“Selfish” Mothers (Happy Mother’s Day!)

During the nineteenth-century’s pet-keeping mania, periodicals exhorted parents, particularly mothers, to put aside their own convenience or dislike of animals in their homes in order to secure for their children the many pet animals that were required for its healthy development: ”Perhaps the mother is very busy, or…she may dislike animals…. Alas! How any mothers and fathers cherish their selfish ease and consult their convenience” (Eberhart 193).

Shaming and guilt-tripping parents was even an international exercise. The Matron of the London Hospital wrote for the American magazine, Babyhood, to persuade mothers to “submit to the additional inconvenience” for the sake of all the healthful benefits (Lückes 4).



Lückes, Eva C.E. “Children and Pets.” Babyhood: A Monthly Magazine for Mothers 3. Ed. Leroy M. Yale. New York: Babyhood Pub. Co., 1887. 4-7. Google Book Search. Web. 9 Feb. 2012.

“Children’s Pets.” Everything About Dogs. Ed. Alvin George Eberhart. Camp Dennison, Ohio: Eberhart Kennels, 1902. Google Book Search. Web. 9 Feb. 2012.

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