The very first Mother’s Day was celebrated in West Virginia in 1908. It was organised by Ann Jarvis as a memorial to honour her beloved mother who spent much of her life helping others. Ann’s mother devoted her life to educating mothers and improving sanitary conditions to stem her community’s appalling infant mortality rates. Ann successfully campaigned to have Mother's Day recognised as a national holiday in most US states honouring all mothers, living and deceased.
In New Zealand, it is believed that the tradition of Mother’s Day was not due to the American custom, but was instead inspired by Selina Cosgrove, wife of Lieutenant Colonel David Cosgrove who started the New Zealand scout movement in 1909. David had wished for the scouts to honour Selina’s birthday, but instead she requested and preferred the scouts to honour their own mothers, which they ultimately did.
Today, Mother’s Day is a more of a commercial venture, but it is important to remember the true nature and meaning of Mother’s Day and mark it with sincerity, especially now in the post-pandemic environment we currently find ourselves in. Mothers have played multiple roles over recent months providing care and support to those they love under difficult circumstances, often putting the needs of others ahead of their own. However, Mothers sometimes need reminding to also take care of themselves, especially when it comes to mental health. A mother who experiences good mental health, is more available to her children and family, more alert to their needs, and more able to engage in everyday activities.
If you are a Mum and struggling a little bit, it is advisable to seek help from a medical professional. Or, if you just want to talk to someone who understands, you can always call Lifeline on 0800 543 354 or text HELP to 4357.