Story: City history and people

Suburban neurosis

For most of the 20th century the stay-at-home mother was a shining emblem of suburban life. While many mothers were happy with their lot, by the 1960s a growing number were not. This was particularly true in new suburbs on city fringes, which often lacked the social amenities and diversity of older settlements. Some women found mothering a burden and felt trapped in their homes – a condition known as suburban neurosis. Some found an escape in alcohol and prescription drugs. In this 1971 film clip a young Wellington mother expresses a longing for adult company and the stimulation of paid work.

Using this item

Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: Notes on a New Zealand city. National Film Unit, 1971

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How to cite this page:

David Thorns and Ben Schrader, 'City history and people - Suburban life', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/video/23528/suburban-neurosis (accessed 10 July 2020)

Story by David Thorns and Ben Schrader, published 11 Mar 2010