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What You Don’t Know About Mother’s Day … and What You Should Remember

By Alan Knight
Photo Credit: mothersdaycelebration.com

I hope you and yours enjoyed a warm and heartfelt Mother’s Day.

Did you know that while not the actual beginning of today’s Mother’s Day celebration, the ancient annual spring festival the Greeks dedicated to their maternal goddesses is generally regarded as somewhat of a precursor to it?  Admittedly, some pundits are divided on this issue.  Nonetheless, the Greeks used the occasion to honor Rhea, wife of Cronus and the mother of many deities of Greek mythology.  Ancient Romans, too, celebrated a spring festival, called Hilaria, which was dedicated to Cybele, a mother goddess. 
It may be noted that ceremonies in honor of Cybele began some 250 years before Jesus was born.  The celebration during in the Ides of March was made by making offerings in the temple of Cybele, which lasted for three days and included parades, games and masquerades.  Over time, the celebrations became so notorious that followers of Cybele were eventually banished from Rome. 
Photo Credit: britlitwiki.wikispaces.com

Early Christians celebrated a Mother’s Day of sorts during the festival on the fourth Sunday of Lent in honor of the Virgin Mary, the mother of Jesus.  However, the roots of today’s present Mother’s Day history can also be traced in UK where a “Mothering Sunday” was celebrated much before the festival saw the light of day in the U.S.   It was expanded to include all mothers.  A more recent history of Mother’s Day dates back to 1600s in England.  It was celebrated annually on the fourth Sunday of Lent (the 40-day period leading up to Easter) to honor mothers.  After a prayer service in church to honor the Virgin Mary, children brought gifts and flowers to pay tribute to their own mothers.  On this occasion, servants, apprentices and other employees staying away from their homes ― and there were many of them ― were encouraged by their employees to visit their own mothers and honor them. Traditionally, children brought gifts and a special fruit cake or fruit-filled pastry called a simnel.  Yugoslavs and people in other nations have observed similar days celebrating mothers.  While most countries celebrate Mother’s Day in May, usually the second Sunday of the month, in other parts of the world, Mother’s Day is celebrated at different times of the year and with different customs.

Origins of Mother’s Day in the Land of Lady Liberty

Photo Credit: awesomestories.com

The idea of the official celebration of Mother’s Day in the U.S. was first suggested by Julia Ward Howe. An abolitionist, activist, writer and poet, Julia Ward How is known for her famous Civil War song, “Battle Hymn of the Republic.”  She wrote a passionate appeal to women and urged them to rise against war in her famous “Mother’s Day Proclamation,” which she had written in Boston in 1870.  In 1872, Julia Ward Howe suggested that June 2nd be annually celebrated as Mother’s Day, asking women from around the world to join together for peace.  Unfortunately, her efforts proved unsuccessful, and she openly began to wonder if Independence Day on July 4th could be reconfigured into her vision of “Mother’s Day.” Her idea evolved and was later replaced by the Mother’s Day holiday now celebrated in May.

Last year, our modern-day Mother’s Day celebrated its 100th birthday.  It was founded for the mourning women to remember soldiers who’d died in battle and to work for peace.  When the holiday began to take on overtly commercial overtones, another of its greatest champions, Anna Reeves Jarvis, tried vehemently to fight it, but ended up dying a pauper and broken in a sanitarium.
Photo Credit: puraproducts.com

According to an article, “Mother’s Day Turns 100: Its Surprisingly Dark History,” published last year by “National Geographic”: “In the 1850s a West Virginia woman, Ann Reeves Jarvis, Anna’s mother, held Mother’s Day work clubs to improve sanitary conditions and try to lower infant mortality by fighting disease and curbing milk contamination.  The group also tended wounded soldiers from both sides during the U.S. Civil War from 1861 to 1865.  In the postwar years, Jarvis and other women organized Mother’s Friendship Day picnics and other events as pacifist strategies to unite former foes … Around this same time, Jarvis had initiated a Mother’s Friendship Day for Union and Confederate loyalists across her state.  But it was her daughter, Anna, who was most responsible for what we call Mother’s Day ― and who would spend most of her later life fighting what it had become.”

