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Thoughts on celebrating Mother’s Day

We’re coming up to Mother’s Day in the UK, and it will be followed by celebrations of mothers around the world. As ever, there’s a flurry of searches on Mother’s Day gifts.

This year I’d like to take a step back and think about why we celebrate Mother’s Day, because the why can inform the what.


When I think of the history of this day, it always comes with a vague memory of children skipping out of Sunday School with a primrose to present to their mother. Or back further in time with youngsters in service in big houses being allowed the day off to visit their families.

In the Christian tradition, Mothering Sunday was celebrated on the fourth Sunday of Lent to honour the Virgin Mary and mothers of the church.

We’ve come a long way since then, including making the day a much more commercial event, and complementing it with Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, and more.

Essentially though, we are still celebrating the work that mothers do to raise a happy, healthy family.


But which mums do we celebrate?

When my children were young, I was the one doing the juggling to try to ensure children, partner and employers all felt like they were the priority. So I felt that I did deserve a bit of recognition. But then it was never just my day. Both grandmothers and their partners were always invited to our home.

Now I’m a grandmother myself and we’ve all shifted up a generation, with this year being the first without my mother or my husband’s. Should I be included in Mother’s Day still, or should the focus be on the people being a mum right now?

And of course traditional roles don’t feature so strongly anymore. Many people play a key nurturing role in the lives of children, so who gets the recognition?


Is Mother’s Day about gifts? You get to a certain age – and it often happens around retirement – when you decide you want to live with less stuff, not more. So ‘things’ make be more of a hindrance than a help to young seniors.

On the other hand, a well-thought-through gift can be a delight. It doesn’t have to be expensive. In previous years we have tested a wide range of gifts, and you may like to gain some inspiration from our previous gift guides for Mother’s Day and Christmas.

For many mums though, it’s time spent with their families that is the greatest joy. Tricky if they’re a long distance from you, or you’re trying to juggle a mum, a mother-in-law, grandmothers and/or relatives from previous relationships. But a Zoom meeting, a phone call, or a card, really can be appreciated.

Photo by Ijaz Rafi on Unsplash

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