why yes, that’s me with Kathie Lee Gifford. This skeptical non-TV-watcher fell completely in love with her, but that’s a whole ‘nother post. With equally awesome Monteserrat on my right and Kim on the far left.
It’s the best mother’s association you’ve probably never heard of.
Late in the Civil War, Anna Reeves Jarvis gathered mothers from both sides of the battle in an effort to help families and our nation heal. Even after the war, mothers continued creating bonds of friendship and their annual gathering grew into our national holiday– Mother’s Day.
In 1935, with Sara Delano Roosevelt serving as Honorary Chairman, American Mothers was sponsored by J.C. Penny and charged with the task of honoring mothers and promoting Mother’s Day.
No better organization exists to foster understanding and unity among the mothers of America and eventually, the world (they have a seat in the United Nations). Mothers of all faiths stand side-by-side and really, truly, I-am-not-kidding-you, equal respect is given to mothers who earn a paycheck and those who don’t. Because let’s face it– most of us will take on all sorts of different roles during our lifetime.
So why haven’t you heard of it? Frankly, they need our Internet/Facebook/blogging/Instagram generation. They need writers and photographers, jokesters and women passionate about raising their children as good, moral people.
They need a few hundred thousand more mothers. And then we will change the world. Because I’m certain it’s our generation– the ones who have been chatting with women of every faith, color and economic circumstance, who understand we have so much more in common than not. We might completely disagree on politics and religion but our mother hearts are the same– they tie us together. You’ve heard of the Band of Brothers? Our generation can create the Band of Mothers.
Every woman I met at the National Convention this weekend captured my heart— the polio survivor, the concert pianist, the West Wing exec, the writers and teachers and laywers– every one passionate about mothering and trusting in God. My conviction that mothers naturally create unity was reinforced in every way. But we need more mothers, we need everyone.
How I think we can make AMI grow:
First, they need to ditch the Mother of the Year Award. Oops, I’d better save that for the end.
First– several states don’t even have organizations or a current president: Connecticut, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming. And even the ones with organizations didn’t sent a Young Mother representative: Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
Ahem, Tracy, Tif, Melissa, Emily, Julie, Jen, Jenni and Jennie, Stacey, Jan, Kristin… y’all know who you are. Start one up in your state. Email me if you have questions. Then we’ll get this party started….
Second– organizing a fun service project recruits members better than any luncheon. Do you primarily know women from your own church and neighborhood? Wander a few streets out of your comfort zone and find women who want to quilt blankets for the women’s shelter or host a used clothing drive. Gathering for a common cause inspires friendships that will ease tension in local politics, schools and sports competitions.
Because I love parties, I plan to host an unbirthday party for a group of refugee children. Many refugee children don’t even know their own birth date but have heard of these parties at school. My darling friend Emi offered the idea. Games, cakes, singing, presents, jump rope and crafts! I’ll be recruiting in my neighborhood and at the local Protestant, Catholic and Jewish congregations as well as my own Mormon church.
Third– create a mom-to-mom conference. The event should be free or cost no more than a nice lunch. Local mothers will be happy to lead panels on every sort of parenting subject and we can all learn from each other. Yes, our church hosts events like this all the time– but we’re missing out on the collective knowledge and friendships in the rest of our community.
First— Last– the whole Mother of the Year designation has got to go. OK, this would take time to change, but I believe removing the title and any sniff of comparison would add inclusiveness to AMI. No one wants to compete with a group of supermoms, but we all want to find like-minded women passionate and encouraging about mothering.
And we are all Mother of the Year (every year) to our children.