While Anna Jarvis didn’t have children of her own, the death of her own mother served as inspiration for her to organize some of the first official Mother’s Day observances in her hometown of Grafton West Virginia in 1908. On May 10th of that year, families gathered at a church, which has since been renamed the International Mother’s Day Shrine. Other Mother’s Day events were held in Philadelphia, where Jarvis was living at that time and in several other US cities. It was primarily from Anna Jarvis’ work that Mother’s Day became a national holiday, as seven years later, in 1914, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson officially proclaimed the second Sunday in May as the official holiday.
Photo Credit: medienwerkstatt.com

Originally devoid of all the commercial trappings associated with it today, Jarvis’conception of Mother’s Day included spending time with one’s mother and personally expressing gratitude for all that she did. “It wasn’t to celebrate all mothers.  It was to celebrate the best mother you’ve ever known ― your mother ― as a son or a daughter,” states West Virginia Wesleyan College graduate Katharine Antolini, who authored “Memorializing Motherhood: Anna Jarvis and the Defense of Her Mother’s Day” as her Ph.D. dissertation. That’s why Jarvis stressed the singular “Mother’s Day,” rather than the plural “Mothers’ Day,” Antolini explains. However, the increasing commercialization of the holiday eventually led Jarvis to perceive her initial success as a failure.

Photo Credit: pinterest.com

“Anna Jarvis’s idea of an intimate Mother’s Day quickly became a commercial gold mine centering on the buying and giving of flowers, candies, and greeting cards ― a development that deeply disturbed Jarvis,” according to the “National Geographic” article. “She set about dedicating herself and her sizable inheritance to returning Mother’s Day to its reverent roots.  Jarvis incorporated herself as the Mother’s Day International Association and tried to retain some control of the holiday.  She organized boycotts, threatened lawsuits, and even attacked First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt for using Mother’s Day to raise funds for charities … Jarvis’s fervent attempts to reform Mother’s Day continued until at least the early 1940s.  In 1948 she died at 84 in Philadelphia’s Marshall Square Sanitarium.

“‘This woman, who died penniless in a sanitarium in a state of dementia, was a woman who could have profited from Mother’s Day if she wanted to,”Antolini says. ‘But she railed against those who did, and it cost her everything, financially and physically.’”

Money Mother’s Day  

Photo Credit: blog.allmyfaves.com

Today, Mother’s Day, like many other contemporary holidays, comes gift wrapped in overt consumerism.  According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend an average of $162.94 on their mothers this year, down from a survey high of $168.94 last year.  Total spending is expected to reach nearly $20 billion. The National Restaurant Association states Mother’s Day is the most popular holiday for dining out.  Furthermore, more phone calls are made on Mother’s Day than on any other day of the year. These holiday chats with mom can cause the phone to traffic to spike as much as 37%.

We can, of course, argue the points regarding how Mother’s Day has become so commercialized.  Of course, the same can be said of many other religious and non-religious holidays.  But the commercial element embracing mommy dearest is here to stay. Retailers stay in business to make a profit, while we have that not-so-gentle nudge to do something nice for someone we love. 

Presenting the Best Presents

Photo Credit: firststreetonline.com

In recent years, adult children have started to take a look at where they spend their money in expressing their love and appreciation for their mothers (and nowadays, mother’s in law, grandmothers, aunts, etc.).  In some cases, help in purchasing a home, help in purchasing a condo or renting an apartment in a retirement community, or perhaps something even more personal.  For example, the Walk-in Bathtub has become a product of need among seniors.  Many have seen commercials about them on TV, Internet and in print, and maybe even received information by mail.  The Walk-in Tub is something many seniors need, which may not be affordable, especially for someone living on a fixed retirement income. Companies such as Tub King, Inc. have always strived to make these tubs affordable for seniors.

Unlike some companies that try to bilk would-be buyers out of their hard-earned money to buy a Walk-in tub, (read our previous blog, “Is the Walk-in Tub a Scam?”) since its inception 14 years ago, Tub King has always done its very best to keep both the purchasing and installation fees on its various models as affordable as possible.  My brother, Kerry (now retired from Tub King) and I have an elderly mother, so we empathize with those who want to ensure that their parents are safe and comfortable, particularly in the bathroom, which statistically is the most dangerous room in the house for the elderly.
Photo Credit: americanstandard-us.com

This unique, high-tech but easy-to-operate bathtubs offer the opportunity for independent bathing, safety from falling when getting in and out of the bathtub due to its low threshold, hydrotherapy options for various pains and ailments that are associated with aging, and importantly, peace of mind for users and their children.  They’re a great way to tell your mom “I love you” on Mother’s Day.

