By a margin of 33-14, the Senate contemptuously returned this first Mother’s Day resolution to committee. But a few constitutionalist pettifoggers were not going to stop Anna Jarvis. She enlisted the potent support of the World’s Sunday School Association. By 1914, members of Congress were falling all over each other in praise of a federally sanctioned day of maternal homage. Mother’s Day, celebrated on the second Sunday of May, was here to stay.
(The logical companion to Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, took decades to catch on, despite assiduous propagandizing by the necktie industry.)
But a funny thing happened on the way to the florist. Anna Jarvis, the mother of Mother’s Day, became its harshest critic.
Jarvis denounced the greeting card and gift and candy manufacturers who battened on her day. In vain, she urged sons and daughters to buy buttons instead of flowers for mom; she called greeting cards “a poor excuse for the letter you are too lazy to write.” The embittered Jarvis concluded that “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and other termites” had corrupted “with their greed one of the finest, noblest, truest Movements and celebrations known.”
The rest of Bill Kauffman's takedown of Mother's Day