Officially, Mother’s Day in the US is an occasion on which mothers are honored by their children. At least, that is what it said when I googled “mother’s day” out of curiosity. As many as 40 countries observe the holiday. Some have for centuries, some more recently. The day recognizes mothers in all the shapes and forms they take as individuals and within the family. This weekend, we will explore ways in which to honor our mothers and mother- figures in our lives.
There have always been mothers. Obviously. There are mothers in the human world and mothers in the animals world (some of them even eat their young, can’t say we haven’t all thought about it…). There hasn’t always been Mothers Day, though. At least not as an official holiday with cards and all that. The United States saw the first official celebration of mothers in the early part of the 20th century. So, really, not all that long ago.
Anna with an A
The credit for establishing the day goes to lovely gal named Anna Jarvis. Jarvis was a social activist who notably followed her own path. Anna was an accomplished, independent woman throughout her life. She had a deep connection to her mother, Ann, who was a mover and a shaker in her own right. Ann wished for a day where mothers would be recognized for their (often thankless, cough cough) contributions to society and the family unit. In the words of Ann Jarvis, “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mothers day commemorating her for the matchless service she renders to humanity in every field of life. She is entitled to it.” The irony of mothers feeling entitled to anything is not lost on me. Mothers are ABSOLUTELY entitled to time and self. No guilt, mamas.
Still ,taking Ann’s last wishes into account, Anna set about to establish just such a day for mothers across the nation. Three years after her mother’s passing, Anna held a memorial in her mother’s honor. The event included the commemoration of ALL mothers. What began as a reverent nod to Ann’s life snowballed into becoming a highly commercialized event, a Hallmark holiday if you will. The commercialization of holidays and events in the United States isn’t a new thing. Just look around Target the day after Halloween (sometimes even before!) and it’s basically Christmas. I still need decorative plastic spiders on the day of Halloween, Target, come on!
Mother’s Day Controversy
Now for the tea. Jarvis succeeded in bringing her mother’s wishes to the national spotlight. However, Anna’s shock over how quickly the holiday devolved into a commercialized holiday deeply troubled her. She even wished the whole idea would just disappear and felt regret over her part in it. What Anna initiated as a sentimental gesture towards her mother’s memory spiraled out of her control. Anna used white carnations and heartfelt hand- written notes in her celebration and we see this reflected today within the greeting card industry and grand floral arrangements given as Mother’s Day gifts across the nation.
By the 1920s, the original meaning of the day was so far past what Anna set out to achieve that she had this to say, “A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment.”
A particular bee in Jarvis’ bonnet was that the commercialization meant that others were making money off of her idea whereas she received no compensation for her efforts. With little to no income, Anna moved in with her sister Lillie and later spent her final years confined to a sanitarium. So, not a fun time. Despite it all, her confinement to the sanitarium was funded by people who were involved in the greeting card and floral industries. So, that’s nice, I guess.
It’s Mother’s Day, call your mom!
While I was researching Mother’s Day and diving into the history, I came across some fun facts. According to the History Channel, more calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day throughout the year. In fact, call records spike over 37% from the normal average on Mother’s Day. So, you know, remember to call your mom!
Some other interesting facts about Mother’s Day 2022 include:
- There are an estimated 2.2 billion mothers around the world right now.
- Americans plan to spend $31.7 billion on Mother’s Day-related gifts and activities in 2022.
- More than 84% of Americans said they would celebrate Mother’s Day in some way this year.
- Mother’s Day is the third most lucrative holiday of the year for florists, following only Valentine’s Day and Christmas.
- Pre-pandemic, about 87 million people planned to dine out for Mother’s Day.
The National Retail Foundation reported on the aforementioned statistics.
What can you do?
There always seems to be some pressure over holidays, no matter which one it is. Moms always have a lot on their plates. I know many moms who end up planning their own Mother’s Day and feeling let down by the lack of effort or perceived lack of effort when something doesn’t work out the way they hoped. I know this is hard, we’ve all been there. The day doesn’t have to be an IG perfect brunch with afternoon pedicures or massages at the spa. Please do not feel like it should be. Mother’s Day is your day, moms. Wake up with a full heart.
Just do your best to have your day be your day. For those of you with moms to celebrate, do your best to make an effort to show your appreciation to her and let her know how and why you are grateful for her. That being said, we know that the holiday can be challenging for some. We send you our love. Here at MTT and MTTES celebrate all the moms on our staff, our client base and everyone in the MTT community. We LOVE OUR MOMS. Try this template to fill out all the ways your love and value the moms in your life! (Pro Tip, you can use this template for Father’s Day too!)
Drop us a note in the comments and tell us why you love your mom or the moms in your life. Why do you love being a mom? We can’t wait to hear from you. Happy Mother’s Day!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.