The Day After Mother’s Day

If you’re reading this, congratulations. You survived yet another Mother’s Day. One of the downfalls of social media is being unable to escape current happenings, holidays, et cetera. I’m more active than ever on twitter, Instagram, and Facebook these days and while I’ve willingly made that choice, I can’t help but roll my eyes in Anderson Cooperesque fashion at the steady stream of #momlove.

I don’t have anything against moms. I have a mom (hi mom!) and I love her dearly. However, I think we would both agree that I should take advantage of the 365 opportunities per year to appreciate her, not just the one commercially-driven day. I recently heard of someone who would agree with me on this: Anna Jarvis. Just who is she?

Anna Jarvis is the founder of Mother’s Day. She created the holiday in memory of her own mother who cared for wounded soldiers in the Civil War. Jarvis’ mother may have been her source of inspiration in more ways than one since she also established a holiday of sorts – Mother’s Friendship Day. This celebration was used to establish peace between Union and Confederate moms. Although Anna Jarvis founded Mother’s Day from a place love and admiration, she grew to regret having created it once commercialism took over.

She referred to the florists, greeting card manufacturers and the confectionery industry as “charlatans, bandits, pirates, racketeers, kidnappers and termites that would undermine with their greed one of the finest, noblest and truest movements and celebrations.”

-Jonathan Mulinix, The Founder of Mother’s Day Later Fought to Have It Abolished,

Jarvis lived out the last of her days in a mental asylum. Now, we can’t say Mother’s Day is what drove her mad but one of her last public appearances included going door-to-door petitioning Philadelphians to rescind the holiday. Hm.

Many today have similar beefs with how commercialized Mother’s Day has become, referring to it as a Hallmark holiday. Plenty of women who are not mothers also have a difficult time accepting this day as it fails acknowledge the 48% of women who do not have children and the 1 in 8 couples who are infertile.

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The Nonprocreating Presidents of the United States of America

But who will carry on your legacy?

This is one example of a bingo, or common phrase one may hear when they tell others they do not want children. I don’t hear this one very often but when I do, I can’t help but chuckle. It’s hard to formulate a proper response.

I think to myself, It will be no great tragedy if my lineage ends with me. But if I say that aloud, I may sound self-loathing or perhaps a bit antinatalistic. It’s just that when I contemplate legacies being carried on through generations, I don’t think of myself, I think of kings and queens and even prime ministers and presidents. I wonder if George Washington himself was bingoed when he didn’t carry on his legacy.

History has shown us time and time again that if a person’s legacy is truly of importance, it will live on through his or her own name.

This is true of the following childless presidents of the United States:

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