In contemporary world the definitions of some terms, which were formed during the centuries’ history of the humanity, for example Ēėwife’ were significantly changed. In the patriarch social structure, where the leading masculine figure dominated in every sphere of life, family life was probably the one and only available for women. The institution of mothering was above everything and there was also a lot of housework to do. It goes without saying that there existed a number of exceptions but they proved the definition of Ēėwife’¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†in the patriarchic society.
Today, in the beginning of the 21st century the attitude to the term Ēėwife’ caused significant changes. Nobody is speaking now about mothering institution above everything, even despite some social dogmas and stereotypes men’s position in caring and taking part in children upbringing becomes more active.¬† ĒėKitchen Slavery’ also is part of history, contemporary women are seeking for career success and house work is also divided between both partners. The feminist movements are struggling against equality between men and women as at home as at the workplace. The achieved certain success.
But the social attitude is still clutching old stereotypes Ēď which are mainly connected with the role of women as Ēėwife’ and Ēėmother’. The society, often with the help of mass media, spread certain stereotypes of so called Ēėgood mother’ and Ēėbad mother’ and there also exist certain myths about mothering and motherhood.
Some qualities that social opinion derives are quite contradictory. If mother pays too much attention to her child Ēď she is bad mother as she is brining up egoistic and socially inadequate person. If she does not pay enough attention to her child (working mothers, for example) Ēď they are also considered to be bad mothers as the child is suffering from lack of attention. The typical Ēėbad qualities’ for mothers are Ēď too poor, too young, too selfish, unemployed and single. These qualities according to social opinion make mothers bad and produce a bad impact on their children.
The same time so called good qualities, which are promoted in the media, positioning celebrities’ families as an examples of the perfect families Ēď where woman is a loving wife and mother, enjoying all the Ēėamenities’ of mothering, sensitive, caring, loving and ready to devote all her life: ďA sacrifice-your-life-for-your-kids-and-don’t-think-twice-or-expect-any-glory-or-thanks sort of motherĒĚ (Jaelithe, 2009). It is the typical image of mother in the patriarch society. The social opinion and attitude to mothering institution and motherhood is changing very slowly and some prejudices are very hard to avoid. An example of so called Ēėgood’ mother is strongly connected with certain celebrity in the minds of contemporary women. But the real situation shows that certain celebrity has a number of Ēėservants’ to assist her 24 hours a day. Do you know many women, who can let themselves such a luxury? I don’t know any. The idea is absolutely unreal and impossible to realize in general American family.
The same situations connected with some Ēėmother myths’. The stereotypes: ďThe measure of good mother is Ēėperfect daughter’, mothers are endless founts of nurturance, mothers naturally know how to raise children, mothers do not get angryĒĚ (Paula Caplan, 70). These myths do not deal with reality at all. And for the last 10 years the problem of family relations has become one of the most discussed.
Feminist activists were actually among the first who raised the question of the Ēėtrue stories’ about family life and mothering institution paying serious attention to the problem of women I marriage and children upbringing. For centuries it was a shame to speak about real feelings connected with mothering. The ideal picture of a happy and enjoyable mothering was spread all over the world. The real picture seemed to be not so pleasant. And the results of such a Ēėpleasant’ reality are serious psychological problems causing depression and feeling of abandonment and disappointment.
Fortunately the times of mothering taboos are in the past. Numerous of psychologists accompanied by family doctors and sociologists analyze the problems of stereotypes in our society in order to build healthy future for further generations.