A Brief History of Mother's Day

This week's brief history article feels like one of those TV episodes that would have a voice-over saying "on a very special episode of..." because it certainly has a lesson. I started this article to be informative because the origins of well-known things are fascinating. Now, don't take this as me trying to be preachy. Examining the history of Mother's Day will make you think about what it is, what it was, and what it should be going forward.

The Birth of Mother's Day

The official modern lineage begins in West Virginia. Anne Jarvis wanted to honor her recently deceased mother with a day to honor her mother's efforts during the civil war to unite mothers in the name of peace. She wanted the day so everyone can honor their mother, who is usually "the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world."

It's Official

Anne Jarvis wanted Mother's Day to be an official national holiday. She felt women were underrepresented by holiday's and all of them were celebrating the accomplishments of men. Considering the time-frame of her efforts, it is a huge victory for her to get the holiday officially recognized in 1914. Mother's day was an official holiday for almost a half decade before women were allowed to vote.

Mother's Day Everything

The official status of Mother's Day became a huge opportunity for retailers. From Hallmark to restaurants, everyone wanted a piece of the pie. Anne Jarvis remains very outspoken about the direction of this holiday has taken in the media. It has become another retail cash cow like every other holiday.

Food For Thought

I want to close out with some food for thought. There were a lot of pieces about Mother's Day in major media this weekend. The Washington Post did a brilliant piece on Jarvis and Mother's Day. Getting your mother a lovely gift isn't a bad thing at all; a beautiful card, a meal, and a gift card are all kind gestures. However, none of them can replace what Jarvis didn't have on the first mother's day, your mom. Spend time with her, and not just on a Sunday in May. Everyone has a finite amount of time on this Earth. Not to sound overly preachy, but how much time has your mother spent on you? I'm willing to bet returning that favor will mean even more than a spa day or a sweet card.