Mother of Mother's Day Came to Hate It

Why? This year's average amount of $169 on gifts is a hint
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 12, 2013 7:03 AM CDT
Mother of Mother's Day Came to Hate It
Anna Jarvis, who conceived the idea of a special tribute to mothers, is shown in this 1928 file photo.   (AP Photo/File)

It's Mother's Day, and Forbes blogger Steve Cooper quantifies the ways Americans will show their appreciation: Figure $169 spent per mom this year, up from $152 last year, with a record 14% planning to buy some kind of electronic gadget as the big gift. Jewelry will be tops ($4.2 billion), followed by dining out ($3.5 billion), flowers ($2.3 billion), electronics ($2.3 billion), cards ($2 billion), clothes ($1.7 billion), and personal service gifts such as a day at the spa ($1.5 billion). It has, in other words, turned out to be exactly the kind of holiday that the inventor of Mother's Day came to despise, writes Nicole Russell at the Atlantic.

Anna Jarvis conceived the day in 1908 and got Congress to make it official in 1914. By 1920, she was so disgusted with its commercialization that she tried in vain to get it rescinded. Russell wishes she had succeeded. "Mother's Day has become to moms what Christmas is to kids: A perversion of the simple joy of honoring loved ones," she writes. At the New York Times, mom Ann Carrns also thinks the day is "a bit of a relic, a holdover from a time when most mothers didn’t work outside the home, and most fathers helped out less with the housework and the children." (Read more Mother's Day stories.)

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