As Meghan Trainor says in her new song, "Mom" (conveniently released just before Mother's Day): "You might have a mom, she might be the bomb, but nobody else got a mom like mine." This sentiment is rather common, especially in the greeting-card aisle. Regardless, moms deserve to be celebrated — no matter how treacly the sentiment. Here are five things to keep in mind while you're out trying to find the perfect last-minute gift for her.
1 When did we start celebrating mothers? The celebration of mothers has been around for millennia, such as the celebration of the ancient Greek mother goddesses, Rhea and Cybele, according to History.com. The modern Sunday celebration comes from a 19th century holiday called "Mothering Sunday" that took place on the fourth Sunday of Lent. This was more about attending the "mother" church in your region rather than giving your mom a gift, according to the site, but it gradually became the tradition we celebrate today.
2 When did the first modern Mother's Day happen? Before the Civil War, community organizer Anne Reeves Jarvis started Mothers' Day Work Clubs, which taught mothers the best way to care for their kids and keep them healthy, according to National Geographic. After the war, Jarvis organized Mother's Friendship Day picnics for mothers to gather with soldiers who fought on both sides of the war and help reconcile them. After Jarvis died, her daughter, Anna Jarvis, got the first official Mother's Day started in Philadelphia in 1908. In 1914, Woodrow Wilson made it an official holiday on the second Sunday of May.
3 How much is spent on cards annually? Don't moms always say, "You'd better get a card to go with that gift"? So don't forget one for her. According to the Greeting Card Association, a national trade group, Mother's Day ranks as the third biggest card-buying holiday, with 133 million units sold. (Valentine's Day is second at 145 million units, and Christmas leads with 1.6 billion units sold, including boxed cards.) The average card costs between two and four bucks. Let's not even get started on the singing ones.
4 What do moms want? A new survey from RetailMeNot.com says that 25 percent of moms would like a nice meal for Mother’s Day, 16 percent would prefer a gift card (Mom likes to make her own decisions), and 13 percent would most enjoy the day off. Meanwhile, only 8 percent say they want flowers, and 6 percent want sweets.
5 How many mothers work outside the home? Think hard about giving her a day off, she probably needs it. According to 2014 statistics from the Department of Labor, 70.1 percent of mothers with kids under the age of 18 are part of the work force. That's a lot of women taking on the full-time job of motherhood and managing a career at the same time. Even if your mom didn't work outside the home, you should be making up for years of headaches when dealing with you was her "only" job.
John Paul Stapleton can be reached at email@example.com.