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Modern MotherhoodWomen and Family in England, 1945-2000$
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Angela Davis

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780719084553

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719084553.001.0001

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Experts and childcare ‘bibles’: mothers and advice literature

Experts and childcare ‘bibles’: mothers and advice literature

(p.112) 5 Experts and childcare ‘bibles’: mothers and advice literature
Modern Motherhood

Angela Davis

Manchester University Press

The chapter examines how ideas of the ‘good’ and ‘bad’ mother were conveyed to women through the writings of childcare experts. It considers the work of principal authorities on child development who were popular from the 1940s to 1990s including Frederick Truby King, John Bowlby, Donald Winnicott, Benjamin Spock, Penelope Leach and Gina Ford. Literature on childcare abounded throughout the second half of the twentieth century and ideas of how mothers should behave were hotly contested. Definitions of what made a ‘good’ mother were constantly in flux, though, so women had to adjust to these changing requirements. Through an analysis of the oral history interviews, this chapter explores the relationship between mothers and the experts. It shows how mothers could struggle to reconcile the demands that these experts were making upon them.

Keywords:   Motherhood, Childcare, Advice literature, Frederick Truby King, John Bowlby, Donald Winnicott, Benjamin Spock, Penelope Leach, Gina Ford

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