Mothers Day: Not Just Another "Hallmark" Holiday
May 8, 2011Posted by andrew |
Happy Mother's Day to all you hard working moms out there!
And if you're not hard at work, I assume you've been that way to get to this point, so happy Mother's Day to you, too! And dads, I hope you're doing something today for the mother of your children to make her feel special. One of the great side benefits of having kids is that you don't have to run out to the card store at times like this. Give them some crayons, stickers, maybe some glitter, too, add some nice heavy paper, and you have a veritable greeting card sweatshop right in your own home. Moms, grandparents, and just about everyone loves to get a unique home-grown card decorated by a genuine little kid. This comes in especially handy if you've forgotten to go to the card store, and don't have time to run out and desperately grab something—anything—from the picked-over selection of cards available at this point in the game (of course you'll be in the company of many other anxious dads in the same boat as you, so don't feel too bad).
Many people assume Mothers Day is some sort of cynical plot concocted by Hallmark, American Greetings, and other members of the international greeting card conspiracy. Actually this isn't true. A little research reveals that the holiday has its origins in 16th-century England (although there are holidays for mothers going back to ancient Greece and Rome), where it still exists as Mothering Sunday. In the US, it grew out of the social activism that surrounded the Civil War and was promoted by Julia Ward Howe and Anna Jarvis. It was Jarvis's daughter—also named Anna Jarvis just to confuse things—who succeeded in getting Mothers Day proclaimed as an actual national holiday by President Woodrow Wilson back in 1914.
Of course this being America, the holiday was quickly commercialized beyond all recognition. Jarvis (the daughter) was actually quite active in opposing the commercial exploitation of Mothers Day, although obviously she wasn't able to accomplish much. According to the National Restaurant Association, this is the busiest restaurant day of the year, so dine out at your own risk. Maybe make Mom a nice dinner at home instead.