As you get ready to celebrate Mother’s Day with your mom on May 12 this year, it may interest you to know that the day is being celebrated in a way never intended by its founder, Anna Jarvis. In fact, if she were alive today, and knew you were taking your mom out for brunch, buying her flowers, jewelry and a box of chocolates, she would be—as she was in her lifetime—enraged!

Jarvis was a tenacious and fiercely independent woman who remained single and childless at a time when women were expected to do the exact opposite. Yet she dedicated her entire life and financial resources to the obsessive pursuit of a national, commerce-free holiday for mothers. Why?