Mothers Day was invented with the intent of honoring mothers for having the hardest job ever. While Anna Jarvis was the driving force behind mothers day and started pushing for it in 1908, it was not until 1914 that the holiday became a national holiday. This happened thanks to Woodrow Wilson who officially set the second Sunday of the month of May for Mother’s Day. Many people don’t realize that Mothers Day had a very sad beginning. In the 1850’s, Ann Jarvis, Anna’s mother had hosted Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions for birthing and try to lower infant mortality.
The group also focused on tending wounded soldiers on both sides of the US Civil War. While Ann had initiated Mother’s Friendship Day for loyalists across her state, it was her daughter, Anna who was most responsible for what we recognize as Mother’s Day. Unfortunately when it became commercialized, Anna spent the rest of her life fighting against it.
On May 10th of the year 1908, the first Mother’s day event happened in Grafton, West Virginia.
“For Jarvis it was a day where you’d go home to spend time with your mother and thank her for all that she did,” (West Virginia Wesleyan’s Antolini)
The main reason why Jarvis spent the rest of her life fighting against the newly commercialized holiday is because it took away from the purpose of the holiday. She even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt because she had used Mother’s Day to raise funds for charity.
The same woman that founded Mother’s Day in honor of her mother who had died in 1905, ended up dying in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium in 1948, at the age of 84. This is a woman who could have ended up making a lot of money off the holiday but instead, she died broke and classified as insane.
While there’s no doubt that Mother’s Day is commercialized, this story is a good reminder for the world to remember what the initial purpose was of this special holiday. Spend time with your mother, thank her for everything she has done for you, and remember that you can’t buy anything that equals to the amount of love your mother has for you.