop, into bits to make a rag rug (with the help from HildaW!) smile

Annobel Tue 20-Sep-11 10:01:02

Was I impossibly privileged? I don't think so, but I did marry later than some of you, so had the resources to provide an automatic washing machine, though I didn't have a drier until they had both left home! So it was washing on radiators and a drying rack with an electric heater that my mum passed on to me. We lived near a coal mine, so if the wind was blowing from the wrong direction it wasn't a good idea to put the washing out on the line. The said washing machine was always going wrong and I got to know the Hotpoint man quite well. When I moved, the new Hotpoint man found that the machine had left the factory wired up the wrong way - it never malfunctioned after that.

susiecb Tue 20-Sep-11 10:08:23

I think the biggest boon for mothers but I know the worst thing for the environment is disposable nappies. I spent so much time boiling nappies in a large bucket on top of the cooker (my mother told me it had to be done that way and I didn't have a washing machine only a spin drier) My daughter had awful nappy rash and disposables would have been so much better for us both. How I would have paid for them though I have no idea as there was nothing left in the budget after rent and food.

em Tue 20-Sep-11 10:20:21

My mum went to uni in the late 50's and that was when we had a washing machine - a Hoover twin-tub. When I married in 1969 and moved to London, I used a laundrette for a couple of months but it was so strange that we soon bought an automatic. However we didn't plumb it in to our rented flat and one evening the hose unhooked itself from the edge of the kitchen sink, pumped out all the water and caused a minor flood in the kitchen of the downstairs neighbours! They were a lovely older couple and very understanding! (I've always found it puzzling that everyone in 'Eastenders' uses the laundrette and no-one has a washing machine. Only thing I can think of is that it's dramatic licence and they need the place as part of the set!) I used terry nappies with my first 2 but with the machine it wasn't that big a deal. Always liked to hang them ouside whenever possible.

numberplease Tue 20-Sep-11 14:49:02

When we were first married, in 1963, I used the launderette, a 10 minute bus ride then a walk away, half my washing went to the launderette, the other half I washed by hand, boiling all the water in as kettle because we didn`t have hot wate on tap, then put it through a small wringer that my grandma had given us, then out on the line, in the communal yard, to get to which I had to go down the steps into the cellar then out the back door, took me all afternoon, then what didn`t dry went on a wooden clothes horse in front of the living room fire.
I got my first washing machine in 1967, 2 years after moving into a new house, and by which time we had 3 children. It was a small washing machine, and I had a separate spin dryer, but it seemed sheer luxury after all that hand washing and launderette trailing!

nannysgetpaid Tue 20-Sep-11 15:08:01

These posts bring back so many memories. We managed to buy our first house when we left the army, but with two young sons and me being pregnant had little furniture. Our bed was tied with rope as it sagged in the middle. We had garden chairs to sit on. The only new thing was a carpet in the kitchen. Mum gave us a twin tub washing machine but the bottom fell out of it soaking the new carpet. I remember sitting on the floor crying my eyes out when my husband came home from work (hormones). I too made our children's clothes and made all our food from scratch. My daughter tells me we had more time in those days. She has all mod cons but does not cook much and admits that she has an iron but never uses it.

olliesgran Tue 20-Sep-11 15:38:16

I remember the nappies, I didn't boil them but used "napisan" soaking them in a bucket. Had to rinse them by hand. Driying them was a issue, I lived in Wales at the time, plenty of wind, but no sun! But I must say they were a good incentive to potty train early! I had no family around, coming from france, I had to make new friends, not easy in a small welsh village where everybody has already life long friends and family around. I didn't speak English very well, and in a place where you were a foreigner if you came from the next valley, I felt pretty isolated. Still, didn't seem to have done me any harm!

yogagran Tue 20-Sep-11 15:39:58

It's strange that we all seem to be focusing on the washing, was that perhaps the chore that took the longest? I did washing by hand for the first few years (even the sheets) but had a spin dryer. The sight of a line full of clean nappies blowing in the wind was so satisfying! I still like to see my washing drying on the line.
How about those awful plastic pants that we used to put of DC in. They got all split and hard after a few washes and must have been really uncomfortable. Pretty frilly ones for the girls though smile

greenmossgiel Tue 20-Sep-11 15:51:27

nannysgetpaid, that reminds me of how we were in the very early days as well! We had no cutlery apart form some spoons - and had to eat salad with them, or with our fingers! When I was expecting my last child I had 2 things to wear. A foam-backed pinafore dress and a Bri-nylon dress! (And no WAY would you let your bump be shown like they do now - not that I see anything wrong with it, but it's how it was! smile

nannysgetpaid Tue 20-Sep-11 16:05:35

greenmossgiel I think I had the same pinafore dress as you. Used it for the first three.and yogagran I spent years feeling guilty about those plastic pants, thought it was my washing technique and threw them quietly away. grin

numberplease Tue 20-Sep-11 16:44:00

Must disagree Greenmossgiel, I`d much rather see expectant mums in loose fitting garments than in tight T-shirts and low slung jeans with everything on show.
I know that the emphasis has been on washing, but how about fridges? I got my first fridge in 1966, and we went mad (it was summertime) making iced lollies for the kids! That fridge lasted me till 1982, then was replaced by a fridge freezer with just a smallish freezer at the top, but now of course I have a half and half one, much better. I can still remember buying from day to day before we had a fridge, because we had mice and they ate anything left out, and our food cupboard was a wood effort on legs, they found a crack in the back and in they went!

