Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day, Who Needs It...

Mother's Day, the one day a year when mother's across America get the day of rest they deserve. A day to relax, not do laundry, no slaving over a hot stove and most importantly a day when their children shower them with gifts and don't annoy the hell out of them. But what if there was a movement to rid the earth of Mother's Day and what if the person that was trying to was the woman who started it. For the last 104 years mothers across America have been given flowers, cards, gift cards to a spa, random home objects made of macaroni and etc. Today is the sign of gratitude for everything mothers do all year long. So what could make Anna Jarvis turn on Mother's Day?

Anna Jarvis is the founder of Mother's Day. It all started with her own mother, Ann Jarvis. Ann Jarvis founded the Mothers' Day Work Club which was created to improve health and sanitation conditions in American cities. She also went on to create "Mother's Friendship Day" which operated during the Civil War and aided both Union and Confederate states, they were pretty much the Red Cross of the mid 19th century. More importantly the main goal of MFD was to reunite families torn apart by the war. So how does this Civil War aid group fit into the creation of Mother's Day? Well two years after the passing of Ann Jarvis, her daughter Anna picked up were her mother left off and held a memorial for her late mother. The memorial was to honor the work her mother did and create basically an Ann Jarvis Day. It wouldn't be until 1914 when President Wilson heard of this cause that Mother's Day became the holiday we all know today.

For the next six years Mother's Day was spent honor our mothers and the work that they do. However, one little thing had changed. Instead of it being a solemn day of honor it had turned into, well the way we celebrate Mother's Day today.  People began buying gifts, cards and so on and so forth and this really pissed off Anna Jarvis. Like all holidays Mother's Day fell victim to mass commercialization and Anna Jarvis couldn't stand to see her mother's legacy ruined. From 1920 until the end of their lives Anna and her sister Elsinore campaigned against Mother's Day and called for it to be abolished. The Jarvis' pet peeve, well one of them, was printed greeting cards. Anna Jarvis once said,

"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."
-Anna Jarvis

Needless to say the Jarvis sister's war on Mother's Day was unsuccessful. Both sisters died penniless due to their efforts in ending the holiday and Anna actually died childless, perhaps another reason for her problem with the holiday. But is the holiday too commercialized? I highly doubt anyone thinks so. Sure they jack up the prices on flowers and candy but they do the same on Valentines Day. In the scope of commercialized holidays Mother's Day falls near the bottom of the list being crushed by Christmas, The 4th of July, Thanksgiving, Valentines Day and about 40 other holidays. The whole point of Mother's Day is putting one day aside that you can just spend with your mom. A day we can take out of our busy schedules and just hang out with the woman who gave you birth or as my mother tells me the woman who was "cut open and I was ripped out of." And so what if you want to buy her a card, flowers, candy or whatever it is she may want or need she deserves it. So Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there, may you day be stress free and may you be showered with gifts and praise for the next 24 hours.

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