Celebrated for centuries by Catholic and Protestant Christians in some parts of Europe, Mothering Sunday (or Mother’s Day) falls on the fourth Sunday in Lent, exactly three weeks before Easter Sunday. In later times, Mothering Sunday became a day when domestic servants were given a day off to visit their mother church, usually with their own mothers and other family members. It was often the only time that whole families could gather together, since on other days they had to work - and servants were not given free days on other days. Very maternal!
These days, there’s a tendency to look on Mother’s Day as having been hijacked by rampant commercialism, with offspring (of every age and depth of pocket!) being effectively blackmailed into buying overpriced cards and presents. Father’s Day can also be traced back many centuries through religious connotation, but it too has been tainted perhaps by the sound of the till on the High Street. So should we still be observing either date?
Frankly, I don’t care what anyone else says – I’ll take “my” day with great delight – it’s my due, my right and I’m worth it!
The job of parenting is a hard job. It’s also life-long job and one with elements that we often don’t remember signing up for. What’s more, sometimes we wish we hadn’t signed in the first place! Male or female, it’s US as much as our children who need reminding about the great things we do. After all, children are quick enough to let us know about the bits THEY think WE get wrong!
I keep my Mother’s Day cards in a secret box – and I make sure to look back at them regularly. Tracing the path of time my first card shows round, baby handwriting guided by my husband. Then there are the ‘solo’ attempts of kisses and references to ‘Luv’. Still later and there are wonderful declarations of undying love. And then the touching messages of gratitude for the little things I have done - from which I am surprised to find that they had even registered!
On days when things go wrong and I feel out of sorts with my children, or they have said something careless and hurtful, reading past messages of love and appreciation helps me to find my equilibrium and to recharge.
As a nation the British aren’t very good at blowing their own trumpets or accepting praise when it’s due. But if we want our children to have high self-esteem and be proud of their achievements, we need to stop being shy about acknowledging our own successes. The greatest of my achievements IS my children and for one day a year I am quite prepared to shout about how well I have done for them and accept the praise and love that comes my way with a full and happy heart.
Remind yourself every day of how well you have done. Even on those days when you think you did everything wrong, you’ll find that you didn’t and that you have done plenty to be proud of. Still being in the house when at the time all you really wanted to do was run back to your own mum is an achievement!
Look in the mirror and search for all the different ‘yous’. The ‘pre children you’ is probably easy to spot - the teenager you and the ten year old you may need some time to find. Say ‘hi’ when you find them and give them some love.
Think about all the things you used to do when you had both time and energy. How might you re-introduce just one of those things back into your life now? Ask a good friend to help with this - sometimes it’s a struggle to remember!
Give yourself small treats but on a regular basis. Have coffee with friends, make time to read a few pages of a book, take a long bath, indulge in some new underwear, have a solo swim or take a run. Have a bar of chocolate just for you – and eat all of it!
Watch your sleeping child. When the children have been vile (or on those occasions when I know I’ve been vile myself!), gazing at my children while they’re asleep reminds me how loveable and wonderful they actually are - and how amazing I am for my part in help shaping them as great human beings!
However you and your family mark it, have a WONDERFUL Mother's day this weekend!