How would mums have spent their days in 1965? We take a fun look back at how things have changed for mums in the past 50 years. Story by
Terry cloth nappies, fastened with large safety pins, were by far the main type of nappy in 1965; leaving Mum the task of scrubbing and washing baby's best efforts in her Rolls Razor Twin Tub. By the end of the 1960s Pampers disposables had become hugely popular – one of the fastest switches in consumer buying patterns ever.
Slaving over a stove
With no ready-meals or microwaves, Mum spent much of her time cooking. Meat and veg was the staple meal, with take-away fish n' chips a weekly treat. 'Instant' food was limited to Spam and other tinned items. Mum didn't launch into spaghetti bolognaise or prawn cocktails until the 1970s.
Shopping, shopping, shopping
Much of Mum's time was spent shopping. In 1963 only 3% of UK homes had freezers. She probably visited the corner shop and the grocer daily; and the local butcher, the fishmonger and baker more than once a week. There were only 572 supermarkets in the UK in 1961. By 1969 there were 3,400 including Gateway, Fine Fare, Tesco and Sainsbury. Thrifty Mum was careful to collect her Green Shield Stamps.
Not going to work…
Most women either chose to give up work or were 'let go' when pregnant. In 1960 only 35% of married women worked at all, and most chose to give up work when they had babies. It was still legal to sack someone who was pregnant until 1975. Only 17% of mums who worked during pregnancy in 1961 went back to work before their children were five, compared to 65% of women today.
Leaving kids in front of the TV – but only for 15 minutes
There was no all-day TV and no DVDs, so Mum looked forward to 1.30pm for Watch with Mother. Andy Pandy and The Flower Pot Men were great for keeping toddlers entertained. For older kids Doctor Who was already a Saturday favourite and Thunderbirds proved to be a F.A.B. hit from lift-off in 1965.
Not doing much for Mother's Day
Mum wasn't likely to receive a Mother's Day gift from her grown-up kids. There were no courier services to pick up the parcel from the senders' door, no choice but Royal Mail's prices, and definitely no Sunday delivery. Few families ever went out to a restaurant or drank wine, so no big celebrations. It wasn't until the arrival of Bernie Inns and Mateus Rose, Black Tower and Blue Nun in the 1970s that eating out and enjoying a glass or two became popular.
Wearing a wedding ring
It may be thought of as the permissive swinging '60s, but only 5.8% of babies were born to unmarried mums in 1961; today 44% of mums have not tied the knot.
Pushing a heavy pram
Heavy metal Pedigree prams were still most popular for babies, their basic design hadn't changed much since the Edwardian era. They needed a hefty push to climb kerbs, and forget getting them on a bus – especially as low-floor buses weren't introduced until the 1990s.
Having a cigarette
Half of all women smoked in the 1960s, compared to 1 in 5 today. It wasn't until 1964 that the first major report into smoking health issues appeared. Women continued to smoke during pregnancy and, if they were anaemic, doctors would also often prescribe them free Guinness on the NHS.
Collapsing in front of Corrie
Busy Mum picked up her kids from school in her shiny new Mini, Fiat 500 or Beetle, helped with homework, fed them Birds-Eye Fish Fingers, kept them amused with Thomas the Tank Engine, Barbie and Batman toys, before she finally collapsed in front of Coronation Street, complaining Dad didn't help out much. How times have changed…
Sophie is a journalist and mum of one, and previously edited motherandbaby.co.uk before moving on to write about family cars for Parkers.co.uk - now Sophie is Commercial Content Editor for M&B, Closer, Heat, Empire, and WhatsTheBest.co.uk
She is passionate about raising awareness around postnatal depression and is a Mental Health First Aider.
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