This Sunday is Mother’s Day. Yes… I know. Every day should be Mother’s Day. I agree. After all, there would be no fatherhood without motherhood. But have you ever wondered about the origin of Mother’s Day? We’ll discuss this today in The Fathering Strong Blog and offer some suggestions for making your celebration special this year.

The History of Mother’s Day

Interestingly, a childless and unmarried woman started the tradition in the 1900s. Following her mother’s death in 1905, Anna Jarvis conceived of Mother’s Day to honor the sacrifices mothers made for their children. In May 1908, Anna received financial backing from John Wanamaker, a Philadelphia department store owner, and organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration at a Methodist church in Grafton, West Virginia. Wanamaker, obviously a savvy retailer, also held an event at one of his stores in Philadelphia that same day. Thousands of people showed up.

With that success, Jarvis set about making sure her new holiday was added to the national calendar. In a massive letter-writing campaign to newspapers and prominent politicians urging the adoption of a special day honoring motherhood, Anna Jarvis argued that American holidays were biased toward male achievements. Thanks to her efforts, by 1912, many states, towns, and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual holiday. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day. For more details, go to History.com

The Commercialization of Mother’s Day

But there was a problem for Anna. You can guess what happened. It was not long before florists, card companies, and other merchants capitalized on its popularity. The American way, right? Disgusted with how the holiday had been commercialized. Anna Jarvis began to denounce the commercialization of Mother’s Day and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies in protest. Her campaign against the use of the name “Mother’s Day” for profit, which included numerous lawsuits against retailers and charities, cost her much of her personal wealth. Eventually, Jarvis disowned the holiday altogether, and by the time of her death in 1948, she had been actively lobbying the government to remove it from the American holiday calendar.

Mother’s Day in the USA

Mother’s Day is celebrated all over the world in one form or another. In the United States, Mother’s Day continues to be celebrated by presenting gifts and flowers to mothers and other women. It has become one of the biggest holidays for consumer spending. Families also celebrate by giving mothers a day off from activities like cooking or other household chores.

Other Ways Mother’s Day is observed in America

The holiday is more than just gifts and a day off. Mother’s Day has also been a date for launching political or feminist causes. For example, in 1968, Coretta Scott King, the wife of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr., used Mother’s Day to host a march supporting underprivileged women and children. In the 1970s, women’s groups used the holiday to call attention to the need for equal rights and access to childcare.

Making This Mother’s Day Special

Here are some ideas for Dad’s to make Mother’s Day special.

Relaxation and Self-Care

  • Breakfast in Bed: Whip up some pancakes or waffles or grab her favorite takeout breakfast. Include a flower or a handwritten card.
  • Spa Day at Home: Draw a warm bath, light some candles, and give her a massage. Offer to paint her nails or give her a facial.
  • Book Her a Massage or Salon Appointment: If she enjoys a professional touch, book an appointment for a massage, facial, or haircut.
  • Take Over Chores: Let mom take a day off from housework. Take care of the cleaning, cooking, and errands so she can truly unwind.

Quality Time Together

  • Plan a Picnic: Pack a basket with her favorite foods and drinks, and head to a park or scenic spot for a relaxing lunch outdoors.
  • Take a Hike or Bike Ride: If she enjoys being active, plan a hike or bike ride on a trail she’s been wanting to explore.
  • Have a Movie Marathon at Home: Pick out a few of her favorite movies, make some popcorn, and cuddle up on the couch.
  • Plan an Activity Mom Enjoys: Does Mom love reading or going to museums? Plan a day out doing something she truly enjoys.
  • Picnic in the Park: Pack a basket with finger foods, sandwiches, fruits, and a bottle of wine or sparkling cider. Find a scenic spot in the park and enjoy a relaxing afternoon together.

Creative Ideas

  • Make a Coupon Book: Create coupons for things she’d like, such as a back rub, a night off from cooking, or doing chores she dislikes.
  • Plant a Flower Garden Together: This is a thoughtful gift that keeps on giving. Pick out some flowers she loves and plant them together in a pot or garden bed.
  • Write Her a Song or Poem: If you’re musically inclined, write her a song. If not, a heartfelt poem will do.

Involving the Kids

  • Get the Kids to Make Breakfast: Have the kids help you make breakfast in bed for Mom. They can also make a card or pick some flowers from outside.
  • Family Craft Project: Get the kids involved in creating a handmade gift for Mom, such as a painting, a piece of jewelry, or a decorated photo frame.
  • Homemade Card or Coupon Book: Get the kids involved in making a heartfelt card for mom. Older kids can create a coupon book filled with coupons for things like massages, back rubs, or breakfast in bed.
  • Framed Artwork or Poem: If your kids are creative, encourage them to make a piece of art or write a poem for mom. Frame it and present it to her on Mother’s Day.
  • Help Mom Plant a Handprint Tree: This is a unique and lasting keepsake that Mom will cherish. Paint the kids’ handprints on a piece of fabric and plant it in the ground with a small tree.

Consider Mom’s Preferences

  • Think about what mom truly enjoys. If she’s not a fan of crowds or fancy restaurants, a spa day at home or a picnic in the park might be a better option than making a reservation at a trendy new spot.
  • Pay attention to the little details. Does mom have a favorite flower or type of dessert? Does she love taking long walks or reading quietly in the morning? Personalize your plans to show her you care about the things she enjoys.

Most importantly, make sure mom feels appreciated and loved on Mother’s Day. A thoughtful gesture, no matter how big or small, will go a long way.

Inspiration from the Holy Scriptures

28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
    her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
    but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
    and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

– Prov. 31:28-31 NIV

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