From Carolina Watchman, January 25, 1845
For What is a Mother Responsible?
A mother is usually also a wife, and has the management of a family and a direct influence over subordination to her head, has the seat of authority and wields the sceptre of government. From a position of entire dependence, she has risen to power and rank, and though her throne may be in a cottage, and her dominion the little work of household affairs, yet is she not the less really responsible, than is that youthful queen who now sways a sceptre over the four quarters of the earth. But for what is she responsible?
This paragraph suggests that women are responsible for the physical well-being of their children. In explaining that women are responsible for children's physical growth and condition, the author expresses the view that the mother has been negligent if her children grow up physically deformed, bloated (likely meaning obese) or meagre (likely meaning overly thin or sickly). In other words, if a child is not in excellent physical condition, the mother is to blame..
This paragraph suggests that mothers are responsible for their children's habits, both in terms of personal health (cleanliness, eating, sleeping), organization, and social interaction (manners, conversation, propriety of behavior). The author goes on to state that mothers can control children in regard to these kinds of habits. Do you think it's true that mothers have the absolute power to control these kinds of habits in their children? .
This paragraph addresses children's deportment, which the author describes as personality traits (fearful, cringing, modest, impertinent, ingenious, deceitful, mean, manly, clownish, polite). The author further comments that the "germ of all these things is in childhood" and the mother can repress or bring them forth," suggesting that all possible personality traits are present in a young child and that the mother can choose which traits to cultivate and which to attempt to eliminate..
In this paragraph, the author notes that women are responsible for their children's principles -- if a child grows up filled with virtue or vice, temperance or drunkenness, honesty or fraud, industry or idleness, and benevolence or covetousness, the mother is held responsible for that outcome..
This paragraph suggests that women are responsible for the "temper and disposition" of their children..
This paragraph expresses the opinion that women are responsible for the intellectual growth of their children and to help children acquire every educational advantage that their circumstances will allow..
This paragraph places responsibility for religious education squarely on the shoulders of a child's mother, emphasizing the mother's responsibility for teaching the "fear of God" as well as familiarity with the Bible and religious duties. Interestingly, the author notes that religious instruction is "within the ability of every parent to implant," so the author may have considered the father to have some role in religious teaching as well.?
-- Mother's Journ