Tracy S. Morris

Quirky Mysteries, Screwball Fantasy and Sassy History

A Message From the Founder of Mother’s Day: Stop Celebrating Mother’s Day

Written By: Tracy - May• 04•15


 You have to feel sorry for Anna Jarvis.  All she wanted to do was honor her mother.  Instead she ended up creating her worst nightmare. 

Like all of us, Anna had a mom, and her mother had big ideas.  Anna’s mother, Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis believed that mothers had the power to make the world a better place. 

As Anna grew up, she watched Ann form social clubs to improve health, medicine and sanitation for children.  During the Civil War, she had the mothers in her clubs pledge to remain friends no matter what side of the conflict they were on.  After the war, she organized a Mother’s Friendship Day to reconcile those divided families. 

When Ann passed on, Anna wanted to honor her.  Her mother had hoped for a day honoring mothers, and Anna thought it was a fitting tribute.  

The first year, Anna had a few friends over to observe the day her mother passed away.  Within six years, President Woodrow Wilson made it a national holiday called Mother’s Day.

Then Anna watched it all go sour. 

She’d intended for the holiday to be an inexpensive observance.  She wanted people to spend time with their mothers, and write letters of thanks.  Instead they started buying cards and candy.  People were making money off of her holiday.  

There is a story in the Bible that Jesus saw businessmen profiteering off of the Temple.  He became so enraged that he flipped over their tables and drove them out. “How dare you turn my father’s house into a den of thieves.”  

 Anna must have felt the same way: how dare you turn my mother’s holiday into a day to make money.

And although Anna had no children of her own, this mother of Mother’s Day started attacking her own “child.”  She filed a lawsuit to stop at least one Mother’s Day festival, and was arrested for disturbing the peace at a war mother’s convention where women sold carnations to raise money.  

In later years, Anna told reporters that she wished she had never started Mother’s Day.  And in a bittersweet ending, she spent her final years in nursing care surrounded by the cards and flowers she hated.  All sent from fans who wanted to thank her for starting Mother’s Day.

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