dorsetpennt Tue 20-Sep-11 17:04:20

When my son was born in 1976 we used terry towelling nappies - with a liner inside to catch poos - these were soaked in Napisan then washed in my new automatic washing machine. Dried on the line outside or draped on a clothes horse near the radiators. One could buy Paddipads disposible nappies but they were really expensive and not very good. When we left for the US in 1978 my son went into Pampers and I thought they were great - my daughter born in l979 always had them. I used to come back for visits with a case full. We also had wipes in the US and I remember bringing these back for me and friends. Now disposible nappies are all sizes,shapes and boy or girls use.
Bottles were made up for a 24 hour period, when used rinsed and stored in a plastic box in a solution of Milton. My DIL says they don't make up bottles like that anymore - make each one as needed and heated in the microwave.

I had a Silver Cross pram - 2nd hand but a beauty with those wonderful springs so when you went off the pavement onto the road it bounced rather then bumped your baby. However, I remember getting one of the early Maclaren buggies and felt such freedom with it as it was so small and folded up like an umbrella. Great for hopping off and on buses and tubes. Now the prams are getting huge again - my DIL's new pram for her toddler and expected baby seems so unwieldly - it's a step backwards.

MaggieP Tue 20-Sep-11 17:16:44

Oh Ollisgran, reading about the nappy buckets and "Napisan" brought back so many memories of my three childrens' early years.
Sounds like the Ark now doesn't it?!

greenmossgiel Tue 20-Sep-11 17:54:16

I remember Paddipads ! The inner side was cotton-wool, and went against the skin. Awful to get off their wee bums! OH -those plastic pants! They were such horrible things and I still feel guilty about putting them on the babies - they must have been so uncomfortable for them. Can anyone remember the Marathon liners? They were supposed to keep the wetness away from the baby's skin so that it went right through to the terry nappy. My daughter (first baby) had the most awful nappy rash, and I had no idea how to deal with it. I think I was scared that I'd done something wrong, perhaps not washed the nappies in the right powder or something...anyway, my parents lived in a farm cottage and my mother obtained a cream from the dairyman that was used for the cows' teats when they got sore. It maybe worked on the teats, but not on my poor little girl's bottom. That's another guilt trip of mine. Maybe I'll start a new thread...sad

Annobel Tue 20-Sep-11 18:35:35

Paddipads gave DS1 nappy rash, so I had to carry terry nappies when we went away anywhere. Once, when I went Christmas shopping, I left Paddipads for ex-H to put on DS if necessary. He left them beside the cot and infant decided to try to eat them. No harm done, no thanks to dad!
Mothercare brought out disposable nappies a bit later which were an improvement but not perfect as they tended to get saturated.

grannyactivist Tue 20-Sep-11 18:45:46

1972; no washing machine, fridge, freezer or TV. No pram, couldn't afford one - had a carrycot with stand and wheels until I could afford a (admittedly rather nice) pushchair. I purchased a small boiler and a spin dryer second hand and was THRILLED to have them, they made life so much easier. I lived hundreds of miles from family, had just enough money to last each week and paid all bills on the day of arrival. Neither I, nor any of my other married peers went out to work once we had babies. There was no nursery provision except for 'social' reasons.

By 1976 when I had my second baby I had a fridge, freezer and automatic washing machine. I bought a denim pram and was the envy of all my friends (although I actually bought it for very sensible reasons - it was washable, would wear well and would have good re-sale value). Second baby was very ill for the next few years and the hospital used disposable nappies which I really didn't like very much!

yogagran Tue 20-Sep-11 18:50:26

Those horrid nappy buckets that we all had. Mine lived in the bathroom, we had to rinse the nappies out before they went into the bucket. Nappy liners were the only thing to prevent a really yucky mess!

Elegran Tue 20-Sep-11 19:12:22

Yes, to rinse them you held on very tightly to one corner, dangled the rest in the lavvy pan, and flushed it. Liners were a real luxury.

Baggy Tue 20-Sep-11 19:47:55

I still have a two nappy buckets from DD3. DD1 used them here for GS's nappies because she used washable nappies too. We keep an old knife handy for nappy scraping into the loo!!! I always just soaked nappies in plain water. Never had any problems getting them clean again. Oh the joys of parenthood!

olliesgran Tue 20-Sep-11 19:56:53

I was trying to think back about how I dealt with the nappies, then someone mentionned spin dryer! Yes, I had one of those! They were brilliant, because washing by hand was a pain, but trying to dry stuff, a complete nightmare! But I remember my Grand father talking to me about the time his children were small, no disposable nappies, but no plastic pants either! He said his memory of houses with babies was the permanent smell of pee! and the damp!
Later, the hand me down twin tub from my in laws was great. Couldn't believe my luck! I didn't go out to work either after the children, no childcare and no jobs either anyways. But we were all poor, we helped each other, clothes served at least 3 or 4 kids, sibblings as well as friends children. No stigma attached, just seemed common sense!