I’d like to get really real here about Mother’s Day. Most of us are aware of the commercialized aspects of the current Mother’s Day customs: cards, brunch, flowers, etc…
But you may not be aware that the first American Mother’s Day was organized by a woman named Anna Jarvis in 1908, and was put into the National Holiday Registry in 1914.
Anna Jarvis originally wanted the celebration to be a meaningful and intimate family celebration where children showed appreciation for their mother. She campaigned hard for the holiday to be adopted by many. She wrote letters to newspapers and politicians arguing that Most American holiday are biased towards male achievements, and urging them to adopt a holiday honoring motherhood. It became so popular, however, that soon florists, card companies, and confectioners began to capitalize on its popularity.
This distressed Anna Jarvis greatly, and she began to speak out against the commercialization of Mother’s Day, which she had intended to be a celebration of one mother, a child's mother, not all mothers. She began to file lawsuits against groups who used the name “Mother’s Day”, eventually spending her life’s savings on legal fees. She died in a sanitarium, penniless, in 1948 (Handwerk 2014).
Despite the dark tale of the founder of Mother’s Day, Anna Jarvis, and the over-commercialization that has come to dominate the holiday, are the sentiments behind the consumption any less meaningful?
Mother’s Day can be incredibly meaningful and poignant if the emotion and intention are there despite the commercialization. It is important to know the original intention behind the holiday, and to be mindful of the aspects of honor and appreciation that Mother’s day can bring.
With that said, I put this gift guide together in case you are looking for something fun to get a rocker chic Mom in your life. (See the shop-able version here)
But don’t let the gifting take the place of a true show of appreciation.
One statistic that made me feel as though the spirit of Mother’s Day shines through all of the commercialization, was that “more phone calls are made on Mother’s day than any other day of the year” (History.com, 2011). Simply picking up the phone to say hello, and “I love you” is a beautiful and simple way to avoid the commercialization and get back to the true meaning behind most holidays: human connection.
Handwerk, Brian. “Mother’s Day Turns 100: It’s Surprisingly Dark History”. National Geographic.com. May 9, 2014. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2014/05/140508-mothers-day-nation-gifts-facts-culture-moms/
“Mother’s Day” History.com. 2011.