The Good Mother: A History of American Motherhood
Some say motherhood is the hardest job in the world; turns out, there’s a lot of history to back that up. In this Mother’s Day episode, the Guys explore the changing expectations of mothers over three centuries. Historian Linda Kerber discusses the “founding mothers,” who were tasked with instilling future generations with good republican values. Ann Hulbert, an expert on parenting experts, explains why mothers in the 1920s were instructed not to smother their children with love. And reporter Nate DiMeo tells the tragic story of Anna Jarvis, the “mother” of Mother’s Day.
- Linda Kerber, historian and author of Women of the Republic: Intellect and Ideology in Revolutionary America
- Ann Hulbert, author of Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children
- Nate DiMeo, writer & producer of the history podcast The Memory Palace
This episode explores what it has meant to be a “good mother” in American history. But we here at BackStory have been scratching our heads trying to think of some really bad mothers from our nation’s past. Who would you nominate as the Worst Mother in American History?
Want to dig deeper into the history of motherhood? Check out this list of resources compiled by the History Guys to learn more.