How Many Bone$ Should You Be Dropping On Mother's Day?

Illustration for article titled How Many Bone$ Should You Be Dropping On Mother's Day?

Holiday origin stories are fun because of their Crazy Straw timelines. From a one-room school singing that Happy Birthday song that their teacher made up, through the twists and turns of history and economic recessions and cultural shifts, that finally ends at 50 Cent rapping about not giving a fuck if it's not your birthday.


Mother's Day is similar in its traverse from cozy folk celebration to massive Hallmark holiday. A post on Psychology Today explores the roots of the 24-Hour Mom Appreciation Extravaganza: In 1907, a woman named Anna Marie Jarvis suggested that children write notes of appreciation to their parents. In 1914, President Wilson declared it a national holiday, and by the 1920s it had become an uber-capitalist rite of passage. (Ideal gifts for Mom: Jalopy? Bathtub gin?)

In just ten years, there's been a 20% increase on Mother's Day spending — from $97.37 in 2003 to $152.52 in 2013 — which researchers attribute to the increasingly older overall population. In other words, only a small demographic of people celebrating their moms are still in the glittery-macaroni-card age range. Incidentally, the moment I truly became an adult may have been the time my dad said, just before Father's Day of 2007, "Don't make me another mix CD. I want headphones." I was a little butthurt about this at the time, but in retrospect, of COURSE he wanted headphones. Jesus Christ.

Anna Marie Jarvis would have had a shit fit about this. ("A printed card means nothing except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world. And candy! You take a box to Mother—and then eat most of it yourself. A pretty sentiment." Fun fact: She never had kids.)

N-E-wayz, do you think the copious spa Groupons and Real Simple subscriptions depersonalize Mother's Day? And how much do you usually spend on her present? I'll start: I bought my mom two tickets to My Name is Asher Lev.

'Mother's Day Spending: Is Commercialization To Blame?' []



Mother Dodger gets nothing from me. In college, I scraped together the money I had and sent a lavish bouquet of flowers to her work the Friday before. Result: a call at my internship with her bawling her eyes out, accusing me of sending them to her job so that I "looked like a good daughter." I used to send cards, but Hallmark doesn't really have an aisle for obligatory-yet-meaningless occasions. Like, "happy mother's day, here's a card, I won't blow smoke up your ass about how you were a loving force in my life." After my wedding, which she nearly ruined by pouting during the whole thing (she was scandalized that I wore lipstick -whorish!- and that my husband and I walked down the aisle together during the entrance), I just stopped acknowledging her altogether. Seems harsh, but she has a narcissistic personality disorder, and my therapist says that no-contact is the best. She was right.