Mother's Day Teaching Tools

History of Mother’s Day:

  • Mother’s Day in the United States was first proclaimed in 1870 in Boston by Julia Ward Howe, and Howe called for it to be observed each year nationally in 1872. As originally envisioned, Howe’s "Mother’s Day" was a call for pacifism and disarmament by women. Early "Mother’s Day" was mostly marked by women’s peace groups. A common early activity was the meeting of groups of mothers whose sons had fought or died on opposite sides of the American Civil War.
  • In 1907 Mother’s Day was first celebrated in a small private way by Anna Jarvis in Grafton, West Virginia, to commemorate the anniversary of her mother’s death two years earlier on May 9, 1905. Jarvis’s mother, also named Anna Jarvis, had been active in Mother’s Day campaigns for peace and worker’s safety and health. The younger Jarvis launched a quest to get wider recognition of Mother’s Day. The celebration organized by Jarvis on May 10, 1908 involved 407 children with their mothers at the Andrew’s Methodist Church in Grafton. The following campaign to recognize Mother’s Day was financed by clothing merchant John Wanamaker. As the custom of Mother’s Day spread, the emphasis shifted from the pacifism and reform movements to a general appreciation of mothers.
  • The first official recognition of the holiday was by West Virginia in 1910.
  • A proclamation designating the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day was signed by U.S. president Woodrow Wilson on May 14, 1914.
  • A tradition calls for the wearing of carnations on Mother’s Day—a red one if one’s mother is alive, and white if she has died. 

Mothers in the Proverbs: 

Proverbs 6:20-22 – My son, keep your father’s command, and don’t reject your mother’s teaching. Always bind them to your heart; tie them around your neck. When you walk here and there, they will guide you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; when you wake up, they will talk to you.

Proverbs 23:22-25 – Listen to your father who gave you life,and don’t despise your mother when she is old. Buy—and do not sell—truth, wisdom, instruction, and understanding. The father of a righteous son will rejoice greatly, and one who fathers a wise son will delight in him. Let your father and mother have joy, and let her who gave birth to you rejoice

Proverbs 29:15 – A rod of correction imparts wisdom, but a youth left to himself is a disgrace to his mother

Proverbs 31:10-12 – Who can find a capable wife? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, and he will not lack anything good. She rewards him with good, not evil, all the days of her life.

Proverbs 31:28-29 – Her sons rise up and call her blessed. Her husband also praises her: “Many women are capable, but you surpass them all!”


  • 81% of women 40 to 44 years old are mothers. In 1980, 90 percent of women in that age group were mothers.
  • 67% of women in Kentucky, ages 15 to 44, are mothers. This is among the highest rates in the nation. The national average is 57 percent.
  • 11% of women end their childbearing years with four or more children, compared with 36 percent in 1976.
  • 24.8 is the median age of women when they give birth for the first time – meaning one-half are above this age and one-half are below. The median age has risen nearly three years since 1970.
  • A woman becomes pregnant most easily at the age of eighteen or nineteen, with little real change until the mid twenties. There is then a slow decline to age thirty-five, a sharper decline to age forty-five and a very rapid decline as the women nears menopause.
  • The odds of a woman delivering twins is 1-in-33. Her odds of having triplets or other multiple births was approximately 1-in-539.
  • In humans, most multiple births involve twins – about once in every thirty-three births. By contrast, triplets naturally occur about once in every 7900 births and quadruplets about once in every 705,000 births.
  • August is the most popular month in which to have a baby, with more than 360,000 births taking place that month in 2001.
  • Tuesday is the most popular day of the week in which to have a baby, with an average of more than 12,000 births taking place on Tuesdays during 2001.
  • In the United States, between 1997 and 1999, 539 births were reported among mothers over age 50.
  • In 2002, the 55% of American women with infant children were in the workforce, compared to 31% in 1976, and down from 59% in 1998. In 2002, there were 5.4 million stay-at-home mothers in the US.
  • The statistics for 2004 revealed that 35.7 percent of all births were to unmarried women and that the percentage of unmarried mothers increased for all ages and races. The increase translates to almost 1.5 million children being born were to unwed mothers, up significantly – four percent – from 2003.


Mother’s Day accounts for more than one-fifth of the floral purchases made for holidays.

  • Of fresh flowers purchased for Mother’s Day: 42% are mixed flowers, 33% roses, 10% carnations, 2% orchids, 1% chrysanthemums/daisies, 1% lilies and 11% other single flower types.  
  • Of bedding/garden plants purchased for Mother’s Day: 15% are geraniums, 15% impatiens, 12% petunias, and 58% other.
  • Of flowering houseplants purchased for Mother’s Day: 12% azaleas, 5% African violets, 5% are lilies, 3% chrysanthemums, and 75% other. 


  1. Mary says

    A stat that should be considered when planning your Mother’s Day service:
    1 in 6 couples in the U.S. have experienced or are experiencing infertility.
    Please don’t forget that Mother’s Day is painful for many: For those struggling with infertility, who desperately long for what is being celebrated that day. For those who have been abandoned, neglected, or abused by their mothers. For those whose mother’s have left this earth. For those who are estranged from their mothers. For those moms who are estranged from their children. For those mothers who have faced having to bury their children. For many, many others whose lives don’t fit into the Hallmark version of the holiday.
    For those, may the church remember that the instruction to rejoice with those who rejoice also instructs to mourn with those who mourn, weep those who weep. Please be sensitive to those who are hurting when, in my experience, people have been especially insensitive.

  2. Thom Rainer says

    Mary –
    Thank you for the reminders. You have made a valuable contribution with your empathy and love for those who are hurting. I know. My daughter-in-law Rachel must struggle with the reminder that her son and my grandson is no longer with her. Thank you again.

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