Sunday, May 1, 2011

To Breed or not to Breed?

Dear Helen Hartman,
  My biological clock is ticking so loud it wakes my husband up at night. All right, I confess it keeps me up and I give him the old elbow to the back or kick in the shin pretending it was an accident to wake him up. But once he’s awake, he is usually pretty open to the idea of starting a family -- on the spot! Trouble is I’m not sure I am ready for a baby.
            Love to know your take on preparing for motherhood.

Dear Loved One,
     It has been so long since Helen had to deal with babies (except the ‘put your big boy/girl pants on and deal with it’ variety) that she had to take her own refresher course via some educational material she has in her vast library… well, okay, I thumbed through some magazine and pamphlets lying around the house.      
Let's see, Good Housekeeping! That should be a treasure trove of ... Barbecue? 

I know they had some weird ideas in 1951 but that can’t be right. Still, there is no word on this cover about babies! It’s a sales sample. My bet is that the barbecue part was to appeal to the man in the house and the baby because women didn’t read the words, they saw that baby and subscribed on the spot, right? Those kooky gals and their maternal instincts - a marketers dream!

This was actually to illustrate how much like grown up food Heinz Baby Food was!
It is a matter of truth that my own mom used to tell me that if I could handle a husband I could handle a baby. Helen has met both men and babies and aside from a glazed look that comes into their eyes around ample bosoms I do not see much correlation.

                                             First of all, I never saw an advertisement giving me Hot Tips to keep my children happy.

In fact, according to a very good rule of thumb, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy. 

Save that jar? It’s a great place to pour your happy juice and have everyone think its sun tea.  

Helen’s version goes: “If Helen ain’t happy, ain’t nobody sleeping until she is. Now go get Helen a jar of sun tea… the happy kind… and don’t use the word ain’t.”

From what I find in my sources pregnancy and having a new baby is a breeze.  You can wear cute clothes… and have your friends flaunt their great bodies in your chubby cheeked face, it seems. 
(Yes, hang your head, you let yourself get all pregnant-y with that baby you're carrying!)

But once the baby is born, you get to rest for weeks! 
Yes, it does say that, along with the reminder that it’s now time to get your figure back.

These are what they recommend to get back in shape… or is it to get pregnant again?

Helen can’t tell you if you are ready or if you will be a good mom. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and the best and though my children are grown my job is not over. I will worry and pray about and love and encourage them until my last breath. 

And I while I absolutely understand the people who don’t want children, I don’t regret having mine. Most days.
Now go hug your mom.
Or somebody’s mom.
Or even someone’s kid.
Leave the jar.

Celebrating Blue Monday with Smiling Sally 
and Thrift Share Monday at Apron Thrift Girl (I confess I didn't find THIS Good Housekeeping this weekend but I did find a 1968 House Beautiful and got it for $1 but decided to save it for it's own post) 
And Making the Wolrd Cuter Monday


  1. Look at those ads/articles! Those were the days! I am grateful to be a Mother and now a Grandmother!


  2. Hello Helen:
    Alas, we have never had children so we are not in a position to add our five pennyworth [as the saying goes] to this. But, we are sure that they are for life, not just for Christmas!

    Have a good week!

  3. LOL Jane and Lance - you are wise, I know too many people who do have who wish they could exchange them like an ill-fitting pair of Christmas slippers!

    Maryjane - the lying in period was the best but much of the advice I found really wasn't too different from modern advice!

  4. Hi there Ms H. Hartman
    Thank you for your enthusiastic and lovely comments.
    I've just had a quick look at your are too funny...I shall just have to follow you...I quite like a laugh or two!

  5. Your advice and pamphlets are brilliant as always! I'm especially loving the idea of happy juice disguised as ice tea. What a fitting post for the approaching Mother's day. Happy May!

  6. I have the BEST two children and seven grandchildren! Thanks for sharing your blues.

    Happy Blue Monday, Helen.

  7. Oh my did it again!
    LOVE IT!

  8. You are too funny for words!!! I ordered a copy of your last book for my mom for Mother's Day! She will be thrilled!!!

  9. Oh, Sherry, I'd have sent you one for free! I plan a book give away this summer - right now am on deadline and swamped and learning the angles of blogging.

    Y'all make me smile with your comments - and it means all the more because I have enjoyed your blogs so much as well.

  10. Lovely post!

    Blue Hyacinth, hope you can come and see. Thanks!

  11. How did I miss the lying-in period four times with my babies??? I remember begging the doctor after the fourth was born to let me stay another 24 hours in the hospital...of course those were the days of send-'em-home after 72 hours and a c-section (military hospital regs :) Used to love hearing my mom talk about coming home from the hospital with her first (1946) in an ambulance and not being allowed to bathe for a week. Maybe they weren't really the "good old days."

  12. How brilliant! You find the best adverts.
    Our friends are divided into breeders and non-breeders, never appealed to me but each to their own. xxx

  13. Dear Helen Hartman

    Love this post and your blog! I'm your newest follower and can tell that we'll be fast friends!

    Can't wait to get to know you better!

  14. Thanks y'all - yes I missed that lying in deal too!

    Am not one who thinks you must have kids to fill your life. I doubt my kids will have kids and that's what's best for them.

    Welcome Leann, I love your blog too!

  15. Once again, I enjoyed reading your blog! I can always count on getting a laugh when I do. My husband and I have no children yet, but I'm not feeling the maternal urge kicking in too much. We have a Chihuahua inside, and I like the fact that I don't have to find a babysitter whenever we need to go somewhere. We are at the age where we constantly get questions like "Don't you want kids?" and I am always surprised at how people seem to feel like it's their business to concern themselves with our reproductive intentions. I always answer with, "I'm doing just fine with Pippy (our chihuahua)."

    Great post!

  16. CUte vintage clippings. Hope you can visit my Blue Monday page too.

  17. I love old ads. They really are funny and your commentary makes me giggle!

  18. Liana - we love our dogs, too and when the kids complain about how we spoil them we say - it's always hard on the older ones when the new siblings come along!

    Mel - off to visit your blog!
    Thanks Mary.


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