Even though celebrating moms can be traced back hundreds of years, the official, American version was first celebrated in 1908 by Anna Jarvis in a Methodist Church in Grafton, West Virginia. Through her letter writing campaigns, and sheer tenacity, Anna’s efforts were recognized when, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.
And we all have a mother. Whether she lives near or far or she’s in or out of your life, take a moment and say a private thank you to the woman who brought you into this world. You’re here! That alone, is reason enough to celebrate!
Here are five ways you can honor moms – whether she’s your biological mom, your stepmom or a special woman in your life who’s been like-a-mom, Mother’s Day is a reminder to do something special for her.
Give mom the day off. A popular tradition is for dad to help the kids make mom breakfast in bed. She’s allowed to sleep late and wake up to a delicious, lovingly prepared, breakfast. Breakfast is a great start, but what about the rest of the day? Give mom a break by cleaning up that (now) messy kitchen and taking over all the other ways mom contributes to the family.
Write mom a love letter. Anna Jarvis’s original intention for Mother’s Day included celebrating mom in church and writing her a love letter. In the 1920’s, greeting card companies saw an opportunity to capitalize on this holiday (and have since turned it into the third highest card sending holiday behind Christmas and Valentine’s Day). Return to Anna’s vision -take a few minutes and write your mom a love letter: choose a nice piece of paper (or a blank card); use a nice pen; and find a quiet corner to let your love flow onto the page (in your very own handwriting!) Let her know all the ways you appreciate her. Include a favorite memory or piece of advice she’s given you. Whether it’s two sentences, or twenty, this will be her favorite gift!
Include flowers. The favorite flower of Anna Jarvis’s mom was the carnation so in the first years of Mother’s Day, red or pink carnations were worn to celebrate moms still living. White carnations were worn to honor moms who had passed. Wearing a carnation is a simple way to honor mom. Other ways to include flowers: bring your mom a bouquet of flowers and if the opportunity is available, plant some flowers in mom’s garden. Whether it’s a window box, a large planter or the border along the fence, give mom the gift of beauty that will last throughout the month ahead.
Remember moms who have died. Not only your mom, but remember your friends whose mothers have died. Let them know you’re thinking of them.
Support courageous moms. Many not-for-profit organizations help women succeed. Whether it’s a shelter that provides safety for abused women or an organization that helps women get back onto their financial feet or one that provides micro-loans to women intent on building a business to support their families, find one that inspires you and get involved!
P.S. No matter what you choose to do to honor your mom (or someone who has been like a mom to you), there’s no better time to pick up the phone and call her than right now. Say thank you. Ask her about her day. And listen. Do it now, while you’re thinking about it. You’ll both be glad you did.