Happy Mother's Day!
When I was asked to write a piece about Mother’s Day, it really got me thinking . . . where and when did Mother’s Day originate? Or is it just another Hallmark holiday? And does every mom have the joyous day that the media promotes?
So . . . Let’s begin with the beginning!
The History of Mother’s Day
In recorded history, one of the earliest tributes to mothers goes to the Egyptians, who had an annual celebration for the goddess Isis. The festival of Isis was also celebrated by the Romans with musicians, dancers, and singers and usually lasted for three days. The Greeks had their own version by worshipping Rhea, the mother of the Gods. Similar deities, like Gaia the Earth Goddess and Meter oreie the Mountain Mother, were also worshipped and celebrated in a similar fashion throughout many civilizations.
In the 1600s, England removed the deity and religious aspect of Mother’s Day by celebrating real mothers. It was celebrated during Lent, allowing for a one-day reprieve from fasting. Mothers were the guest of honor and their families showered them with cakes, flowers and visits from their loved ones and distant children.
When settlers first traveled to America, the European Mother’s Day celebration had ceased. It would be centuries later that Mother’s Day as we know it in America would be re-invented. After much petitioning in the early 1900s, West Virginia became the first state to officially recognize Mother’s Day in 1912. Mother’s Day was signed into national observance by Woodrow Wilson in 1914, and it was set to be celebrated on the second Sunday of every May.
Today, there are over 70 countries which celebrate Mother’s Day, with millions of families honoring their mothers and thanking them for raising them and being a constant support.
Let’s Get Personal About Mother’s Day
I’m sure many children wish that there was a special day in honor of kids . . . I was no different as a child! I remember thinking how lucky moms and dads were because their got their own “special day” and that us kids should get a special day as well. Eventually though, my special day came and I looked forward to the pampering and a little relief. What I ended up with was deep disappointment.
Surely I wasn’t the only mom who was disappointed with a day that was supposed to be “all about her,” was I?
Being a stay-at-home mom with two children under two years old, and throwing some autism into the mix for good measure, I felt that I deserved that special break for one day out of the 365 days a year. If Mother’s Day was about celebrating moms and everything they do and the sacrifice they put forth for their family, whether staying at home or going out and working, why was I being neglected?
I was very upset because, to put it in a nutshell, I was outranked. My competition, sadly, fell to my mother-in-law. My ex-husband’s need to please her far outweighed me being the mother of his children. I was crushed and for many years I knew where I stood on Mother’s Day . . . at the bottom of the totem pole.
Fortunately, those lonely Mother’s Days are now of thing of the past. There are moments for me, like watching my oldest daughter perform in her dance recital and my youngest daughter perform in her first Special Olympics, which are more precious to me than any Mother’s Day could muster. The pride I felt as my girls accomplished their goals before my eyes is far better than any package with a pretty ribbon on it!
So, a celebration for moms, in my world anyway, doesn’t need just one day of attention. I find some of the best moments sprinkled throughout my year and often without those closest to me fully knowing the gift that they are truly giving me! May the same be true for you.
But in keeping with tradition, everyone here at InsidersHealth wishes all the moms out there a very special day this Sunday!
"Mother's Day History." Mothers Day Central. Web. 09 May 2012. <http://www.mothersdaycentral.com/about-mothersday/history/>.