Mother's Day: A confessional

8th May 2019

We recognize that Mother’s Day can be difficult for many reasons. If you have an estranged or complicated relationship with your mother, lost your mother, lost a child, or long to be a mother but are childless or struggling with infertility, we send you love.

This Sunday is Mother’s Day, so let’s take a moment to celebrate moms. Because you guys, momming in real life is hard. Now, I don’t mean to brag, but I was pretty much the perfect mom before I had kids. I had all the answers about the best way to raise, discipline, feed, and nurture all of the children belonging to my family and friends (and often the random ones at the grocery store or park.) Now, I didn’t always actually say my helpful tips and theories out loud to the parents around, but I offered them enough that now that I’ve got a few years of hands-on momming experience under my belt, I cringe at how pompous and smug I was.

Who knew the real ins and outs of being a parent, the actual 24/7 hands on, is much, much harder than it seems on tv, or instagram, or even when your sibling or best friend is doing it? It turns out I didn’t quite live up to the baby-wearing, co-sleeping, attachment parenting, breastfeeding, homemade organic food making, no screen time giving parent I just knew I would be. My children don’t exclusively wear organic cotton clothes whilst playing with sustainably harvested wooden toys I whittled myself before coating with natural beeswax from the private beehive in my backyard. Also- as long as we're being real with each other here- the patience I was certain would be limitless toward my kids turns out to have a much shorter fuse than I imagined.

My standards got pretty real (ie much lower) pretty quick once my first child came home. And hoo boy, do I have so much more grace and understanding for my own mom, who was a stay at home mom to 3 kids under 4. All things considered, she nailed it, and didn’t deserve all of that angsty criticism during my teens and young adulthood. I hope one day my kids will look back fondly on their childhoods and remember most the love and laughter, and not dwell on the parts that weren’t perfectly curated, 100% organic, or were maybe a little heavy on ‘mommy voice’. 

Ever wonder how Mother’s Day came about?: 

According to the National Women’s History Alliance, the origin of Mother’s Day is largely attributed to 3 women (read the full article here:

“In 1858, Ann Jarvis, a young Appalachian homemaker, organized “Mother’s Work Days” to improve the sanitation and avert deaths from disease-bearing insects and seepage of polluted water.

In 1872, Boston poet, pacifist and women’s suffragist Julia Ward Howe established a special day for mothers –and for peace– not long after the bloody Franco-Prussian War.

In 1905, when Ann Jarvis died, her daughter, Anna, decided to memorialize her mother’s lifelong activism, and began a campaign that culminated in 1914 when Congress passed a Mother’s Day resolution.
Each woman and all of these events have contributed to the present occasion now celebrated on the second Sunday in May.

For Ann Jarvis, also known as “Mother Jarvis,” community improvement by mothers was only a beginning. Throughout the Civil War she organized women’s brigades, asking her workers to do all they could without regard for which side their men had chosen. And, in 1868, she took the initiative to heal the bitter rifts between her Confederate and Union neighbors.

The younger Anna Jarvis was only twelve years old in 1878 when she listened to her mother teach a Sunday school lesson on mothers in the Bible. “I hope and pray that someone, sometime, will found a memorial mother’s day,” the senior Jarvis said. “There are many days for men, but none for mothers.”

Mother’s Day has endured. It serves now, as it originally did, to recognize the contributions of women and mothers. Mother’s Day, like the job of “mothering,” is varied and diverse. Perhaps that’s only appropriate for a day honoring the multiple ways mothers find to nurture their families, and the ways in which so many have nurtured their communities, their countries, and the larger world.”

Mothers- you amaze us, you inspire us, and we celebrate you today!