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The American History Podcast

A Program Of Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

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Mommy Dearest

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 the centuries.

For most of American history, women were charged with raising productive citizens, even as they lacked the status of full citizens themselves. The guys and their guests explore this paradox, looking to the ways that motherhood was used to enhance women’s claims to a say in society, and how the nature of mothering itself has changed over time. What has it meant to be a “good mom” in American history?