Happy Mother’s Day to New York, Connecticut and New Jersey mothers and all moms everywhere! Mother’s Day has been celebrated, in one form or another, as far back as the beginning of recorded history. In those days, it was a celebration of “Mother Gods,” such as Isis in Egypt, and Rhea in Greece. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Mother’s Day began to take on the form we’re familiar with today. Julia Ward Howe, who wrote The Battle Hymn of the Republic , disgusted by the Civil War’s destruction of families, proposed the holiday as a celebration of peace and motherhood.
Unfortunately, Ward Howe’s efforts fell flat, but a West Virginian Woman, Anna Reeves Jarvis, took up the cause to try and mend fences between Northern and Southern neighbors. The third woman to take up the banner, Jarvis’s daughter, Anna M. Jarvis, stopped working so she could petition state and federal governments full-time for the holiday to be officially recognized. In 1914, President Wilson declared the second Sunday in May Mother’s Day.
And now, for some fun Mother’s Day Trivia:
Mother’s Day is the second largest U.S. consumer spending holiday, behind the winter holidays of Christmas, Hanukah, and Kwanza. The average person will spend about $127 on Mother’s Day gifts, compared to $124 last year, reports the National Retail Federation. Total spending is expected to reach $14.6 billion. About two-thirds of celebrants will buy flowers, totaling $1.9 billion. An additional 52 percent will treat mom to a brunch or dinner, spending $2.9.
About 26 percent of consumers celebrating will buy jewelry, totaling $2.5 billion. Others will buy clothing or clothing accessories – $1.3 billion; gift certificates – $1.5 billion; personal service such spa day – $933 million; consumer electronics – $906 million; and greeting cards – $671 million.
Mother’s Day Trivia
–Mr. Rogers’s own mother knitted most of the sweaters he wore on his popular children’s show.
–The highest number of children born to one mother is 69, to a Russian woman whose name is unfortunately lost in history. Between 1725 and 1765, she gave birth to sixteen sets of twins, seven sets of triplets, and four sets of quadruplets. Only two did not survive infancy, which, given the times, I think is pretty amazing.
–An armadillo can stall her pregnancy for up to three years using delayed implantation while she finds a suitable environment in which to give birth. Armadillos also reproduce via natural cloning, where one fertilized egg splits into four identical embryos.
–Both Jack Nicholson and Eric Clapton were born to young, unwed mothers, and both grew up believing their grandparents to be their parents and their mothers to be their sisters.
–And the most selfless Mother’s Day gift-giver of all: Carole Horlock, of Hertfordshire, England. She’s acted as surrogate mother to childless couples since 1995, giving birth to eight girls and four boys.
Here are facts and figures on mothers from the U.S. Census Bureau:
Number of mothers
Estimated number of mothers in the United States in 2004 – – 82.8 million
Percentage of 15- to 44-year-olds who were mothers in 2006 – 55%
Percentage of women 40 to 44 who had given birth as of 2006 – 80%. In 1976, 90 percent of women in that age group had given birth.
Number of children
The total fertility rate or TFR, the number of births per woman in the U.S. in 2007 – – 2.1
The TFR in 2006 in Utah, which led the nation- 2.6. Vermont had the lowest TFR with 1.7 births per women.
Among the 37.8 million mothers living with children younger than 18 in 2004, the percentage who lived with their biological children only – 94%. In addition, 3 percent lived with stepchildren, 2 percent with adopted children, and less than 1 percent with foster children.
Moms who’ve recently given birth
Number of births in the United States in 2007. Of these, 445,045 were to teens 15 to 19 and 7,349 to mothers 45 to 54 – 4.3 million
Average age of women in 2006 when they gave birth for the first time, down from 25.2 years in 2005 – 25. This marks the first decline since 1968.
Percentage of births that were the mother’s first in 2007 – 40%. Another 32 percent were the second-born; 17 percent, third; and 11 percent, fourth or more.
Number of births in 2006 that were the mother’s eighth or more – 18,674
Number of births in 2006 that didn’t occur in hospitals – 38,568. Of these, 24,970 births occurred at home and 10,781 were in birthing centers.
Number of twin births per 1,000 total births in 2006 – 32.1.
Number of triplet and higher order multiple births per 100,000 total births in 2006 – 153.3.
The month with the highest number of births, with 387,798 taking place that month in 2006 – August.
The most common day of the week to deliver? Wednesday, with an average of 13,482 births taking place on Wednesdays during 2006. This is the first time since at least 1990 that a day other than Tuesday had this distinction.
The most popular baby names for boys and girls in 2008 – Jacob and Emma.
Number of births in the past year per 1,000 women 15 to 50 with a graduate or professional degree – 67. These women have a higher fertility rate than those with any other level of education.
Number of stay-at-home moms in 2009 – 5.1 million – down from 5.3 million in 2008. In 2009, 22.6 percent of married-couple family groups with children under 15 had a stay-at-home mother, down from 23.7 percent in 2008.
Employed moms and moms-to-be
Among mothers 15 to 50 with infants in 2006, the percentage in the labor force – 57%. A cluster of states in the Midwest and also Rhode Island, Maryland, Virginia, and Connecticut had rates higher than the national average.
Percentage of women who gave birth for the first time between 2001 and 2003 and worked during their pregnancy – 67%. This compares with 44 percent who gave birth for the first time between 1961 and 1965.
Among first-time mothers who worked during their pregnancy, the percentage who worked one month or less before giving birth in the early 2000s- 80%. This compares with 35 percent who did so between 1961 and 1965.
The percentage of first-time mothers in the early 2000s who were working by the sixth month after they gave birth- 55%. In the early 1960s, the percentage was 14 percent.
The percentage of mothers who went back to work within a year of their child’s birth who returned to the same employer – 83%. Seven in 10 of these women returned to jobs at the same pay, skill level, and hours worked per week.
The number of single mothers living with children younger than 18 in 2009, up from 3.4 million in 1970 – 9.9 million
Number of custodial mothers who were due child support in 2007.
Percentage of women 15 to 50 with a birth in the past year who weren’t currently married – 5.6 million – 36%.