Becoming the Best U: Your questions about Mothers’ Day

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By Nancy Plummer, Columnist, The Times

Question: Mother’s Day is coming up and I need advice. My daughter, who lives nearby, just had her second child and I have no idea how to help her celebrate this wonderful holiday. My daughter isn’t one for chocolate or flowers. Any ideas?

Sue – Philadelphia

Answer: I agree with you, Sue, Mother’s Day is a wonderful holiday and its origin is based in Philadelphia! In the early 1900’s, Anna Jarvis wished to honor her deceased mother and all mothers for the sacrifices they make for their children. She pushed for a national holiday and got the financial backing from John Wanamaker himself. In May 1908, one of the John Wanamaker stores in Philadelphia held a Mother’s Day celebration and in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially established Mother’s Day on the second Sunday in May. Ironically, when Mother’s Day blossomed into retailers’ marketing campaigns to sell cards, flowers, chocolate, and other gifts, Jarvis was so disgusted she disrupted the Philadelphia Mother’s Day convention and was arrested for disturbing the peace. Needless to say, she didn’t succeed in getting this holiday abolished. However, many people nowadays agree with Jarvis and try to celebrate Mother’s Day without retailers raking in profits, much like your daughter. Here are a few suggestions that are less traditional:

  1. Babysit your grandchildren either on Mother’s Day or give her some coupons for future dates.
  1. Make dinner for your daughter or her favorite dessert and celebrate at her place or yours, whichever she prefers.
  1. Help your daughter clean her house or any project she’s been avoiding such as weeding the garden or painting a room.
  1. Write a poem or letter to your daughter celebrating her as a daughter and mother.
  1. Make a painting or footprint collage (easier than handprints with a baby) and frame it as a surprise for your daughter.

If nothing here strikes a chord I suggest you ask your daughter how she would like to celebrate Mother’s Day and honor her wishes.

To all those who love the cards, flowers, chocolates, and other gifts, please know you are not alone. In 2021 Americans spent over 28 billion dollars on Mother’s Day!

Question: Am I really expected to celebrate Mother’s Day now that I’m 43 years old? I’ve always loved my mom and she’s always loved me. I don’t think I need to do anything special to show her.

Brian – Newtown Square

Answer: The simple answer is yes. Although she knows you love her, it’s important to honor her on this special day. The fact that you both have felt mutual admiration for 43 years is even more of a reason to celebrate the sacrifices she made for you. You need not lavish her with expensive gifts. I think most moms appreciate spending time with children or hand written messages stating how much they are appreciated. It’s one day. Make the most of it.  As Honore De Balzac said, “A mother’s happiness is like a beacon, lighting up the future but reflected also on the past in the guise of fond memories.”

Nancy is a survivor of stage 4 ovarian cancer, metastatic brain cancer, plus many other traumatic events. As a Wellness & Relationship Coach, she offers sage advice on ways to accept and navigate life’s challenges, and help you become the best you.

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