Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mothers' Day

It's Mothers' Day today here in Australia and, while I have no problem with the day itself - mothers after all are one of the most important people in anyone's life - I have real problems with the commercialisation of the day. My kids know, and have known from when they were toddlers, that I don't want presents on Mothers Day. All I really want is to spend some time with them and, if they feel so inclined, flowers are always welcome - and that's what I have today.

Sagittarius and his family couldn't make it on the actual day but they came earlier and we had a lovely chance to catch up, Virgo called in a few hours ago with a gorgeous orchid and Pisces spoiled me with a huge bunch of chrysanthemums - white chrysanthemums being the traditional Mothers Day flowers here.

But while I and many other mothers might be happy with family time, low key as it is, it's impossible not to notice the overwhelming commercial build up. The media has been full of suggested gifts ranging from personal items like jewellery, the inevitable pale pink nighties and dressing gowns (woe betide those like me who detest pink), slippers and perfume (all of which at least suggest that the mother in question is being given something for herself) to the mundane - toasters, vacuum cleaners, washing machines and hardware items (because, of course, what every mother needs is to be reminded that her only function in life is to do housework). Then there's the patently ridiculous like the bedding company trying to sell a bedroom suite as a suitable present or another company that seems to think a storewide sale of floor coverings is the way to go.

Seeing this, it's no wonder that Anna Jarvis, the American woman who campaigned for Mothers Day to be recognised as an official holiday in the US, was so disgusted by the activities of retailers and florists cashing in on the day that within six years of its inception in 1914 she was actively lobbying to have it removed and continued to do so for the rest of her life. Despite her efforts it continues and has spread over much of the world, often supplanting older mothers' day traditions.

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