Editorial submitted by Conrad Doyle
I purposely chose to not offer my thoughts on Mother’s Day the week before the blessed day because not all mothers deserve to be celebrated. You may think I am being disrespectful when I say this but as an umpire once said “I call them as I see them.”
I have a number of friends that used to dread the day so much so as to purposely plan a trip that would take them out of town or would volunteer to work that day so they could avoid the awkwardness and fake appreciations.
So when and how did this day of honoring motherhood occur? What is the backstory of this monumental celebration?
If I told you the Civil War was the catalyst for this day we now celebrate would you get the same chuckle as I?
When I started researching the origins of this special day, I found many articles written on the same subject matter. lincolncottage.org states that “in the late 1850s, Ann Jarvis, widely considered the ‘mother’ of Mother’s Day, established Mother’s Work Day, a day dedicated to teaching mothers how to better prepare food and clean so as to prevent disease. This mission was driven by personal experience, as seven of her eleven children died before adulthood.” This celebration was was first introduced by Ann’s mother, Anna Jarvis. She wanted a simple celebration that would re-unite families and mothers who had been torn apart by the bloody Civil War where members of a family had sons fighting and killing sons and brothers.
Today, we have been made to believe in some Pollyanna fantasy scripted by greeting card companies and floral businesses. I have heard many people describe their mother as more akin to the mother in Frank Perry’s film “Mommie Dearest” that depicts Christina Crawford’s adoptive mother, actress Joan Crawford, as an abusive and manipulative mother who hurt her adopted children.
I know an individual that often laments and responds to the notion of celebrating Mother’s Day with a line taken from a self-directed Barbra Streisand movie “The Prince of Tides” in which Nick Nolte’s character describes his mother as “unfit to raise rattlesnakes.”
Lest you think me to be a bitter old man with mother issue’s, let me assure you that nothing could be farther from the truth. To this very day I catch myself wondering how Mom would do whatever I was attempting to do and always sure she would have done it better. She was extremely skilled and successful.
What then is the point of this meandering trip down memory lane?
Just this: Mother’s Day is not always a celebratory event, and all mothers are not good people or mothers. Some mothers have a backstory that only tells of pain and abuse in their lives and are as far from good as earth is from Mars.
It is a difficult day for many because they are “forced” to pretend that the person being honored is worthy of the accolades that accompany this important day. Some feel as though they have been held hostage and abused by this same person, and on this day, they are forced to swallow the truth and pretend they had the “worlds greatest mom.”
I find it humorous that Mother’s Day was originally established because of a bloody war that found brothers fighting brothers. It was supposed to re-unite families and guide them to a place of reconciliation and love. When Ann Jarvis started her political campaign to have “Mother’s Day” recognized as a celebratory day, she never imagined that she would later start a campaign against the day because of the commercialization by card makers and confectionary retailers.
By the way, let me give you a heads up on the upcoming Father’s Day: Not all “fathers”
are good people as they too have their own painful backstory. That day is just as difficult for some as Mother’s Day is to others.