Ladies, according to the book, The Perfect Woman, written by Dr. Mary R. Melendy, M.D., Ph.D., we’re all raising our children all wrong. The perfect mother’s soul mission in life is to raise sons who will one day dominate their wives, and to raise daughters who will obey their husbands. I missed the boat on that one. My daughters won’t take crap from men, and they make their boyfriends take out the garbage.

Dr. Melendy uses Lititia Bonaparte as an example of the perfect mother. She’s proud of her son. See the bust of her son sitting on the pedestal? I think Dr. Melendy had a thing for Napoleon. She said that Napoleon was an “extraordinary man, and quoted him as saying, “The fate of a child is always the work of his mother.” Napoleon was quite the emperor. He waged war against his European neighbors for 17 years, is responsible for nearly six million European deaths, fathered numerous illegitimate children, and bankrupt the French treasury. I don’t know that it’s fair to always blame parents for how their kids turn out, but Mrs. Bonaparte raised a little megalomaniac. Way to go, Mom!

The perfect mother knows how to prepare healthy meals for her children, and good nutrition must start in infancy. Here’s my favorite recipe for baby food from her book:

Take a pound of flour, put it in a cloth, tie it up tightly, place it in a saucepan full of water, and let it boil for four or five hours; then take it out, peel off the outer rind, and the inside will be found quite dry. Grate and serve with new milk.


Dr. Melendy also gives mothers advice on teething. She warns that teething can cause water on the brain and is responsible for many infant deaths. One remedy for teething pain is taking the child to the country for a bit of fresh air. She said, “The number of deaths in cities from teething is large, in the country it is comparatively trifling.”Dr. Melendy said to give a baby laxatives if the child develops diarrhea and to coat the child in olive oil. Oh yes, there’s one more thing, NEVER rock a baby to sleep. It can cause convulsions!

A perfect mother knows how to keep her child from becoming sick. Dr. Melendy said that if a cold stable makes a healthy horse, then a cold drafty room should make a healthy child. However, Dr. Melendy concedes that from time to time every child gets sick. Here are some of her recommended remedies for childhood illnesses.

Croup: It is imperative that a child with croup be placed in the state of “free vomiting.” At the earliest sign of croup, give Wine of Ipecac every five minutes until free vomiting is established. If after an hour vomiting does not occur, give the following mixture:

One scruple of Powdered Ipecac, 1 ½ oz. of Wine of Ipecac. Shake well and give one to two teaspoons every 5 minutes until free vomiting occurs. After the vomiting, place the child for 15 minutes in a warm bath. When out of the bath give him small doses of Wine of Ipecac every two or three hours. If all else fails give a teaspoon of kerosene.

Bronchitis: Confine the child to his bedroom, and if very ill, to his bed. Let him rest on a pillow on your lap. If fever occurs give the following:

Mix two drops of Tinct. Of Aconite with one full glass of water. Give one teaspoon of mixture every 15 minutes. For external application, take a strip of old muslin, wet in kerosene, and wrap around the neck and cover with a dry cloth. Leave on until the skin is red.

When a child becomes a teenage, the perfect mother’s duty is clear; make them ashamed of their bodies and tell them that sex is bad….very, very bad. But most importantly, the perfect mother must warn her children about the “evils of self abuse.” You know what I’m talking about. Dr. Melendy explains that self abuse drains blood from vital organs, and is an “offense against moral law.”

Is it safe to say we’re all going to hell?

In my next installment of the Perfect Woman we will discuss Dr. Melendy’s thoughts on what qualities a good nurse must have, and recipes for the sick.