The history of Mother’s Day is more than the sad story of the exploitation of a holiday for political or commercial profit. It also reflects the changing attitudes and perceptions of a woman’s role in her family and in her community. Mother’s Day was first intended to honor the work that mothers did in serving their neighbors and communities. A mother’s responsibility extended beyond the doorstep. Then, due to political and social influence, Mothers’ Day became Mother’s Day. The focus shifted from honoring mothers in general for their community service to honoring one’s own mother for her domestic service.
As the story of Mother’s Day illustrates, family roles have changed over the course of time because of the external pressures of society, technology and social movements, as well as the family’s internal responses to those pressures. Yet, with these changes there seems to be the feeling that something is lost, and there is a yearning for a more traditional way of life. But a return to a nostalgic past may not be what is required to equip the family to face the rigors and pressures of modern life. Perhaps instead, a search for authentic, fundamental values would provide mothers and families with the tools they need, regardless of societal conditions or pressures.