The woman who invented Mother's Day came to regret it
Posted May 2, 2018 9:57 a.m. EDT
(CNN) — Mother's Day means big business for retailers. This year is no different -- shoppers will spend an average of $180 per mom.
If you hate all of the commercialization behind the day that celebrates moms, imagine how Anna Jarvis would feel now.
The holiday's founder worked so hard to get the world to stop and give moms everywhere a shoutout. But before her death, even she had to admit she had some regrets about starting Mother's Day.
If she were alive now, she'd probably be living her worst nightmare.
She just wanted to honor her mom
Long before her death, Jarvis' mom Ann Reeves Jarvis hoped someone would dedicate a day to honor mothers. When she died on May 9, 1905, Jarvis set out to do just that. She began campaigning not only for her mom but for moms everywhere.
It started off with her hometown of Grafton, West Virginia, that takes credit for hosting the first official Mother's Day celebration three years later at Andrews Methodist Episcopal Church. Since then, the church has been dubbed the "International Mother's Day Shrine."
In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill recognizing Jarvis' Mother's Day as a national holiday.
There's a reason 'mother' is singular
Jarvis was very intentional about the name of her holiday. It's Mother's Day --- as in one mom. The way Jarvis put it, Mother's Day is a day to honor "the best mother who ever lived, yours."
Apparently no one picked up on that tiny detail because the celebration has gone far beyond just honoring one mom.
Mother's Day became so popular that people wanted to celebrate their mom/stepmom/mother-in-law/grandma/aunt -- really any mom-like figure. It's one of the reasons Jarvis fought to end the holiday.
So Jarvis disowned her own holiday
All Jarvis wanted to do was follow her late mother's wish through and honor moms with the quality family time she thought they deserved. She couldn't stand the idea of people spending so much money on extravagant flower arrangements, sappy greeting cards and overly priced chocolates.
First, Jarvis went after the florists, protesting their marketing of those beautiful and ornate carnations. Then, her protests escalated to arrests for public disturbances.
Jarvis didn't stop there. She went after first lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother's Day as a way to promote the health and welfare of women and children. It was true that Jarvis' mother was a community health advocate. Jarvis still didn't like the association.
Jarvis died in a sanitarium in 1948.
READ: Things you didn't know about Mother's Day