I hope you have had a great day even if it was without celebration. This year more than others, I noticed how this day comes with expectations—for moms and their children, especially adult daughters. I heard women announcing plans to have their moms over for a meal. Some were very happy—for them today is just another excuse to spend time with their moms, something they try to do often. Others complained about having to prepare and cook, as a daughter, when today should be a day of relaxation, as a mother. While this holiday does not get as much press as Christmas, I have been bombarded with e-mail offers for weeks. Ads for discounted flowers and pajamas overwhelmed radio stations and newspapers.
My own family is so busy studying for AP exams, writing essays, etc., that we could not plan a Mother’s Day family outing. And, since we do not have a grandmother to invite over for the obligatory meal, it was not necessary to call everyone together during the day. With time constraints in mind, I decided we should go out for dinner. Simple and stress-free.
As I condoned a Mother’s Day without much pomp and circumstance, I knew I would have my mom’s support. My mother encouraged us to do less. My mom did not have any need to make a big deal over a “Hallmark” holiday. After all of these years, I decided to investigate how this holiday started- is Hallmark behind all of the hoopla? I was surprised to learn that in 1870, Julia Ward Howe proclaimed the day a holiday to celebrate the men who fought in and survived the Civil War and to allow them to be at home with their moms. To follow Howe’s lead, another women’s activist, Anna Reeves continued the quest to make a special day to honor mothers and seek peace (http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/about-mothersday/history/). My mom would have loved to know that Reeves tried to abolish the holiday when it became too commercial.
So, it seems like we cannot give credit to Hallmark and we should remember that the holiday started because a few women wanted to ensure that young men and women would have time to spend with their moms.
That brings me back to my original question, what celebrations are necessary? What should busy daughters do for their moms? Perhaps because I do not have a mom to shower with gifts and meals or because I wish I did, I take a very liberal stance on this holiday. I hope the celebrations we have are not out of obligation or guilt, but are mutually satisfying. What do you do to celebrate Mother’s Day- if you are fortunate enough to have your mom to celebrate with or if you are not….