1951 – Being a Mother You’ll Understand

Short story by Gertrude Carrick with illustration by Stanley Galli.

Illustration by Stanley Galli – Mom throwing children into fountain – Today’s Woman January 1951

This is day 9 of’s celebration of Moms in May. So far we’ve looked at moms from a positive lens. Rightly so. Yesterday we honored our moms by celebrating Mother’s Day. Most mid-century moms like today’s moms are nothing less than amazing. But I was able to find a few examples in my collection of mid-century Women’s Magazines that show moms in cringe-worthy moments. Here’s one of them. Let’s just say that this short story by Gertrude Carrick caused my 21st century sensitivities to soar. It tells the story of a mother of 3 who considered herself a good mother.

The three essential ingredients a good mother must possess are patience, calmness and cheerfulness.

However, she shocked herself and onlookers when she threw her kids into the park fountain after a frustrating day.

Nobody but a mother could understand. And even mothers are pretty shocked by my performance in the park last Friday.

I understand that it was written to be funny in an age where corporal punishment was more acceptable than it is today. Abusing a child no matter what the situation, or the decade is wrong and not at all funny.

Other mothers may have wanted at times to throw their offspring into the fountain, but at least they never did.

Being a Mother Yourself You’ll understand by By Getrude Carrick – Illustration by Stanley Galli – Today’s Woman January 1951

Another part of the story mentions that she sent her children to the park to play while she cleaned the house. This is perhaps another then vs now situation where the then was acceptable while the now is neglect.

Want more cringe worthy mom moments? Check out the post on May 20th where I’ll share my very favorite then vs now OMG mid-century ad.

The short story is available for download below.

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