Detached mothers & Betty Draper

October 21, 2010

I hate to beat Mad Men to death, but hubby and I have been talking about Betty Draper today. So let’s dish.

Betty’s a terrible mother, isn’t she? She’s immature, abusive and completely self-centered. At her best, she’s….detached.

Most mothers in that era weren’t abusive the way she is. But her lack of involvement with her children was not uncommon among moms in that era.

It must come as a shock when young mothers today learn that it was unusual for mothers to be super-involved in their kids’ lives.

Today, many mothers feel kids will be scarred for life if parents don’t attend all their sporting events. Back in the day, parents didn’t necessarily attend any. That’s right. Dads worked and Moms had meals to prepare and other kids to attend to. Kids were dropped off and that was pretty much that.

Contrast that with today’s parents, who are always on the go attending games and meets. Sitting down to dinner together every night was very common in the 1960s, but today, more often than not, there’s Little League, Pop Warner, a swim meet or some other activity. Dinner is on the run, sometimes out.
Play dates back then were neighborhood-centric. Kids went out to play in the morning and largely spent the entire day with their friends. Sure, they’d come home to eat, but then they’d go back out again, and most of that play was unsupervised. Moms had little idea of what their kids were up to. Many had NO idea. At all.

Today, parents are afraid to let young kids play alone outside, and with good reason. Plus, many kids would rather sit in front of Xbox or the computer all day.

Duties at home were rigidly proscribed in that era and many women felt stifled. Is it any wonder they looked for an escape?

It was a time of ladies’ lunches, too many martinis at cocktail parties and the brand new idea that tranquilizers could help handle stress.

It really is a wonder that our generation turned out fairly well. Maybe that illustrates that “nurture” isn’t quite the determining factor we think it is.

Still, one of the best outcomes of Don’s engagement to Megan is the prospect of the kids having a more positive maternal figure in their lives.

And while I don’t think that parents should be detached the way Betty Draper is, I do think that it would be healthy for kids do a few things each season without the “support” of their adoring parents. To build a little independent character.

Because it isn’t uncommon to find young employees in the work force today who are completely unable to cope with the fact that their employers don’t adore everything they do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Follow Carol


Here you’ll find my blog, some of my essays, published writing, and my solo performances. There’s also a link to my Etsy shop for healing and grief tools offered through A Healing Spirit.


I love comments, so if something resonates with you in any way, don’t hesitate to leave a comment on my blog. Thank you for stopping by–oh, and why not subscribe so you don’t miss a single post?


Subscribe to my Blog

Receive notifications of my new blog posts directly to your email.