The days leading up to Mother’s Day can be a struggle for many women. Expectations are high largely in part to everything we see in the media and our local shopping malls. It has become one of the most financially successful holidays for businesses.
This year I did a little research wanting to understand the history of Mother’s Day and what I found was fascinating and yet disturbing. Mother’s Day has a darker history then we might realize.
A woman named Anna Jarvis, who had no children of her own was inspired to create Mother’s Day as a celebration to honor her own mom who was a social activist.
Her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, organized Mother’s Day Work Clubs before the Civil War to help improve sanitary conditions and infant mortality and when the war started helped with wounded soldiers.
Anna’s intent in creating the holiday was simple, to honor her mother who died in 1905. She intended the day to be an intimate celebration which was officially put on the calendar by President Woodrow Wilson in 1914.
In the years that followed her intimate holiday turned into a commercial landslide for consumerism which disturbed Anna deeply. She fought most of her life to reverse what it had become and as a result died penniless and in a sanitarium. She loathed what it had turned into.
I have to agree with Anna, although it’s nice to receive flowers, chocolates or a gift, I believe as women we have been set-up.
We are set up to believe what the media and commercial stores want us to think.
That our happiness and value as a woman comes from what we receive on Mother’s Day.
If we don’t receive flowers from our children, a card or a gift we must not be appreciated.
If we don’t have a special gift from our husbands we must not be valuable to the family.
If we can’t celebrate the day living like a queen, there must be something terribly wrong.
Not to mention all the women in our world who aren’t mothers, or have struggles relationally with their mothers, or women who have lost their moms. What do they do with all those messages thrust in their face?
In part, Anna Jarvis was correct. Her desire to celebrate the one person in her life in an intimate way who had been an example of loving others well and giving kindness was crushed by the greed of our culture. She fought her whole life against the rising commercialism of this day. It has taken over and launched expectations that are nearly impossible to meet and clouded the simple joy of taking a day to appreciate the women in our life who have influenced and nurtured our souls.
I am not allocating to stop giving cards and gifts and making the day special. It is good to honor our mothers. I LOVE PRESENTS AND GIFTS! LOL.
I like Anna, am advocating that we take a step back and readjust our perspective for the day, strip off some of the commercialism and don’t buy into the lies that we hear leading up to this holiday.
For me, I don’t want to put expectations on my family that create the kind of pressure that feels like obligation. I know I have in the past and I am looking at the day with new eyes. I am secure in knowing I am loved by them and that is enough for me.
In recent years, I am coming to grips with the people in my life, they will never be enough for me.
They will disappoint and let me down and I will fail them.
My hope is in the truth of understanding only Jesus can be enough for me. That is worth all the fine gifts I could ever receive. He is the one who dictates my worth and my value. I don’t need the sentiments of cards, jewelry, chocolate, a nice dinner to tell me I am valuable. God says I am enough because He is enough.
Do I like to be remembered? Is it nice to receive a card from the children I birthed? Is it nice to be taken out to a lovely dinner? Of course, three times over! However, it isn’t going to be what I need tomorrow to fill me up to overflowing. God does that first and then the rest is just that, extra blessing, extra joy to make me smile.
To read more about the history: