Few holidays succeed in disappointing mothers and striking terror into the hearts of fathers on an annual basis more than Mother's Day. The holiday—which once served as a simple way to honor mothers—now conjures up images of crowded brunches, breakfast in bed, and sappy Hallmark cards. It's developed into a commercialized, ridiculous holiday overwrought with expectations.
It wasn't always this way. Anna Jarvis spearheaded the first Mother's Day events in 1908 to honor her own mother, a Sunday School teacher and caregiver for wounded soldiers during the Civil War. From that point on, she campaigned zealously for the holiday to become official and in 1914, Congress recognized it as such. Quickly, the floral and greeting-card industries became enraptured with the commercial possibilities of the holiday.
By 1920, disgusted by the onslaught of remunerative avenues, Jarvis began urging people to stop buying flowers and cards for their mothers. In a press release, she wrote florists and greeting card manufacturers were "charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations." She went door-to-door collecting petitions to rescind Mother's Day and spent the rest of her life trying to abolish the holiday she founded.