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The Origins Of Mother’s Day Are Wilder Than Most People Would Suspect

This Mother's Day, as you're sealing the envelope on a sentimental greeting card or cooking up a big breakfast, keep in mind that this holiday didn't always exist. Honoring moms is a no-brainer, and thanks to the efforts of some motivated mama's girls (and a few boys, too), Americans have an official day to express our gratitude to the women who keep the world spinning. But for a holiday devoted to children celebrating mothers, there was more drama in its inception than you'd probably think. It wasn't always flowers, chocolates, and big hugs. In fact, the battle for the title of Mother's Day Creator was, at times, downright nasty...

Looking up to her mother

Anna Jarvis was a mama's girl through and through. She admired her vocal, progressive mother, Ann Reeves, and followed in her political footsteps. Initially, the spark of creating a holiday honoring maternal figures was an idea that Jarvis took from her mom. However, that nice thought would prove to be far more complicated than she expected.

A day for appreciation and remembrance

So, emboldened by the memory of her late mother, who had succumbed to illness three years prior, Jarvis planned a memorial to honor not just her own mama, but all the special moms out there. May 10, 1908, marked the first official observance of International Mother's Day.

The presidential stamp of approval

Signing it in ink, President Woodrow Wilson marked Mother's Day a national holiday. Occurring the second Sunday of May, all across the U.S. families gather to celebrate the maternal figures in their lives and give them deserved recognition.

Others try to take credit

Even though President Wilson gave Jarvis credit for kickstarting Mother's Day, not everyone else was ready to bestow her the title of "creator." She put up her dukes, ready to fight for the right to be called the Mother's Day Matriarch.