The Anatomy of the Supermom (And a Little Mother’s Day History)

By Arlyn May Bongay | Last Updated May 8, 2016

May is a celebrated month for Mother’s Day worldwide when motherhood is honored and mothers almost deified with lavishment. But what makes mothers simply endeared above fathers? Is she truly the superior sex or is she a mere human being built for superior purposes?

A Pregnant Woman with the words estrogen progesterone and testosterone on her belly and the word intuition on her forehead

Mother’s Day: A HERstory

This isn’t a debate about women versus men on the superiority of sex. But then again, there may just be some truth about women built to last longer than men, emotionally, among other aspects. If we base this hypothetical observation on which celebration was invented first, Mother’s day before Father’s day, we might just get a hypothetical, yes.

In contrast to Father’s Day, which originated in 1909, the celebration of Mother’s Day dates back to the earliest civilizations as proven by some obvious evidences found in ancient artifacts. Although only legally proclaimed in 1870 by Julia Ward Howe, ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and Early Europe have had their forms of spiritual commemoration for incorporeal mothers. Isis, the Egyptian Mother Goddess of fertility, appears in the earliest records to be revered in her annual festivity as the mother of pharaohs and the spiritual aspect of the king’s wife. In Greece, spring festivals were given honor to Rhea, the mother of the gods in response to Ancient Rome’s celebration for the Magna Mater (Great Mother) Cybele. Later on with the Christianization of the world, Early Europe incarnated the pagan deities in form of the Mother Church. Personified further, the Virgin Mother of Jesus became the celebrant every fourth Sunday of Lent, which then became Mothering Sunday, extended to give tribute to all mothers, both of the spiritual and corporeal. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Julia Ward Howe’s “Mother’s Day Proclamation” was merely a move to pacify the American Civil War and the Franco-Prussian War. It was Anna Jarvis who campaigned for the holiday to be recognized in the United States after she memorialized her own mother in 1908. She created the Mother’s Day International Association and made it so specific in 1912 that she authorized the particular spelling “Mother’s Day” as opposed to “Mothers’ Day”. This is to be accurate about how personalized the celebration must be for each person to his or her own mother and that the holiday is not just plainly for “all” mothers. From then on, the holiday was officially pegged every second Sunday of May.

From Wikipedia:

Although Jarvis was successful in founding Mother’s Day, she became resentful of the commercialization of the holiday. By the early 1920s, Hallmark Cards and other companies had started selling Mother’s Day cards. Jarvis believed that the companies had misinterpreted and exploited the idea of Mother’s Day, and that the emphasis of the holiday was on sentiment, not profit. As a result, she organized boycotts of Mother’s Day, and threatened to issue lawsuits against the companies involved. Jarvis argued that people should appreciate and honor their mothers through handwritten letters expressing their love and gratitude, instead of buying gifts and pre-made cards. Jarvis protested at a candy makers’ convention in Philadelphia in 1923, and at a meeting of American War Mothers in 1925. By this time, carnations had become associated with Mother’s Day, and the selling of carnations by the American War Mothers to raise money angered Jarvis, who was arrested for disturbing the peace. 6

Did You Know?

Approximately 122 million phone calls are made to moms on Mother’s Day in the United States. source: softschools.com

Throughout history, a mother’s role can be seen in the embodiment of the ancient pagan goddesses to the Christian Church and her Virgin Mother. In the more reality-grounded present society, a mother is exalted as a superhuman with her uncanny ability to read her children and husband’s minds, to juggle work with house chores, and her capacity to extend her emotions to others who need it. So what really makes her anatomically next to a mutant?

The Super Hormones

Unlike men, only a woman is capable of overly bleeding for several days without dying from blood loss. This is a known and given miracle of the female reproductive health next to being pregnant, which the male body isn’t cut out for. These feminine functions are dictated by the hormones estrogen and progesterone.  Women also have the classic male androgen, testosterone.  Men have some amount of estrogen in them, which speaks for some effeminate traits. But there is more testosterone in women than there may be natural estrogen in men. Female testosterone at normal levels largely contributes for female muscle toning, energy for heavier activities, better mood and importantly, a healthy sex drive. So you should be thankful that your wife has more balls than you. Otherwise, she won’t be any fun in bed. 7, 8, 9

The Power Psyche

My mom always has a way of figuring me out before I even open my mouth. All of us who have lived under maternal dominance can very well say the same. Has this something to do with either hemispheres of the brain powering our personality? Right now, there is still confusion, even arguments over the left brain-right brain dominance of men and women. There is no definite solution proven by any study yet.  On one hand, New Age studies claim that intuition is a spiritual cognizance, virtually achieved by anyone through disciplined meditation and altered states of consciousness. Neither here nor there, I eventually came to terms with my own “gifts” when I became a mother. 10, 11, 12

Women are naturally emotional, whether she be right-brained or not. Intuition is believed to be an emotional process housed in the right-brain, dealt through creative perception. But even as a woman is governed by her logical left-brain, she still has her hormones to reckon with, which are responsible for fueling even more sentiments. Apart from these innate factors, a woman who has become a mother goes through several experiences, which requires her to be both logical and creative. This means she has to put both of her cerebral hemispheres to work. In other words, a woman has a balanced brain work. A very concrete example for this is found in recorded history. Most, if not all, of the known inventors, scientists, mathematicians are men. This is because men have more specialized brains while women tend to spread skills and talents on both sides of her brain. A study on an average number of stroke patients, both male and female, has proven this. In a unilateral brain damage, men are prone to language loss if the said skill was placed in one side of the brain whereas women have the other side to recall a reserve. 13, 14

With women empowered by useful hormones and skilled perception, large companies are considering female leadership. This is because according to a Vice President on Human Resources in a leading company, women’s natural assertive and perceptive characters are necessary for the present business trends. Her intrinsic motherhood skills are needed on the front to run a company like she administers her children.

If you ask me…

My husband will admit to anything I can do that he cannot. Likewise, there are things he can do that I cannot do unless I really put myself to learn it. It is really a matter of learning but then again, giving birth is another matter. I salute all the mothers out there and whether it’s the fourth day of Lent, the Second Sunday of May or not, everyday is Mother’s Day!

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