Mothering Sunday

Exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday, in the UK, we have Mothering Sunday. 

This is the day that households up and down the country celebrate motherhood.  The modern day version of Mothering Sunday, or Mother’s Day as it is popularly known now, is very different to the Mothering Sunday celebrated by many in generations past.

Years ago, Mothering Sunday was a time when people went back to churches they were christened in or attended as children. It was a special time as these churches would have held memories for them.

As the years progressed young men and women left home to work as servants in large houses. Mothering Sunday meant they had the day off to take a trip back home and they took the opportunity to present their mothers with fresh flowers picked from the hedgerows or a small gift.  They may have worked many miles from home and had not seen their family for months on end, so this was a lovely time for the family to get together and enjoy each other’s company for just one day.

Over time, the act of returning home became an important date in the servants’ calendar and one that was relished.  If they were lucky it was a day of no work, which enabled them to return to the family home in order to see their beloved mothers, therefore this day was called Mothering Sunday.

Nowadays, it is a much more modern affair.  We have pubs and restaurants offering free drinks for Mums.  We can choose from a huge amount of gifts from chocolates and candles to alcohol and spa days to give our mothers the treat we think they deserve.  In days gone by the simple act of returning home and giving gifts of freshly picked flowers would have been enough to put a smile on a mother’s face.

Incidentally, flowers have played an important part on Mothering Sunday for many many years and traditionally the flowers given by children to their mothers hasn’t changed.  Tulips, roses and lilies are still very popular today.

As families in the UK begin to think about celebrating Mothering Sunday and all that it has to offer, I’ve been thinking about how things have changed from those simple days to the commercialised world we live in today.

Our world is fast paced. We live in a throw away society. Our lives are governed by consumerism and technology. All these things now have a place in our everyday lives but is this a good thing when it comes to celebrating the joy some of us are lucky enough to experience – Motherhood?

For the mother who has a son working in another country they can benefit from Skype. For the Daughter who cannot post a card, she has the luxury of email. For the Grandma who loves photos of her family there’s social media. All these modern technological advances mean the miles between us and our mothers seems less when we connect through our phones, ipads or computers.

If we are lucky enough to be able to see our Mums on Mothering Sunday we are spoilt for choice with the activities we can enjoy. A family meal out or a spa day are just a few options available to us.  The luxury items now sold in most supermarkets is staggering. Mother’s Day is advertised on billboards, in magazines and newspapers and on television. It’s a lucrative time for companies to tempt us with their must have pressies. Mother’s Day cards line the racks of shops, pre printed, just waiting for us to write our names on.

These things are enjoyed by us all, but are we missing the real message of Mothering Sunday? The family gathering at home, appreciating what our mothers have done or still do for us. The cards that have been lovingly made out of bits of tissue, glue and glitter. A simple bunch of flowers.

Thinking about growing up, I remember making cards and giving simple gifts. I don’t remember going out to anywhere that would give my Mum a free drink. My children walked past Prezzo the other day and exclaimed, ‘Look Mummy you can have free Prosecco on Mother’s Day’! Then proceeded to explain their idea of booking a table for March 11th to Daddy!

Everything has its place in our modern world. We couldn’t be where we are today without the advances that have been made and I’m not here to criticise anyone for choosing how they spend Mother’s Day. In fact, I am going to be lucky enough to be taken out for Sunday lunch and I dare say I may even get breakfast in bed too! We will, however, enjoy a family walk to our lunch destination, a simple, get out in the fresh air activity we can all enjoy. As for cards, my children know I prefer a homemade one. I will probably receive three. All very different but you can bet I get covered in glitter by at least one of them!

Whatever you are doing this Mother’s Day, enjoy it. Motherhood is dammed hardwork. If you are lucky enough to be with your children, then hug them. Forget the fact they don’t keep their bedrooms tidy, throw toys at you or kick you in the face in the middle of the night. If you can’t be with your loved ones this Sunday, call them, Skype them or simply light a candle and think of your lovely memories.

For many, Mother’s Day is tinged with sadness. Grief can overcome those who have lost. I’m sure every Mother would say the same thing; don’t grieve or be too sad, a Mother’s job is to teach us to be strong and we can prove that strength by doing something they would be proud of on their day, and surround ourselves with those wonderful memories no one can ever take away.

So, this Mothering Sunday, do what you feel is right for you and your family and enjoy it!