So, Mother’s Day. Let’s start with a bit of uStates history in that regard:
The modern holiday of Mother’s Day was first celebrated in 1908, when Anna Jarvis held a memorial for her mother at St Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. St Andrew’s Methodist Church now holds the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Her campaign to make “Mother’s Day” a recognized holiday in the United States began in 1905, the year her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died. Ann Jarvis had been a peace activist who cared for wounded soldiers on both sides of the American Civil War, and created Mother’s Day Work Clubs to address public health issues. Anna Jarvis wanted to honor her mother by continuing the work she started and to set aside a day to honor all mothers because she believed that they were “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.
In 1908, the US Congress rejected a proposal to make Mother’s Day an official holiday, joking that they would also have to proclaim a “Mother-in-law’s Day”. However, owing to the efforts of Anna Jarvis, by 1911 all US states observed the holiday, with some of them officially recognizing Mother’s Day as a local holiday, the first being West Virginia, Jarvis’ home state, in 1910. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation designating Mother’s Day, held on the second Sunday in May, as a national holiday to honor mothers.
Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace. Source.
I don’t much like the idea of a mother’s day, or a father’s day. I certainly don’t like that they have become an obligation, which in many cases, takes the form of a minor gift surrounded by insincerity, marked by a lack of actual appreciation. I do think that if you’re fortunate enough to have good parents, immediate or extended, then yes, it’s a grand thing to have a special celebration, on top of a true appreciation of that parent or parents. Many of us walk this world without anyone to appreciate in that regard, and I think it’s grade A shite to try and guilt everyone into paying homage, whether they feel that or no. I greatly dislike the afterthoughtness of father’s day, and I dislike the distinct gendering of parenting.
Love, honour, and appreciation should not be an obligation. No one should be made to feel less than a worm because they didn’t show with the obligatory card, candy, flowers, tie, or whatever. Parenting is the biggest gamble a person can take in life. Sometimes it works out well, and sometimes it doesn’t, with immense grief all the way around. Parenting is difficult as all hells, you’re never without challenges, the rewards can be bliss, and the disappointments heart-rending.
If you have parents who love you, and work for you, every day, and you love them, then show them that, and not just once a year. The smallest things, little gestures, unexpected, can be some of the very best ways to show your care and appreciation. Long days ago, I used to stop at a florist, get a single flower, and show up unexpectedly to present that to an adult who was very special to me. That’s the sort of thing I mean. Every day mindfulness means more in the long run, than a holiday which tends to mandate more frazzled people than anything else. Sometimes, just offering to do the dishes (or the cooking, or …) is a great gift.
And sometimes, if you’re someone who doesn’t have a good parent[s], there’s one or more adult, somewhere in your life, who was at some point, a lifeline, with a word or kindness, or a gesture of care that kept you hanging on. Those people deserve to be appreciated too. Rather than focus just on mothers today, to all those parents who do their very best each day, doing that most difficult of jobs, you’re doing good work, and I thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for raising up future adults who will do right and good things in this world. And great thanks to all those adult children who now find themselves caring for parents, with all the love, patience, and care. A Happy, Loving Family Day to you all, no matter the shape your family may take.
Pierce R. Butler says
… a bit of uStates history …
Your source neglects/covers up Julia Ward Howe, an abolitionist and suffragist best known as author of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”, who in 1870 proclaimed:
None of which has a fucking thing to do with the holiday of Mother’s Day, which is what I was writing about. I had thought that to be clear.
I have thoughts about how Mother’s Day is presented, most especially with the various children’s concerts and whatnot that occur around this time. Should one acknowledge mothers in general? Yes. But the running ‘joke’ is all about how mums do everything, while dad sits on the couch after work and gets drunk. In a country where demography is a major political issue, continuing to cast this sort of stereotype (and then complaining down the road about how men are soooo dependent on their mothers, who do everything) does little to subvert traditional gender roles and give dads the opportunity to express themselves appropriately in a family situation (because goshdarn as awesome as Husband is, don’t I just see a certain reversion when he gets together with his friends and has to show that he’s not, in fact, totally whipped -- because he’s not, he actually loves being a caring parent).
