Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal – or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help. Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don’t worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

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“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.”  —Anna Jarvis

In May 1907, Anna Jarvis celebrated her deceased mother in church in one of the first Mother’s Day remembrances. Anna’s mother, Ann, had created Civil War Mother’s Day Work Clubs in several cities in northern West Virginia. These clubs worked to help wounded Union and Confederate soldiers without bias. Then, after the war, Ann invented Mother’s Friendship Day with the purpose “to reunite families that had been divided during the Civil War." But Ann died in 1905 before this idea took hold.

After the 1907 celebration, Anna began campaigning for America to adopt Mother’s Day as a national holiday. With help from successful merchant John Wanamaker, West Virginia declared an official day in 1910. By May of 1914, President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed the second Sunday in May, Mother’s Day.

Within a few short years, Mother’s Day grew highly commercialized, and Anna became upset with what her own holiday had become. She spent her last money and years protesting against Mother’s Day. She died in 1948 wishing she “never would have started the day because it became so out of control ...”

Today, according to Wikipedia, “Mother’s Day is one of the most commercially successful American occasions, having become the most popular day of the year to dine out at a restaurant in the United Statesand generating a significant portion of the U.S. jewelry industry's annual revenue. Americans spend approximately $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts—like spa treatments—and another $68 million on greeting cards.”

Mother’s Day, like your birthday or Valentine’s Day, holds great expectations, and we each have big ideas of how it should be celebrated. But as mothers, we come to learn that diapers, bills, and soccer practices often take precedence over sunset picnics at the beach. And like Anna learned, sometimes things don’t always turn out as we had planned.

In your journal today, allow yourself to envision and detail your ideal Mother’s Day. This day can be as long and as lovely as you can imagine. Explore any idea that comes to mind. In a world where anything can happen, where everyone follows your rules, where there are no limits and you can even control the weather, what would your perfect day- commercialized or not- be like?

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Do YOU have a journaling topic or writing prompt you’d like to suggest? Send an email to lmblogcontacteditor (at) literarymama (dot) com. We’d love to hear from you!


Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer and blogger, focusing on nature and science stories. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Terrain.org, Newfound, Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.


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