As you know by know, I often like to talk about history. So, I thought I would try to learn a little about Mother’s Day. While there have been various movements over the centuries, in the United States, it seems the first Mother’s Day movement began just after the Civil War with Julia Ward Howe’s Mother’s Day Proclamation in 1870. Julia was a poet, writer, journalist, women’s suffrage activist, and abolitionist.
Anna Jarvis continued the cause, and created the Mother’s Day International Association in 1912. The Vancouver Sun said, “She was specific about the location of the apostrophe; it was to be a singular possessive, for each family to honour their mother, not a plural possessive commemorating all mothers in the world.” Woodrow Wilson was the president who first signed the law designating May 9, 1914, as the first Official Mother’s Day celebration.
This past week at church, my bishop talked about how hard Mother’s Day can be for some people. I remember dating a girl whose father had passed away, and she remarked that she hated Father’s Day for that reason. I also thought about a brother and sister of mine who both passed away (separately) both leaving behind 4 young children. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day is tough for my nieces and nephews. I also think about how tough the day can be for childless couples who crave children. As a person who got married much later in life than Mormon culture expects, I can personally tell you on behalf of me and my wife, how difficult Mother’s Day and Father’s Day can be for singles who desire marriage and children, yet remain unmarried for whatever the reason is.
How do we celebrate mothers and motherhood, and still be sensitive to those who may struggle with the holiday?