Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day

Mother's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world.

In Britain and Ireland, it is also called "Mothering Sunday" and is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent and falls exactly three weeks before Sunday. "It is believed to have originated from the 16th century Christian practice of visiting one's mother church annually, which meant that most mothers would be reunited with their children on this day. Most historians believe that young apprentices and young women in servitude were released by their masters that weekend in order to visit their families.[1] As a result of secularization, it is now principally used to celebrate and give thanks for mothers, although it is still recognised in the historical sense by some churches, with attention paid to Mary the mother of Jesus as well as the traditional concept Mother Church. Mothering Sunday can fall at earliest on March 1st (in years when Easter Day falls on March 22nd) and at latest on April 4th (when Easter Day falls on April 25th)." (quoted from Wikipedia)

More than 60 countries, including Canada and the U.S.A. celebrate on the second Sunday of May. It was loosely inspired by the British day and was actually intended to be a call to peace and disarmament after the Civil War. The idea of a "Mother's Day for Peace" never took off. The first Mother's Day in the U.S.A. was celebrated in West Virginia in 1908 in honour of Ann Jarvis. Jarvis had worked tirelessly to improve sanitary conditions for both sides. She also worked to reconcile the north and south after the war. President Woodrow Wilson declared the first national Mother's Day in 1914. A decade later, the day was also a commercial success. In 2008, the U.S.A. is expected to spend well over 10 BILLION dollars on flowers, pampering, cards, jewellery, various gifts, phone calls and dinners to celebrate mothers.

I never had kids. I never felt that I would make a good parent. It was never really an issue for me. I didn't really understand how most women could be SO sure that they wanted to have children! I tried babysitting once when I was a teenager. It was 1972. I was almost 15, and my first niece was only a few months old. My sister and her husband were going to a dance and my older brother and I were the sitters. My niece was really fussy that night and possibly teething. We could not get her to sleep and ended up calling her parents to come home. I swore I'd never do it again. Many years later, I did stay with a friend with a baby and I did help out a bit, but I just never felt that need/desire to have one of my own.

I have tremendous respect for mother's. They take on HUGE responsibilities and most do a remarkable job of raising those squirming, screaming bundles into caring and loving young adults. It is often a thankless and vastly under-appreciated job.

My mom raised four kids while helping my dad run the farm. She cooked, cleaned, laundered, sewed, knit, gardened, nursed, taught, played and chauffeured us and still managed to have a social life to entertain friends and curl during the winter. I have no idea how she managed to do it and retain her sanity. I know her sense of humour went a LONG way!

Not long ago, I read an article that said the average mother spends 90 hours a week doing all the child care and housekeeping. If she were paid fairly she would earn almost $120,000.00/year! Yeah, like that will ever happen. Most mothers are repaid with love - for the majority, that seems to be the greatest reward. But just in case it isn't, don't forget to tell your mom how much you love her and say thank you for everything she has done for you.

To all the mothers out there (including mine!), I hope you have a very special day!


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