I was gobsmacked to read that Americans are expected to spend $20.7 billion on Mother's Day this year, an average of $168.94 per mom, according to the National Retail Federation. That figure just blows me away! Of course, much of the money will be spent on flowers, jewelry, candy, tacky gifts, and electronics.
|Yeah, don't get me this.|
However, an online poll conducted by Harris Interactive found that 31 percent of American moms have to pretend to like the Mother's Day gifts they receive from their family. So that means that $6.4 billion of the money being spent will be completely wasted. The Harris Interactive poll also found that 64 percent of moms would prefer to receive a meaningful gift that would help someone else instead of a traditional Mother's Day gift.
So here's how we move that apostrophe...
In 2010, four women were inspired by the wonderful book Half the Sky (Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn), which shone a spotlight on the oppression of women and girls in developing countries. When these women learned that Americans spend $14 billion/year on Mother's Day (notice how that amount has gone up dramatically in three years--now to $20 billion?), they decided that we should rethink our giving priorities for this holiday by starting the Mothers' Day Movement. How can we continue to spend billions of dollars on things we don't need, when mothers all around the world are struggling to feed their families, keep out of prostitution and trafficking, and just plain survive?
Mothers' Day Movement focuses their campaign on a different charity whose mission is to improve the lives of women and children. This year they have chosen the Fistula* Foundation, which focuses on reducing maternal mortality during childbirth. Hundreds of thousands of women suffer from fistulas. Most are young women and many live with the condition for up to 25 years. The good news is that it can be surgically repaired for about $450.
I asked my mom and my sister to join me to forgo personal Mother's Day gifts this year and instead make donations in each other's honor to the Fistula Foundation. They agreed to join me!
I've also told Mike that I'd like cards or letters from him and the kids, or homemade gifts, and instead of spending money, he can give a donation to the Fistula Foundation. Mike was very happy to hear of our plan, because he always struggles with what to give me (I'm the gift shopper in our family)!
Won't you join us in moving the apostrophe to help as many mothers as possible on this special day? Just click "Donate Now" on the Mothers' Day Movement web site. Your mom, sister, wife, or other recipient will receive a thank you card from the Fistula Foundation. Please pass this on and share your thoughts!
*Definition from the Fistula Foundation: "A fistula is a hole. An obstetric fistula of the kind that occurs in many developing countries is a hole between a woman's birth passage and one or more of her internal organs. This hole develops over many days of obstructed labor, when the pressure of the baby's head against the mother's pelvis cuts off blood supply to delicate tissues in the region. The dead tissue falls away and the woman is left with a hole between her vagina and her bladder and sometimes between her vagina and rectum. This hole results in permanent incontinence of urine and/or feces. A majority of women who develop fistulas are abandoned by their husbands and ostracized by their communities because of their inability to have children and their foul smell. Traumatic fistula is the result of sexual violence. The injury can occur through rape or women being butchered from the inside with bayonets, wood or even rifles. The aim is to destroy the women and the community within which the sufferer lives. Once committed the survivor, her husband, children, and extended family become traumatized and humiliated. The Panzi Hospital in Congo is a pioneer in treating victims of traumatic fistula."