Have you ever heard of the woman who hated Mother’s Day?
According to the Toronto Star, there was such a woman.. and she started it all. If you think the spirit of Mother’s Day has been spoiled by the commercialism of cards, flowers and once-a-year sincerity, you stand united with the woman credited with giving us the annual event.
Anna Jarvis, a West Virginian woman, was so horrified by what the holiday she helped create in 1914 turned into that she spent most of her later years campaigning to have the second Sunday in May removed from the calendar as the day to honor your mother.
In the end, Jarvis lost the fight. The woman, who was never a mother herself, exhausted her financial resources and ruined her mental health in that fight. She died alone in 1948 in an asylum at the age of 84. Just before her death Jarvis told a local reporter: "I devoted my entire life to Mother’s Day and the racketeers and grafters have taken it over."
In 1914, Jarvis spearheaded a campaign to help persuade U.S. president Woodrow Wilson to set aside May’s second Sunday as a national day for recognition. She orchestrated a letter-writing campaign to him, lobbied influential politicians and clergymen, and distributed brochures arguing about the importance of a national day for mothers.
Jarvis’ cause came from admiration for her recently deceased mother, Anna Maria, and others like her who had been an inspiration. But by the early 1920s, she was sickened by the commercial circus she had helped create. She felt the day had nothing to do with celebrating the real achievements of women.
Jarvis spent her latter days crashing floral company conventions to protest and urging card companies to give the money they made from Mother’s Day to the poor. At one Mother’s Day convention where flowers were being sold she was arrested for disturbing the peace. She even launched a lawsuit to stop a Mother’s Day festival from being held.
This only drives home the point that the things we start up may become something we never intended them to be. From casual conversations we begin that soon become negative gossip sessions to baby steps into temptation that creates a noose around our neck, consider the impact of that next thing you're pushing for.