Beyond Mother’s Day facts and figures
How did we get to the month of May already? That means Mother’s Day is just around the corner. The commercial success of this holiday is impressive–Americans spend $14.6 billion on gifts including $671 million on cards and $1.9 billion on flowers. There are about 122.5 million phone calls on the second Sunday of the month and about 152 million Mother’s Day cards are sent every year.
Beyond the business side, Mother’s Day has some unique footnotes that add to the special recognition it deserves. Did you know that every sweater worn by Mr. Rogers on his television show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood was hand-knit by his mother? Or that in the animal kingdom, the mother who gives birth to the largest baby on Earth is a mother elephant? After enduring 22 months of pregnancy, she gives birth to a blind, 200-pound calf.
Mothers have influenced history and culture such as when the nineteenth amendment to the Constitution granting women the vote was passed by only one vote. Tennessee was the 36th state to ratify the Amendment, and it passed the legislature when Harry Burn, a young legislator, changed his vote to “yes” after receiving a letter from his mother telling him to “do the right thing.” Hollywood heard from moms about Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory which was a box office failure because mothers thought the lessons were “too cruel” for children to understand. That’s a mother all right.
In the United States there are an estimated 85.4 million mothers and about 2 billion moms worldwide. A mother will have changed approximately 7,300 diapers by the time her baby turns two taking an average time of 2 minutes and 5 seconds per change, the equivalent of approximately 11 days. Today the average age of new moms in the U.S is 25 years compared to 21 years old in 1970. The word for mom is “mama” in Mandarin Chinese, “mamma” in Iceland, “em” in Hebrew, and “me” in Vietnamese. Because one of the first utterances babies make is a “ma” sound, most languages worldwide have that sound in their word for mother.
What I like most about researching moms are the heartwarming stories such as one about an adopted man in Michigan who searched for his birth mother for four years before finding out that she worked at the same Lowe’s store where he worked. Bet that reunion was full of tears. However, my favorite: is that it was a mother who invented Father’s Day. Yes, that’s a mother all right.