My mother was a classy lady. Like many women in her generation, she raised a family and juggled work at a time when it was not the norm. Mom stood for all of the stuff that the feminist movement stood for but she did it wearing pearls and a dress. My mother did what she could to bust through and live life on her own terms, for the good of her family. My mom was a businesswoman who was involved in several different companies. She started her last business, an import-export company, when she was 60 years old!
Modern mothers need to unite and support one another, because balancing work and family is very tough, especially in this economy. I love to hear about strong women and Pepperidge Farm founder Margaret Rudkin has an awesome story. Margaret was one mom of three who just happened to start a business—in the Great Depression!
Margaret was a 40-year-old-mother of three young boys, living in Connecticut on Pepperidge Farm—named for an ancient Pepperidge tree that grew there.
The family faced many challenges during the Great Depression—but as parents, one of the most difficult challenges was dealing with the severe allergies and asthma of their youngest son, whose condition made him unable to eat most commercially processed foods.
Based on the advice of doctors, Margaret put her son on a diet of fruits and vegetables and minimally processed foods. Then one day, Margaret decided to try baking him some all-natural stone ground whole wheat bread with vitamins and nutrients intact. At a time when puffy, aerated white bread dominated the market, many skeptics—including her son’s doctor—didn’t think it was possible to bake nutritious bread that was also delicious
Margaret proved them wrong and then some.
Margaret Rudkin’s bread recipe grew into a brand called Pepperidge Farm. I love Margaret’s story because she reminds me of my own mom—she did what she needed to do, for the good of her family. I’ve had the good fortune to be surrounded by a number of great women, like my mother, who have encouraged me to not accept the status quo. I loved learning about Margaret Rudkin and how Pepperidge Farm got started.
I believe it helps modern mothers to hear the stories about Margaret (and my mom). These women paved the way and we can still learn from them.