Remember when the Peace Corps adopted the slogan “The toughest job you’ll ever love”? No offense, Peace Corps, but that adage is more appropriate for motherhood — a job that is ever-changing and frequently exasperating. Moms don’t get days off, nor do they receive handsome salaries or generous pensions. Instead, their rewards come in the form of sticky kisses, necklaces made of elbow macaroni, and the satisfaction of seeing their children grow up to be happy, healthy adults. That’s probably not adequate compensation — so give Mom an extra hug on Mother’s Day, just in case, and follow our guide to giving back.
When is Mother’s Day
May 12, 2019
May 10, 2020
May 9, 2021
Always celebrated on the second Sunday in May in the U.S.
Became an official U.S. holiday in 1914
International Mother’s Day
Mother’s Day in the UK is March 31, 2019 & March 22, 2020
Always celebrated on the fourth Sunday in Lent — three weeks before Easter Sunday
Frequently called “Mothering Sunday”
It once was a day where Christians would visit their “mother church” where they were baptized. Slowly it became more secular and a time for people thank their moms for all their hard work.
Other countries celebrating on the second Sunday in May include Canada, Japan, most of Europe, New Zealand, Australia, India, China, South Africa, and the Philippines.
In all, more than 40 countries worldwide observe Mother’s Day from February through December
Earliest: Norway — February 10, 2019
Latest: Indonesia — December 22, 2019
When is Father’s Day?
June 16, 2019
June 21, 2020
June 20, 2021
Mother’s Day History
Celebrations go back to ancient times when Greeks and Romans held festivals in honor of the mother goddesses Rhea and Cybele. However, the early Christian festival known as “Mothering Sunday stands as the modern precursor. This European tradition fell on the fourth Sunday in Lent. Many believed the faithful would return on this day to their “mother church”— the main church near their home — for a special service. The Mothering Sunday tradition shifted over time into a more secular holiday where children would give their mothers flowers and other gifts. This custom would blend into the American Mother’s Day in the 1930s and 1940s.
American author and poet Julia Ward Howe, who wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” became the editor of Woman’s Journal, a widely-read suffragist magazine, in 1872. During that time, she wrote an “Appeal to womanhood throughout the world,” which would become known as the Mother’s Day Proclamation. The document asked women to fight for world peace following both the Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. Howe then launched a failed attempted to start a “Mother’s Day” celebration on June 2. Two decades later Howe suggested a Mother’s Day celebration every July 4. This also failed to take hold, but set the stage for a future attempt.
Anna Jarvis successfully initiated Mother’s Day after her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, died in 1905. Jarvis noted that Mother’s Day should contain a “singular possessive,” (hence the apostrophe) so each family might honor its own mother — as opposed to all mothers. Jarvis, who neither married nor had children, organized the first official Mother’s Day celebration in May 1908. A Philadelphia department store owner named John Wanamaker lent his financial support to the cause. That same month thousands of people attended a Mother’s Day event at one of Wanamaker’s stores.
Jarvis soon lobbied to make Mother’s Day a national holiday — urging prominent Americans to join the effort. By 1912 many states, towns, and churches had adopted Mother’s Day as an annual event. Jarvis also started the Mother’s Day International Association. President Wilson would soon establish the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day in 1914. Hallmark began selling Mother’s Day cards in the early 1920s.
Jarvis’ love affair with the holiday she worked so hard to start did not last, and she eventually grew to resent its commercial appeal. As florists and greeting card companies began to cash in, she soured on the idea of a national day — urging people to stop buying flowers, cards and candies. Jarvis spent most of her personal wealth hiring attorneys to file lawsuits against groups using the term “Mother’s Day.” She even tried to persuade the federal government to remove it from the calendar.
What are some popular Mother’s Day flowers?
What are some popular Mother’s Day gifts under $25?
- Scalp massager
- Hair towel
- Tea infuser
- Essential oils
- Thoughtful mug
- Water bottle
How much do people spend on Mother’s Day in the U.S?
