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Rethinking Mother’s Day

Another Mother’s Day has come and gone. I realize this may not sound very nice, but ever since I became a mother 15 years ago I have disliked this celebration. The hype and fuss can create expectations unmet. Every year I have dreams of a beautiful day sleeping in, resting and just enjoying my kids who are behaving well maybe along with a perfect gift that symbolizes their love for me. This has never happened. And really, that is OK! After all, the journey of mothering is amazing, challenging, messy and complicated. A single day is inadequate to mark it. Looking back to the origins of Mother’s Day is pretty interesting. It started back with the early Egyptians who celebrated the goddess Isis as the Mother of the pharaohs. The Greeks and the Romans celebrated other Mother deities until it became a more Christian celebration with the focus on the “Mother Church”. The day had a true renaissance in America in 1870 with Julia Ward Howe’s Mothers Day proclamation. She called women to action for peace. At the end of the proclamation she said, “In the name of womanhood and humanity, I earnestly ask That a general congress of women without limit of nationality May be appointed and held at some place deemed most convenient And at the earliest period consistent with its objects To promote the alliance of the different nationalities, The amicable settlement of international questions, The great and general interests of peace.” Julia tried hard to change July 4th to Mother’s Day to no avail. Later Anna Jarvis campaigned very hard in 1908, using all her powers of advocacy with many groups to make this day official. Mother’s Day is celebrated around the world. In the US Mother’s Day, however, has become very commercialized. 96% of Americans participate in Mother’s Day shopping spending over $16 billion each year. So, let’s think about this. What would happen if on Mother’s Day, women from around the state, country and world got together to discuss the problems that threaten our children and communities? What if we invested that $16 billion in programs to support mothers and their children in our country? What if this day grew to symbolize our national commitment to girls and women? What if women used this as a rallying cry for the change that we want to see in the world? I think that it is time to take back Mother’s Day. We have 364 days to get ready for next year. I this would be a much better way to honor women. What do you think? PS As a side note, I do LOVE honoring my own mother who I cherish and appreciate all of the days of the year.

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