It was Anna Jarvis who championed Mother's Day into being a national holiday in the United States. Mother's Day is celebrated all over the world at different times of the year; it's connected with fertility and goddesses, with the notion of going back to one's 'mother church'. After the Civil War in the U.S., 'mother's day work clubs' were created to help teach mothering skills and from that a project to get Union and Confederate soldiers together arose. Before Jarvis, abolitionists and suffragettes called for all mothers to come together to promote peace. Jarvis, who never had children of her own, worked with department stores and floral companies in the early 1900's to gain support for Mother's Day. Once it became a national holiday in 1914 she wore a white carnation on the Sunday holiday and encouraged people to visit church and their mothers to thank them for their sacrifices. By 1920 Jarvis was so disgusted by the capitalism of the holiday, so turned off by the emphasis on buying flowers and gifts, that she went to the capitol to try to reverse it. She spent the rest of her life fighting to abolish the corrupt holiday.
The history of Mother's Day gives me some comfort, helps me understand my own mixed emotions around what I mostly consider to be a hallmark holiday. I'm turned off by the capitalist vapidity and am wrestling with myself around offering a #mothersdaysale. My feelings are mixed because I DO believe in pausing to make sure we all thank our mothers. I've taken the opportunity to meditation on mothering, on the way I mother myself and others, how my friends and sister and strangers mother me and one another. All three of my grandmother figures passed in the last year and a half; I have spent the past year navigating their emotional and physical legacies, becoming steward of their objects and memories. My own mother passed when I was 20 and inspires me daily. I've been sharing vignettes about all of them, and my thoughts on mothering on instagram, follow me if you'd like.
Besides enjoying the mother meditation, I'm also a maker and many of the objects I make are great for giving as gifts. Giving gifts can be joyful, particularly when they're a good fit, handmade, have a back story, aren't compulsory. So I'm pushing through the discomfort of the opportunistic capitalism and leaning into the social justice tradition of using Mother's Day to highlight 'women's issues' (which REALLY ARE EVERYONE'S ISSUES).
I will donate 10% of proceeds from this sale to Planned Parenthood Action Fund because I believe protecting reproductive rights is essential for a healthy society and that honoring mothers is about honoring women's choices and access to affordable care. Unfortunately, we're still fighting the same battle our mothers fought, and access to reproductive health care is at alarming risk. Here's a link to the mother's day collection I put together. Please share it, use it as a moment to contemplate mother and mothering, choose a gift for yourself or someone else, or donate directly to your favorite women and earth loving charities. Order by Tuesday night for shipping to arrive by this Saturday.
If you're in New Orleans, come by Potence Collective noon-6pm Tues-Saturday to see what's available from me and all of our lovely talented femme makers. We'll be open late (till 9pm) this Saturday the 11th for the Magazine street Champagne Stroll, and we'll have work from new artists!
Thanks to all of you for your love and support. May you have an empowered week among these glorious spring flowers.