By Phyllis J. Lubin
For years, I always believed that Mother’s Day was a holiday created by Hallmark to sell cards. Despite thinking that, I valued the day nonetheless. Who wouldn’t want to honor the person who gave them life? Who wouldn’t want to set aside a day that would be special just for her?
Here is a tidbit that I wasn’t aware of until I Googled the history of Mother’s Day for this column. Anna Jarvis, after her own mother’s death in 1905, rallied for a special day set aside to honor the sacrifices mothers make for their children.
Arguing that American holidays were biased toward male achievements, she started a massive letter-writing campaign to newspapers and politicians, seeking encouragement for this special day.
In fact, Jarvis established the Mother’s Day International Association to help promote her cause. When the day finally came in 1914 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a measure officially establishing the second Sunday of May as Mother’s Day, one would think Anna would have been overjoyed. And she was—until she noticed that once her day became a national holiday, the holiday became over-commercialized.
By 1920, the very same person who was the staunchest supporter of the holiday became disgusted by that same day. She vehemently denounced the commercialization and urged people to stop buying Mother’s Day flowers, cards, and candies. In fact, she launched many lawsuits against groups that used the name “Mother’s Day,” expending much of her own personal funds on legal fees. By the time of her death in 1984, she had denounced the holiday entirely, and lobbied the government to see it removed from the American calendar.
But Mother’s Day lives on. The commercialization doesn’t bother me so much. Aren’t all the holidays on the calendar over-commercialized? Why pick on this one which puts mothers up on a pedestal? Mothers are the foundation of the family and deserve at least one day of recognition on the calendar!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all mothers out there for everything they do for our society. To my dear mother-in-law, Bernice Lubin, thank you for all that you have done and that you do for all of us! Special thanks go to my own mom, Esther Davidson. Mom, you have been there for your husband, children, and grandchildren through every moment of life! Without your continued support, our family would not have the strength to power through so many of life’s challenges. May we always celebrate together as a family and enjoy life through thick and thin. v
Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children—Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea—and a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at MothersMusings@gmail.com.