Mother's Day HistoryContrary to popular belief, Mother's Day was not conceived and fine-tuned in the boardroom of Hallmark. The earliest tributes to mothers date back to the annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to Rhea, the mother of many deities, and to the offerings ancient Romans made to their Great Mother of Gods, Cybele. Christians celebrated this festival on the fourth Sunday in Lent in honor of Mary, mother of Christ. In England this holiday was expanded to include all mothers and was called Mothering Sunday.
In the United States, Mother's Day started nearly 150 years ago, when Anna Jarvis, an Appalachian homemaker, organized a day to raise awareness of poor health conditions in her community, a cause she believed would be best advocated by mothers. She called it "Mother's Work Day."
Fifteen years later, Julia Ward Howe, a Boston poet, pacifist, suffragist, and author of the lyrics to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic," organized a day encouraging mothers to rally for peace, since she believed they bore the loss of human life more harshly than anyone else.
In 1905 when Anna Jarvis died, her daughter, also named Anna, began a campaign to memorialize the life work of her mother. Legend has it that young Anna remembered a Sunday school lesson that her mother gave in which she said, "I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother's day. There are many days for men, but none for mothers."
Anna began to lobby prominent businessmen like John Wannamaker, and politicians including Presidents Taft and Roosevelt to support her campaign to create a special day to honor mothers. At one of the first services organized to celebrate Anna's mother in 1908, at her church in West Virginia, Anna handed out her mother's favorite flower, the white carnation. Five years later, the House of Representatives adopted a resolution calling for officials of the federal government to wear white carnations on Mother's Day. In 1914 Anna's hard work paid off when Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Mother's Day as a national holiday.
At first, people observed Mother's Day by attending church, writing letters to their mothers, and eventually, by sending cards, presents, and flowers. With the increasing gift-giving activity associated with Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis became enraged. She believed that the day's sentiment was being sacrificed at the expense of greed and profit. In 1923 she filed a lawsuit to stop a Mother's Day festival, and was even arrested for disturbing the peace at a convention selling carnations for a war mother's group. Before her death in 1948, Jarvis is said to have confessed that she regretted ever starting the mother's day tradition.
Despite Jarvis's misgivings, Mother's Day has flourished in the United States. In fact, the second Sunday of May has become the most popular day of the year to dine out, and telephone lines record their highest traffic, as sons and daughters everywhere take advantage of this day to honor and to express appreciation of their mothers...
I have a few thoughts about Mothers on this Special Day...
~ FIRST I am thankful for having a mother. So often more now then when I was a child there is only one parent in the picture. I am thankful that my parents (who are still together) knew the importance of their roles.
~ I am thankful that my mother was home. I know not all families are able to afford having the mother work only at home. When I was dating my husband I expressed how important this was to me, and he agreed that it would be best for the kids to have mother at home. And as long as we can afford it, we will do it. Having my mother at home helped me always feel safe and loved. I remember a few times after school going to other friends houses where there were not parents at home. I was confused because I just thought everyone had their mother at home. I never really knew the sacrifice my parents made to have my mother at home. I always had help with my homework, and was guided to do the right things.
~ I am thankful for my mother teaching me about having a routine. We knew as kids that if our homework was not done, we would not be going outside to play. We also knew that if we played with our toys and did not pick them up we were not allowed to get our other toys until they were picked up. My mother said it was her O.C.D. that taught us this... so I guess I appreciate my mother and her O.C.D. because I definitely got that from her!
~ I am thankful for my mother teaching me how to cook. I was texting my brother (who is going away for school soon AND going on his mission within the year... tears) about how he is going to learn how to cook. I told him to ask mom to help him. I remember right before I got married my mom made sure i knew the basics of cooking. I had been prepared my whole life helping in the kitchen, but she sat down with me and helped me understand how she did it! We always had home made dinners at the table as a family. This was yet another thing I thought all families did. Now I have learned it is few and far between that still have this tradition... When I am making dinners for my family I marvel at how many dinners my mom put together for us. MAN I have only been doing this family dinner for five years... and my mom is STILL doing it...
~ I am thankful that my mother was an example for me. Just a good overall example. I remember we would exercise with her as kids. She would have on those 80's workout clothes and I was excited for the day I would get to wear a hot pink and black workout suit... ha ha! She made school a big deal. She would wake us up in the morning and have breakfast ready for us. And as annoying as I thought it was then... she read the scriptures to us as we ate. I remember seeing her in bed late at night reading her scriptures. I knew because my mom thought scripture reading was important that I needed to do it as well. She (and my father) held very regular Family Home Evening and we learned how important our family unit was. She always went to church meetings, and did her callings 110%. Seeing that growing up shaped me to be the person I am today. I have always accepted new callings and given them my all. Being a good example is not the easiest thing to do, but it sure is a good way to teach children.
~ I am thankful that my mother loved and respected my father. This may not be a big deal to some, but it helped me know that my father was important. He was not around often because of work and church callings, but my mom always made a big deal when he was around. She greeted him at the door with a kiss and a "Hello how was your day?" almost everyday. I knew my parents loved each other, and that alone was was great security for me.
~ I am thankful that my mother was a mom first and a friend second. We are close to best friends now that I am grown and she no longer needs to be "a mom" at all times. When we were young she was more interested in helping us choose the right thing, then being the fun friend we would have liked. Sure she took us TP'ing and we played but she knew her role was to mold us into great people.
~ I am thankful for SO much that my mother has given me. I could go on FOREVER... being a great mother in law (ask Matt, he agrees), a great grandmother, a great friend... a great person.
THANK YOU MOM FOR EVERYTHING!!~~
One day is not enough Thanks for everything!! Happy Mother's Day!!