Most women of [the World War II] generation have but one image of good motherhood—the one their mothers embodied. . . . Anything done “for the sake of the children” justified, even ennobled the mother’s role. Motherhood was tantamount to martyrdom during that unique era when children were gods. Those who appeared to put their own needs first were castigated and shunned—the ultimate damnation for a gender trained to be wholly dependent on the acceptance and praise of others.
—Melinda M. Marshall Good Enough Mothers (1993)