Why Mother’s Day?

Sunday is Mother’s Day. Before you drop what you’re doing to scramble for a card, gift, or brunch reservation, think about why.

For some, Mother’s Day is a busy day, for other’s a day of requirement, for other’s one of deep sadness. For some, that is because they have a mom, for others it is because they are or are not mothers. It can be a complicated holiday.

According to National Geographic, Mother’s Day in America grew, not out of celebration, but out of a mother’s heart. There is nothing worse than watching a child suffer or the loss of a child. For the women who lost children during the Civil War, Mother’s Day was a day set aside for their mourning. What else does a mother’s heart desire? Peace. That their children and sweethearts come back to them safely. That there is no fighting. That family be gathered around them. That those they love will love one another.

It was because of her own mother, who stood up for women in the mid-1800s, that Anna Jarvis petitioned for a national holiday. But when the holiday turned commercial, she fought against it. Now, if anything, the holiday has only become even more commercial. When the National Geographic article was released in 2014, they reported that it ranks in the top three holidays for giving gifts and cards, dining out, and exchanging phone calls. In fact, History.com says that “More phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than any other day of the year. These holiday chats with Mom often cause phone traffic to spike by as much as 37 percent.”

While celebrating Mom is the heart behind the holiday, before you jump to what you may think is required of you on Mother’s Day, take a step back to think about the women in your life. The holiday is truly about them, thanking them for all they have done for us, the paths they have opened for us, and the love they carry in their hearts.

Out of this, instead of going for an easy or last-minute gift, think about what gift would mean the most to them. For some, not having to cook sounds like heaven, for others, just having a phone call means the world, for others its sitting beside them as the grieve the loss or absence of a child, or the heart-break that can come from not having a child of one’s own.

Our feelings about our mothers can be difficult at times. Perhaps your own mother is not here or your memory of her is a painful one. Then, I hope in this holiday that the peace sought after during the founding of this holiday will be with you as well.

Like I said, Mother’s Day is complicated. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all way to celebrate. But, the holiday is meant to be personal. That’s why Anna Jarvis insisted it be Mother’s Day, not Mothers’ Day. So, to all the women out there: May Sunday bring you the hope, joy, love, and peace your heart desires. Happy Mother’s Day.

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