Photo Credit: tubking.com

Another product that mothers of adult children are gravitating towards these days are Tub King’s new Safety  Suite Showers. There are two main designs ― a low threshold and a zero threshold ― and each comes with a variety of options such as the drain orientation (left, center, right), the type of in-shower seat, the type/color of tile, etc. There are also safety-designed accessories that are fitted with built-in grab bars such as towel racks, paper roll stands, shelves, etc. 

In this article, I discussed the origins and history of Mother’s Day, heralding back to ancient Greece and Rome. I also talked about two of its main proponents in the U.S., Julia Ward Howe and Anna Reeves Jarvis. The article goes on to discuss two very popular bathroom products for mothers (and dads, too), Tub King’s Walk-in Tub and Safety Suite Showers.

Tub King Customer Testimonial for Walk-in Tub
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Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I will personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you.

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Alan Knight has many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. His companies not only provide superior products, they are also multi-award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact Tub King, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to Alan@tubking.com.

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The Hottest New Innovations in the Bathroom

The ABCDs of Elegance: Accessorized Bathrooms Create Décor


By Alan Knight
What does one of the world’s leading supermodels think is most important about being a fashionista? 
Photo Credit: strawberryillustrations.blogspot.com
“It’s all about the accessories,” Alessandra Ambrósio astutely states.  This stunning Brazilian beauty should know: the svelte, sexy and wealthy Ms. Ambrosio is best known for her work with Victoria’s Secret and was chosen as the first spokesmodel for the company’s immensely popular “PINK” line.  In 2012, she came in sixth on “Forbestop-earning models list, estimated to have earned $6.6 million in one year. 

Oftentimes what pertains to the fashion industry is also germane to the home furnishing industry, as both utilize and celebrate such concepts as design, style, form, function, aesthetics, etc.  What better time to discuss bathroom accessories and upgrades than the holidays?  Here are some of the latest bathroom trends/accessories you may want to consider for yourself or perhaps someone you love:

Cool Cabinets

Photo Credit: leastewart.com
There are lots of ways to upgrade or refurbish your bathroom’s cabinetry (read our previous blog, “Caller Calling Your Bathroom, Part 2”). You can even go high-tech with them.  
For example, a company that specializes in modern bathroom cabinets has developed several models that provide USB charging, several outlets, a mirror defogger and night lights. One of its cabinets includes an internal “sub-cabinet” that is refrigerated, ideal for keeping temperature-sensitive medications safe. The fridge also works well for nail polish and various organic skin products (with no preservatives).  It’ll  even hold a couple of bottles of water, beer or a carafe of wine.  A relaxing bath, anyone?

Some of the newer, modular wood cabinets actually rotate180-degrees for easy storage access when open and a rotate back for clean and lean look when closed. 

Accommodating the Commode

 

Photo Credit: epa.gov

With the introduction of the U.S. government’s WaterSense® initiative (similar to Energy Star®), manufacturers and consumers are getting smart about reducing toilet and water faucet use. As stated on its website: “WaterSense helps people save water with a product label and tips for saving water indoors and out.

Products bearing the WaterSense label have been independently certified to perform well; help save water, energy, and money; and encourage innovation in manufacturing.”

WaterSense partners with manufacturers, retailers and distributors, and utilities to bring WaterSense labeled products to the marketplace and make it easy to purchase high-performing, water-efficient products.  WaterSense also partners with professional certifying organizations to promote water–efficient landscape irrigation practices.”
Caroma,an Australian company, was one of the first to offer dual flush technology, which allows for two different flushing options: 0.8 and 1.6 gallons per flush, depending upon one’s needs. Caroma now has several different models available. 
Today, almost all of the large toilet manufacturers offer dual-flush toilets. Toilets can run (pun intended) from several hundred dollars to several thousand, depending upon its design and features.  That’s because, like most things today, commodes have also gone high-tech.  In fact, one leading company’s description about its newer models, includes the verbiage “the ultimate in luxury and elegance coupled with unrivaled research and development … including such features as remote control and nightlight.” Sounds like a royal flush to me.
Photo Credit: trendir.com
Short of building a separate room with its own lockable door for it, another trend is accessories that are designed to hide or at least minimize the visual presence of the commode itself. 
One product, the Bench Toilet, from Julien, provides an aesthetic solution for camouflaging the toilet by incorporating an exotic, sliding wood panel that conceals the fixture as it also doubles as a powder room bench. 
Even though these products seek to minimize its visual “footprint” in the bathroom, they still allow for a commodious commode when it’s actually in use.  

