Mother’s Day which we celebrate today was invented by the us-American and English womens’ movement. Beginning in 1865 Ann Maria Reeves Jarvis organized mother’s day meetings where mothers could discuss their needs i.e. that their sons would not be sacrifieced in war any longer.
Her daughter Anna Marie Jarvis wanted to honour her late mother’s work and held a memorial mother’s day meeting on the 12th of May in 1907, which was liked so much that she worked on making it a celebration day for all mothers. Her initiative was so successful that only seven years later the American congress proclaimed the nationl holiday of Mother’s Day in 1914.
Quickly the news and initiative spred so that other countries followed soon. One reason for this quick assimilation of the custom may have been that it could be used well commercially. In Germany it was an iniative of the assosiation of German flowershop owners that in 1923 the first Mother’s Day was celebrated! Until today the flowershop owners are happy about that day and a lot of other shops jumped on that train, too (even the embroidery designers as my blog posts on the preparation for Mother’s Day show).
The commercialization of „her“ holiday the initiator did not like at all. She became so resentful that she fought finally for its elimination. And she is not alone with that, as many modern women do not want to be reduced to being a mother. But eliminating this holiday would not make a difference to the injustice of mothers getting less money in their jobs and when retired, that natural birth are not paid well to hospitals and midwifes, that there a not enough midwifes, that mothers (especially single parents) are supported to combine family and job as they would need it.
Instead it is necessary to go back to the roots of mother’s day, to its birthhour in the womens’ movement. Make this day politcal just as the womens’ rights day and labour day. What we need are demonstrations and a lobby for more support in questions of health, finance and profession for justice between the sexes and in comparison to those that decide against having children.
Nevertheless I still do love the presents that my children craft in Kindergarden or school, these I would not give up for the world. This year my son made the artful nail and thread picture that is featured in this blog post and a pretty card. He is very proud of it.
At secondary school the teachers do not take the trouble nor the time for that. Or is it beneath the art teachers’ dignity that the children make presents during their lessons? What a pity! Instead my daughter laid the breakfast table nicely.
This does not make me feel reduced to being a mother. No, quite the opposite, it is the one day per year that this role is honored, the role that makes me give my best even when I am low. Every other role I have also have a special day:
- my birthday is the day for me as a person,
- the international women’s day for me as a woman,
- my wedding day is the day for me being a wife,
- pay day is the day for me as a working person
- (and the day I get my bonus is the day of having a career).
Why should the role of being a mother not have a special day of its own? Especially as there are special days for oddities? After all we mothers have to share our day with the cucumber, the odometer and the nurses…
So, how do you feel about Mother’s Day?