The history of Mother’s Day is somewhat convoluted in the UK with many differing opinions. Some sources say that it is the day that one should return to your home or ‘mother’ church, others say that it is a day to honour the Virgin Mary, whilst there is also the popular view that it’s really a day to buy your Mother gifts of appreciation.
Marketing has been pushing the term ‘Mother’s Day’ but in Britain (for whatever the purpose) it is more traditional to celebrate ‘Mothering Sunday’. This is always celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent – marking a respite within a time that is usually reserved for austerity.
When I was small my parents decreed that Father’s day was too commercial (this may have been to do with my Dad disliking presents) but Mothering Sunday was always given heed. As church goers we had an easy gift, as there was always an opportunity within the service to go collect a small posy and to deliver it to Mum. I think we were likely to buy cards (or rather I would buy a card and my brother would sign it) – but now I’m a Mother myself, I wonder if there’s really much in receiving a card like this.
Anna Jarvis, the woman held responsible the revival of Mothering Sunday in the UK, once wrote “A printed card means nothing,” she said, “except that you are too lazy to write to the woman who has done more for you than anyone in the world.”
I think this is quite accurate – whilst I am sure it is the thought that counts, and that receiving a supermarket card is better than receiving no card at all – it is jolly nice when someone goes to the effort of making one. Whilst I have to wait and see what I will get this year, I’ve found a small craft for Katie to give her Grandma:
It really doesn’t require much explanation – all you need is to paint or ink to do a hand print and then your best handwriting! I think this is a rather nice keepsake from a small child but I’m not sure if the rhyme ‘This is the hand you used to hold when I was only thirty years-old’ has quite the same charm to it!
Finally, I have to say that whilst I like receiving gifts, it’s not my favourite thing about Mothering Sunday. What I’m really looking forward to is spending time with my family – and completing a task that is long overdue.
For each year that Katie has been around I have bought a charm that reminds me of that year. For her first Birthday I found a Mama monkey cradling her baby – a small reminder of the protection she needed through that year. Then for her second I found a bunny to celebrate her (continuing) obsession with her Jellycat Bunny Rabbit. I’ve been completely remiss in finding something for her third birthday but I’d like to rectify that – as well as starting the tradition with Thomas.
It may seem odd to be buying a gift essentially for myself on Mothering Sunday – but actually, it’s a small symbol of my relationship with my daughter. I like to find something that reminds me of our journey together that year – and to help me not to forget the time we have.
I don’t think Mothering Sunday needs to be a time in which Mothers are showered with treats – for some people that would be utterly unaffordable. Instead, it is a really nice to celebrate the relationship with have with our Mothers and to appreciate what we’ve got.
Before I go – here’s a diptych that my Mom and I put together many years ago now – two self-portraits taken at different ends of the country but that somehow blend perfectly.
P.S. Despite the impression I give off in this photo, I love my Mom dearly I have no idea what I would do without her.