It's 2018 and being a mom has changed quite a bit. With social media overload comes a plethora of external opinions and judgments at every turn. Never before has so much parenting come under public scrutiny - and it leads to so much anxiety. I second-guess every choice, every chance to make a decision for the betterment of my kids. Heck, I had to talk myself into getting a gym membership! That's a far cry from my mom's involvement in my childhood. I spent all of my childhood growing up in the country lakeside, and my mom's idea of a curfew was, "Back before dark." One day, I biked fourteen miles across the county on backroads.
I digress. Even though our experiences of momming might somewhat differ, MUCH of momming has been constant year after year, generation to generation. One thing holds true: moms are badasses. We become mothers in struggle and pain. We conquer sleepless nights and deflated bodies. We sustain life while still maintaining a semblance of base functionality. Well, maybe that's just me. Some moms carry on lives that are far more exciting than my own.
In homage to these badass women carrying that mom mantle with pride, I'm starting a recurrent feature. Throwback Thursday: Moms of History. Don't worry, I won't be running out of material anytime soon. Maybe by studying what makes these past moms successful, we can adopt the same philosophies and practices in our own lives as amazing modern mothers.
Ann Jarvis, Civil War Peacemaker
In the ultimate expression of keeping peace in the backseat on a long-ass road trip, Ann Jarvis acted as a liaison between the North and South during the Civil War. Ann cared for wounded soldiers on both sides, recognizing that these boys and men had mothers somewhere who wanted them to make it home alive. As a gesture of kindness, Jarvis also planned a Mother's Friendship Day. This act of unity brought mothers together from both sides as an act of good faith and community support.
After he death, Ann's Mother's Friendship Day inspired her own daughter, Anna, to petition for a holiday honoring mothers. While many lawmakers called it silly nonsense, Anna was determined, She got backing from the floral industry and started celebrating it officially in 1908. Only a dozen years later, Anna began to speak out about the over-commercialization of Mother's Day. She begged people to stop spending their money on cards and flowers, and instead spend their time celebrating with and commemorating their own mothers. In fact, she held a particularly low opinion of greeting card companies making the day one of profit rather than sentiment, saying, "A maudlin, insincere printed car or ready-made telegram means nothing except that you're too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for than than anyone else in the world."
I can't imagine of how Anna would shudder to know that my last Mother's Day card came in the form of a LUSH e-gift-card to my mom and a text followed by a phone call. But hey. I can get behind any mom so compassionate that she inspired a whole holiday. And, misguided though her efforts may have been, I can respect Anna's fervor to make sure Ann's contribution to American motherhood was never forgotten.