UA Matters: Mother’s Day and Motherly Advice
MOTHER’S DAY VS. FATHER’S DAY: NO CONTEST
Nine out of 10 American consumers will take part in some aspect of Mother’s Day.
Father’s Day? Five out of 10.
Mother’s Day cards outsell Father’s Day cards 2-to-1.
Mother’s Day is widely reported as the peak day of the year for long distance phone calls.
So why is Mother’s Day such a big deal and Father’s Day not so much?
“I think it’s rooted in prevailing gender assumptions. Traditionally, dads provide, while mothers nurture,” says Dr. Rich Megraw, professor of American studies at The University of Alabama.
“Also, the modern masculine hero is supposed to be an ‘aw shucks,’ self-effacing guy who just goes out and does what needs doing without fanfare or limelight.
“A similar convention amplifies a mother’s emotional investment in child-rearing, something which may well contribute to the heightened sentimentality of the day set aside to honor that commitment,” says Megraw.
Megraw adds that it also could be that fathers tend to be more low maintenance. Moms like to receive items such as jewelry or flowers, and dads are happy with an afternoon barbecue or watching the ball game without distraction.
“I remember Father’s Day, 1964, when for his ‘day’ my Dad opted to sit down, take it easy, and watch the Phillies, who were at Shea for two with the Mets — just in time to watch the Game One starter, Jim Bunning, pitch the first Perfect Game in the National League in nearly 80 years,” recalls Megraw.
MOTHERLY ADVICE: LOVING, BUT NOT ACCURATE
On Mother’s Day, we think back to all the advice our mothers gave us as we were growing up:
-Don’t make that face or it’ll freeze that way.
-Wait an hour after eating before swimming.
-Don’t go outside with wet hair. You’ll catch a cold.
Mothers may not always be accurate in their advice to their children, but most advice is given with loving thoughts, says Dr. Jerome Rosenberg, professor of psychology at The University of Alabama.
“I remember hearing those in some variation from my mother and remember how they all had a kernel of truth that I didn’t understand until I was much older,” says Rosenberg.
As a matter of fact, Rosenberg says he’s even heard his wife saying some of the same things to their kids, and he thinks that should continue.
“I would be very upset if all future mothers did not continue to say the same thing, mean it with love, affection and protectiveness and let these motherly truths endure,” he says.
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