So, sure, I’ll take the flowers, but please and thank you maybe encourage men to send less flowers but also participate on a daily basis by not making mothering (often == parenting in general) such despised women’s work? Husband would be the first to tell you that no, it’s not easy and no, it doesn’t make him weak, and yes, it’s a team effort, so lets make father’s day just as big a deal (because it isn’t, here), and lets laugh at all the women who come home and drink wine in front of their favourite soap opera for a day (yes, Husband is a bit ‘what about the menz’ on this subject, but I can’t say I blame him -- fatherhood is seriously undervalued, esp. for non-traditional fathers, locally). Like women’s day here has become that one day in the year where men are supposed to prove they aren’t assholes by presenting flowers (and then getting drunk, in honour of women, of course), and mother’s day is that one day in the year where you give Mum a break -- but the rest of the year, haha, she’s on her own.
That’s not how it should work. Let’s acknowledge mothers, but lets also acknowledge that being a mother by common definition isn’t necessarily or solely women’s work. For some reason, I don’t feel any more qualified to parent three kids in a more tender and gentle fashion just because I shoved them three out of my vagina at one point. Weird. Basically:
To all parents, biological, surrogate, non-biological, it doesn’t make you any less of a parent if you don’t abide by the definitions; biological parents can be the shittiest parents in the world, and non-biological parents and parental figures can absolutely become the ultimate parents to someone out there in the world. I salute you.
rq, word, word, word. I agree completely.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
Oh yes, I have opinions.
1. For me mother’s day in Germany has always been and will always be tainted because of the Nazis.
2. I don’t see any reason to trying to reclaim that train wreck for all the reasons rq mentioned.
Sure, I’ll take my kiddies’ gifts and hug and kiss them, because they are sincere (and because they also value me and my work for the rest of the time).
Mother’s day is just a shitty excuse for people being assholes to us the rest of the year. Scarce support for working primary caregiver who, let’s face it, are usually the mothers.
Also, Father’s day is big here and I can’t help to notice the difference. Father’s day usually means that the men go for a “hike” and get drunk. Mother’s day means you got to say thank you fifty brazillion times for some flowers and either clean up after their efforts to make breakfast or say “thank you” because for once they cleaned up themselves.
And then I got like 20 WhatsApp messages this morning, usually from other mothers and in groups where we’re usually connected via being somebody’s mother. So we now reflexively congratulate each other, even doing our own emotional care that one day of the year we’re supposed to be celebrated.
Fuck that Shit. All of it. With fire.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
And here’s the matching gif.
Oh my, oh my!! Father’s Day is that one day where fathers get to take the day off and spend time with other fathers, because magically they’re somehow overstressed from all the fathering they do, when the rest of the year it’s all ‘haha fathers don’t do shit’ and ‘oh wow look at this amazing father who took his three kids to the daycare this morning all by himself’! Cookie, anyone?
Sometimes I wish for mother’s day, too, they’d let us go off and just get drunk or be free, because that would be kind of awesome, but no, we still have to sit around and appreciate and do emotional labour by accepting everyone else’s gratitude because all we want to do is sit around and smile and get flowers, not free time. Eh. Basically what Giliell said.
At least, after that row over prehistoric megafauna, the two elder kids had the decency to apologize to me because ‘they forgot it was mother’s day’. How about you not get into nasty physical fights just because you shouldn’t do that? But I appreciate the sentiment.
Pierce R. Butler says
Caine @ # 2: None of which has a fucking thing to do with the holiday of Mother’s Day…
Had you read the link I provided, you would have seen
Anna Jarvis got that warmonger Woodrow Wilson to sign off on a watered-down version of her already-diluted M-Day, but the history of the proposal goes back well before 1907.
Caine’s source, if you click on some of the links within, does also mention history prior to 1907 -- including this:
As for Julia Ward Howe, your link even expressly says:
So I really don’t see your point.
… That is to say, obviously Caine chose to present information on when Mother’s Day was first officially recognized, not on who made the first efforts to make it an officially recognizable day.
Pierce: you started out with an obnoxious need to show off, and somehow prove me wrong. I don’t take well to people being assholes early on my fuckin’ Sunday morning. I strongly suggest you shut the fuck up now. If you could not be arsed to click a fucking link and find your precious info, that’s on you.
This post is not about the compleat fucking history of a holiday. It was about other aspects of it, which you happily and deliberately ignored. Get out of this thread.
I’m with you. I’ll gather wood.
Okay, that’s one cat gif that made me laugh. A thankless, Sisyphean job.
Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk- says
Well, there’s nothing as appropriate to celebrate Mother’S Day as having it mansplained to you.
Giliell, oh yes. Thank you for that, restored my mood.
Poor mama cat!