Where have all the mothers gone?

It struck me at a family party this week that we have lost a whole generation of mothers and grandmothers significantly represented, especially in the media, by women who refuse to dress their ‘age’. Women these days are so busy being their children’s best friends and dressing twenty years younger that girls and young women no longer have a role model for what a mother should be. Where have all the women gone who dispensed cakes and wisdom with equal measure and put the world to rights over a cup of tea? It seems a sad loss to me that this generation of girls will grow up with maybe no blueprint as to how they should ‘mother’ their own children. They have few boundaries, little moral guidelines and their parents allow them to drink under age as they seek to be their friends and co-conspirators rather than putting in boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and dress codes. In the old days the mother would have been easily recognised by her clothes, hairstyle, cardigan and knitting, and by the rules she laid down for her household. She would have been a separate entity from her children. But she would also have been there for her children, providing regular home cooked meals and a willing ear. Nowadays the mothers are more interested in having a drinking partner and an ear for their problems and someone to socialise with than being a mother let alone a grandmother. Yet it was our mothers and grandmothers that used to be the bedrock of our society. How will our girls know how to be mothers in the future if we don’t provide the example? Will more of them prefer to be childless than grow up at all? Will they suffer post natal depression and a lack of identity? Women themselves are also losing out on the camaraderie that they had by engaging socially with one another instead now choosing to socialise with their teenage children. Perhaps the breakdown in family life and extended families has a part to play in all of this but I can’t help thinking that it all started with the so called liberalisation of the sixties and women having the choice to have children or not that has formed this new society of the child-woman. There was a song in the sixties called ‘Where have all the flowers gone?’ I think the song for this generation will be ‘Where have all the mother’s gone?’ It remains to be seen what the next generation of women will do with the baton they have been handed.


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