Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mother's Day's Coming Up

May 9th is Mother’s Day here in the U. S. (UK also celebrates a day for mothers, as do many countries the world over.)

Did you know the founder of our Mother’s Day was a West Virginian? We here in the U. S. were among the last to designate a special day for moms. But, I can’t think of a state wherein the emblem of family could be more prominent. To West Virginians, mother and family are central to all communities. Moms are tops.

Here’s the short version of the story of the origin from

“In the United States, Mother's Day did not become an official holiday until 1915. Its establishment was due largely to the perseverance and love of one daughter, Anna Jarvis. Anna's mother had provided strength and support as the family made their home in West Virginia and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania where her father served as a minister. As a girl, Anna had helped her mother take care of her garden, mostly filled with white carnations, her mother's favorite flower. When Mrs. Jarvis died on May 5, 1905, Anna was determined to honor her. She asked the minister at her church in West Virginia to give a sermon in her mother's memory. On the same Sunday in Philadelphia, their minister honored Mrs. Jarvis and all mothers with a special Mother's Day service. Anna Jarvis began writing to congressmen, asking them to set aside a day to honor mothers. In 1910, the governor of West Virginia proclaimed the second Sunday in May as Mother's Day and a year later every state celebrated it.”

Over the decades, motherhood has changed considerably. Here are some notable aspects taken from an article in this morning’s news, by Rachael Rettner of Life Science:

“Today’s moms are older and more educated. In fact, motherhood statistics have changed dramatically over the last couple of decades. Births to teen mothers are on the decline, while the opposite is true for women over 35. A growing percentage of mothers are not married, and single moms tend to be younger.

Other interesting notes:

• The percentage of teen moms and moms over 35 has just about flipped. In 1990, 13 percent of births were to teens while 9 percent were to women over 35. In 2008, the percentages were 10 percent to teens and 14 percent to women over 35.

• The percentage of single moms grew from 28 percent in 1990 to a record 41 percent in 2008.

• More than half of moms, 54 percent, had at least some college-level education in 2006, up from 41 percent in 1990.

• Birth rates for women aged 35 to 39 increased by 47 percent, and rates for women aged 40 to 44 increased by 80 percent over the time period.

• The overall number of babies born has remained relatively stable, rising from 4.2 million in 1990 to 4.3 million in 2008. The country saw a dip in the total number of births coinciding with the recent recession.

The changing demographics are likely influenced by a number of factors, the researchers write. For instance, the higher percentage of single moms could result from a rise in births to this group as well as a drop in overall marriages in the country and the fact that women are marrying later."

I am not a mom.  The closest I've been to motherhood, was teaching school.  As a teacher, though,  I cherished not just working with students, but more to the point, working with parents--mothers mostly--who took the time and the effort to be the bridge between school and home.  Parenting--mothering--is key to a child's success. 

Happy Mother’s Day to all this coming Sunday!

1 comment:

  1. A very comprehensive look at Mother's Day. I don't forget the big mother on that day -- Mother Earth! -- barbara