Happy Mother’s Day … With Humour!

Today is Mother’s Day in the U.S.  I bet you can’t tell me the name of the person who is credited with the idea for a national holiday recognizing mothers?  Well, although Julia Ward Howe inspired the first movement toward a national observance during the Civil War, her idea didn’t quite catch on – perhaps the nation was still reeling from the divisive war, casualties, deprivations and didn’t feel like celebrating anything, even their mothers!  But a half-century later, in 1905, Anna Jarvis successfully introduced the idea for a national holiday recognizing mothers.  The first observance of Mother’s Day came on May 10th, 1908, at Jarvis’ church in Grafton, West Virginia.  By 1911, the celebration was observed in most states until on May 9th, 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Mother’s Day a national holiday to be held on the second Sunday of May.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2020 there were some 85 million mothers in the U.S., and in 2022 it is estimated that $31.7 billion were spent on gifts, flowers, and cards to celebrate mothers.  🙄 Leave it to the marketing industry to convince people they must spend, spend, spend, when a simple hug and an “I love you, Mom” would have sufficed.

But wait … there’s more to the story!  Jarvis’ idea was for a small, intimate occasion—a son or daughter honoring the mother they knew and loved—and not a celebration of all mothers.  But, as people are wont to do, they grabbed the proverbial ball and ran with it, turning it into a multi-billion dollar commercialized fiasco each year.  Anna Jarvis soon became disgusted as Mother’s Day almost immediately became centered on the buying and giving of printed cards, flowers, candies and other gifts.

Seeking to regain control of the holiday she founded, Jarvis began openly campaigning against those who profited from Mother’s Day, including confectioners, florists and other retailers. She launched numerous lawsuits against groups using the name Mother’s Day, and eventually spent much of her sizable inheritance on legal fees.

In 1925, when an organization called the American War Mothers used Mother’s Day as an occasion for fundraising and selling carnations, Jarvis crashed their convention in Philadelphia and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Later, she even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day as an occasion to raise money for charity. By the 1940s, Jarvis had disowned the holiday altogether, and even actively lobbied the government to see it removed from the calendar.

Her efforts were to no avail, however, as Mother’s Day had taken on a life of its own as a commercial goldmine. Largely destitute, and unable to profit from the massively successful holiday she founded, Jarvis died in 1948 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.

In total, Mother’s Day spending exceeds $20 billion each year, according to the National Retail Foundation. In addition to the more traditional gifts (ranging from cards, flowers and candy to clothing and jewelry), one survey showed that an unprecedented 14.1 percent of gift-givers plan to buy their moms high-tech gadgets like smartphones and tablets. (Some people have more money than they have good sense, eh?)

On a personal note, I made a huge screw-up this year 😖, but I cannot tell you about it just yet, for it involves my gift to my daughter (because she is the mum now, and the best one I know!) and she sometimes reads my blog posts, but I’ll tell you later. 🙄

At any rate, to all the mothers reading this post, I wish you a Happy Mother’s Day!  And now … the ‘toonists get to have their say about the day …

49 thoughts on “Happy Mother’s Day … With Humour!

  1. Late getting here but love the toons, especially the Superman’s cape one! 😄 and fire extinguisher. Oops!
    It is sad how a simple idea got blown into a money making, commercialized thing!
    I hope your OOps on the thing for your daughter worked out and tbat you still had a good Mother’s Day, my friend! ❤

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    • It’s never too late for a bit of fun and humour! Yes, it is sad that everything these days has to boil down to the issue of money and profit for the already-wealthy. Well, the Oops thing has gotten even oopsier!!! I’ll give you more details soon!

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    • Thank you, Michael!!! My girls gave me two beautiful potted flowers for my back patio and a fun t-shirt. Miss Goose cooked supper for her mom and me, so overall not a bad day at all. xx

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  3. My mother died when I was 8 years old, so I never had any ties to Mother’s Day. I also have no children, so missed it that way too. Like my views on xmas and now St. Valentine’s Day, they are all so over-commercialized that I cannot understand them. Every day of every year mothers need to be appreciated, loved ones need to be recognized, and there needs to be peace on earth and well wishes to all living beings. Having to spend money to celebrate these days, money a lot of families cannot afford, is just so wrong! They are engrained into our societies, not just Western societies, to the point they may be with us forever, until society gets a total overhaul. This is my sincerest hope for humanity, a total overhaul. Happy Day Everyday!

