Tuesday, February 2, 2010

How DID vintage momma's do it?????

My Dad driving the car and his little brother enjoying the ride !!

Yes, we mothers are breathing a united sigh of relief right across Australia as our children get back into the routine of school, kinda or playgroup after the summer break. My summer has been divided between various trips to lakes, rivers and swimming pools and retreating under the airconditioner while the kids did nothing much more than watch TV, grizzle and quarrel. Many a time I asked myself  "How on earth did my for-mothers do it"? After all, they raised their children without the help of airconditioning and television, baked their own bread in 45 degree heat on the old wood stove, hand washed everything and had children galore underfoot the entire time - how on earth did they keep their sanity?

Esther Edis, my great great grandmother and mother of 16 children, all of whom survived into adulthood - no mean feat for that day and age !! But doesnt her worn out face say it all !!!

Whenever I am overwhlemed with the care of my three little treasures (all under the age of four) I remind myself of my great great grandmother who had 16 (!) children.....the majority of her adult life was spent pregnant, every two years another child was on the way just as the last one was weaned. This amazing woman lived in a time of hard manual labour, caring for 16 children and a husband while pregnant or with a newborn for most of her life.....I am truely humbled when I think of her.

Happy snaps - my mother, her sisters and brother as little children - notice the kitten in my mothers arms, one of her favorite childhood passtime memories !

So, as I have pondered these things over the summer, I have asked my mother and aunt how they remembered filling in their childhood days without television and airconditioning, and without a mother free to take them to the lake for a swim....both spoke fondly of beautiful childhood memories such as playing with kittens, climbing the apricot tree, making 'farms' in the dirt and dust of the driveway.....my Dad remembers having pretend livestock sales with his brother, riding horses and playing with cap guns and tin soldiers......isnt that beautiful, pure and delightful? I myself remember my weekends and holidays being filled with building cubby houses in the bush, pretend fishing in the channel, and sending my Barbie Dolls 'swimming' down the fast flowing but reasonably shallow irrigation channel. I wonder what memories my own children will have of their holidays some day? Hopefully more than just watching television!!

 I would love to hear your memories, especially if you grew up without xbox games, TV and airconditioning too !!!


  1. 16 children! whoa! she is hardcore!
    my grandmother's mother had 12..the old days..everyone was sure busy

    Enter my giveaway to win a pair of earrings!


  2. Great family pics. My grandmother had 13, my father being the oldest. I have 6 of my own, 4 are adults now and two are still at home at 15 and 16 respectively. Anyhow, Wonderful posts!

  3. Pretending to be a mommy with my dolls and tea set, playing dress up with the cats (they often ran off wearing a doll dress), helping my mother cook, drawing, coloring, playing outside with my brother, roaming the farm, - there was always something to do. I never remember getting bored. There were also chores to do like hoeing weeds in the garden and feeding the cats and dogs. It was a great childhood.

  4. My mother in law is the mother of 10 children, 8 boys and 2 girls. She was a farmer's wife and they lived 25 miles from church. She made sure her boys were dressed in suits and ties every Sunday. She drove the family station wagon loaded with kids down the sand roads of western Kansas with a heavy foot to get them to church on time. She ironed everything and cooked 3 large meals every day.


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