Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A VACATION FOR MOTHER; by Mignon Quaw Lott; June 1929

Mother's job is too often a lonely one. She cooks, cleans house and washes. When one works alone it is very easy to get into a rut, a sort of heavy routine that is deadening if carried on too long without a break of some kind. Normal, healthy housewives in town and country, realizing the need for change and variety, are getting it.

I know of a mother of five young children who keeps one hour of the day for herself alone. She tells me this quiet hour restores her good nature, common sense and tolerance, in addition to keeping her in fine physical trim.

A young mother with three small children has made an arrangement with two neighbors by means of which she tends the neighbors' children one afternoon a week, getting two free afternoons as a result. The grown-ups are not the only ones benefited either, as the youngsters are becoming socialized by playing together.

So much for the daily vacation. What about a weekly one? Now most workers get one day out of seven in which to rest. This is usually not the good fortune of mothers, for this rest day which sees everybody at home is one of her busiest days, with a more elaborate dinner than usual and frequently a houseful of company.

What would mothers do with this weekly vacation, once they have obtained it? At first they are like birds that have been caged for a long time. They are reluctant to get away. “Oh, I guess I'll stay home and put up strawberries!” or “I think I'd rather darn the stockings,” they will demur. In some sections of the West they call this stay-at-home habit, “cabin fever.” And like all fevers, it takes some time to throw it off but is well worth the effort.

I know of one mother who used her day off to get acquainted with the civic and social institutions of her city. Another woman pursued her hobby of Nature study. Another entered a training class for nurses which met once a week.