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    • I’m with you, rg. ALL holidays, except Thanksgiving in the U.S., are naught but a money-making opportunity for the already-wealthy and a chance for us to spend our hard-earned dollars. I have always hated Valentine’s Day, am not a fan of Easter, and of late have even had to ‘fake it’ to pretend joy at Christmas. I didn’t realize just how young you were when your mum died … a very tough thing for ANY young child, but especially one with a father like yours was. Sigh. LuL my friend.

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          • Knowing all the feelings violence can instill in a young person, or anyone really, taught me that violence is completely wrong. When a child fears to go to their own home, which is how I felt on a daily basis, there is something wrong with the society that turns a blind eye. Whenever I was “caught trying to run away from it” the cops would just take me home and hand me back over to the monster who was causing the fear. They told me that was where I belonged. And they expected me to love them for it.

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            • You did the same thing I did … saw the negativity and made a conscious decision never to be like your parents. Far too many follow in the footsteps of evil parents. Yes, quite often the social services agencies and police departments fail in their duty to protect children … it seems they typically believe that there is a bond in family that shouldn’t be severed. Sigh.

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  4. Happy Mother’s Day! The tradition goes back way before the US was created, though – Mothering Sunday was celebrated in the Middle Ages, and there are variants going back to Roman times. But you guys deserve all the credit (?) for turning it into the commercial monster it has become 😊

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  5. That was an interesting story from the US perspective Jill, such a sad ending for a well-meaning start.
    The UK version ties into whenever Lent starts which ties into to whenever Easter Sunday is, so is a ‘moveable feast’. The tradition goes back to the fasting during Lent and mid-way through in recognition of all the work a mother puts this would be when it was right and proper to give her little gifts of food to break the fast.
    These days in the UK the card and gift companies also clean up. (along with the makers of fluffy toys). Women also are given films and books they wouldn’t normally go near from well-meaning husbands who were influenced by retailers.
    Very good selection of clever cartoons.

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    • Money … or rather the lust for money … ruins so many things, doesn’t it? I knew the UK Mother’s Day was at a different time than ours, but never realized it was tied to Lent, nor why. I think giving a gift, a card, taking a mother out for a meal is fine, but when people are spending just because the marketers have convinced them that the more they spend, the more love they are showing their mums, then yeah — it’s gone way the heck too far! But then … what holiday hasn’t? I think that’s why Thanksgiving here is my favourite holiday, for there is no gift giving, only good food and family/friends spending time together. Glad you liked the ‘toons … my favourite was the kids cooking for mom and wanting to know how to work the fire extinguisher! Reminds me of my own youth!!!

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      • I have to admire their inventiveness.
        These days as the end of a school year nears, cards appear which are to give to teachers, thanking them, along with the usual cups, mugs etc. The only one the UK marketing hasn’t been able to embrace is US Thanksgiving.

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            • Heh heh … yeah, most Brits I know rather ignore that particular holiday. But here’s a thought — you guys should be celebrating on that date, for you got shed of us before we proved what a bunch of bigoted louts we really are.

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              • (Insufferably paternalist air)….Of course if the French had not been assisting the rebel side England would have won, you would have still been under the Crown as a member of The Commonwealth (Horrahh!), the Trump and Cruz families to name but a few a mere members of the lesser mercantile classes
                And probably have the best cricket and rugby teams in the world…Oh well

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                • Ha ha … on more than one occasion I have asked David if he could convince the Queen to take us back under your wing! But, I’m told she is happy to be rid of us, and who could blame her! Cricket? Rugby? I doubt that more than 3% of the population here even know how to play either of those! Now, football or baseball … 🏈⚾

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