This essay analyzes letters by white, American stay-at-home mothers with husbands in the service during World War II. It uses articles published during the war to compare the expectations for moms to their lived experiences and explores how motherhood shaped their wartime lives. Many scholars have studied women during WWII, but most focus on those who entered the work force. This essay takes a closer look at the women who stayed home with their children and what that looked like compared to the media’s portrayals. The mothers’ letters capture the financial and emotional hardships caused by war, separation, motherhood, and the standards placed on them. What’s more, though, was their endurance and resilience which has carried on to motherhood today.

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