 

A Fairer Faucet

 

As mentioned above, WaterSense® technology applies to sink and shower faucets, minimizing the use of water while also reducing homeowners’ water bills. The WaterSense website points out: “Replacing old, inefficient faucets and aerators with WaterSense labeled models can save the average family 700 gallons of water per year, equal to the amount of water needed to take 40 showers.”
Photo Credit: modelleriresimleri.blogspot.com
Homeowners can easily and affordably save water by installing low-flow aerators on new and existing

faucets. Upgrading to new faucet systems on sinks and in the shower (or handheld models on bathtubs) can save even more water and thus on consumers’ water bills.

Another trend for bathroom (and kitchen) faucets is to go touch-free. These provide convenience and health benefits.  Some microorganisms last for a very long time and can survive on almost every surface around your home. If you touch a surface with germs, you may become contaminated.  Yet, if you don’t have to touch a particular surface to use an object, the cross-infection problem is eliminated.

Applause for Hand Rails

 

Photo Credit: grabbarspecialists.com
Another accessory that’s becoming ever more popular with aging baby boomers and seniors are designer hand grips, which can easily installed near hazard zones for added convenience. The inclusion of handrails in and around the bath/shower and commode is now recommended by the Center for Disease Control (see our previous blog, “Shocking CDC Statistics About Bathroom Injuries – and What You Can Do to Prevent Them.”)  Manufacturers make these grab bars in a variety of metals and wood, so they can be easily integrated into most bathroom decors.  

Gratuitous Grout

 

While not an accessory per se, some people are using colored grout as a design element to help accentuate patterns and emphasize symmetry of materials. For example, if your bathroom tiles are white or off-white, you could use a darker shade of grout around them that would emphasize their layout.

The Tub’s the Rub

 

Photo Credit: hydrotherapybathing.com
There are other ways to accessorize and/or upgrade your bathroom as well.  For example, you can replace your existing bathtub with a safety-featured, Walk-in Tub, complete with hydrotherapeutic water and air jets with an in-line heater.  Now you have your own private Jacuzzi in the bathroom that’s bubbling over with innovative features (see our previous blog, “The Danger of Bathtubs – Falling is a Family Matter”).

If you’re looking to add a splash of elegance to your bathroom, consider our well-appointed cast iron, porcelain Clawfoot tubs. There are a variety of shapes to choose from, including the Double Slipper, Roll-Top and others (see our previous blogs, “Building a New Home? Add Beauty with a Clawfoot Tub” and  Today’s New Cast Iron, Porcelain Clawfoot Tubs are Better Than the Originals”). 
Photo Credit: tubking.com
You can also replace your former bathtub/shower with a European-inspired Safety Suite Shower.  These feature low or no ingress/egress, different types of built-in seats, multiple handrails, and other custom-configuration options (see our previous blog, “What’s New in Showers? Sophistication Today, Safety Tomorrow”). You can also add some of the matching safety rail-accessories such as shelves, paper roll handle, towel bar, etc. 
There are many ways to accessorize and/or upgrade your bathroom. From dabbing on a dash of color, to adding designer towels, to installing high-tech toilets and medicine cabinets, to replacing your existing faucets, to upgrading your bath/shower and more.  Why not make this most private room in your home a safety-featured environment within which to pamper yourself for hours on end?  After all, “it’s all about the accessories.” 
In this article, I discussed numerous ways in which people can accessorize and/or upgrade their existing bathrooms. I shared some of the new, innovative products and trends in the marketplace, as well as provided information on Walk-in Tubs, Clawfoot Tubs, Safety Suite Showers, and more. 
If you found this article useful, please share it with your family, friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the Comment section of this blog. 
Thanks again for visiting with us.
What to Look for in a Walk-in Tub
If you’d like to receive a FREE Walk-In Tub Buyers’ Guide, click here.  Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I’ll personally get back to you.
 
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Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” four years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to Alan@tubking.com.
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