Americans will spend a record $25 billion on Mother’s Day in 2019. Nearly 86 percent of U.S. adults are expected to celebrate.
“Mother’s Day spending has been growing consistently over the past several years, and this year’s spending (2019) is expected to be the highest in the 16-year history of our survey,” says National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay. “Consumers are excited to celebrate all the moms in their lives, and retailers are ready to inspire consumers with unique gift options.”
While the number of people celebrating Mother’s Day is in line with last year’s 86 percent, those celebrating are expected to spend more at an average $196 compared with $180 in 2018. Consumers ages 35-44 are likely to spend the most at an average $248, up from $224, and men are likely to spend more than women at $237 compared with $158.
10 Mother’s Day quotes from 9 funny moms
“I want to thank my parents for somehow raising me to have confidence disproportionate with my looks and abilities.”
“I cannot stress enough that the answer to life’s questions is often in people’s faces. Try putting your iPhones down once in a while and look in people’s faces. People’s faces will tell you amazing things. Like if they are angry, or nauseous or asleep.”
“I love being a mom and having two kids. But I’ve had two C-sections, and I have suffered enough. That’s my favourite mantra when it comes to motherhood.”
“They say that when a woman wants to end a relationship, she cuts off all of her hair. I’ve done that twice in my marriage but am still married.”
“I always tell young people when I’m trying to encourage them, ‘You have certain windows in your life, and you have to take advantage of it. You gotta jump through because they will shut on you.’”
“I guess if I wrote a book one day, it would be about hair.”
“I’m capable of living in the moment. And I’m especially capable of living in the moment of sitting on my sofa and watching other people’s moments.”
“I’ve never felt like I needed to change. I’ve always thought, ‘If you want somebody different, pick somebody else.’ But sure, criticism can sometimes still get to me. Some things are so malicious, they knock the wind out of you.”
“Right now, I’m hankering for new adventures… Ninety percent of the time I’m having romantic-comedy fantasies in which I’m wearing little pencil skirts and hurrying down to the subway.”
“I’m not that good looking… nobody is that good looking. I have seen a lot of movie stars, and maybe four are amazing looking. The rest have a team of gay guys who make it happen.”
Mother's Day - Survey Results
Mother's Day Activities
Ever notice how your mom always says she doesn’t want expensive presents? Believe her. She just wants to spend some time with you (yes, it’s a cliché, but that doesn’t make it any less true). So, take a hike or plan a picnic. Help her in the garden or hit the town. Even if it’s no more creative than a big bowl of popcorn and a “GOT” marathon, Mom will enjoy the QT more than any tangible present.
Take her out. Find an amazing restaurant and treat Mom to a mimosa or three. Planning on taking her out later? The sky’s the limit for lunch and dinner options. Plan ahead. Make a reservation. Remember, you're an adult now.
Listening is an act of love. So, with that in mind, take a break from talking about your own problems and listen to her talk about her life, her dreams, or her favorite memories. If you have siblings, get the family together and tell stories!
Take The Mother's Day Quiz
Top 10 Movie Moms We Wish Existed
Why We Love Mother's Day
Like so many constants in our lives, we sometimes take our parents for granted. After all, we’ve known them all our lives. Yes, we know that Mother’s Day can feel somewhat commercialized and obligatory, but if you can think outside the checkbook and do something truly special for (or better yet, with) your mother, then why not do it?
She can do it all
For the first couple of years, your mom fed you, protected you, and read “Goodnight Moon” to you until she knew it by heart. After that came the lessons in how to share, to try new foods, and to not wallop your brother over the head with a metal Tonka truck. She encouraged your curiosity, indulged your interests, helped form your sense of humor. In other words, she made you, well, you.
An inclusive celebration
Maybe the woman who gave birth to you isn’t with you now —but it’s a good bet that there are other strong, influential women in your life. Mother figures come in many shapes, so don’t take Mother’s Day too literally. Say thank you to any or all of the women you know who work hard and love others, since that’s essentially what mothering is all about.