Mothering Sunday – Why We All Need One


Mother’s Day in the UK  falls on a different date every year because it’s connected to Easter and always falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Traditionally, it was the one Sunday a year when young servant boys and girls had a chance to go home and be with their families who often lived a few towns away. (They had to live in the households they served and only had one day a year to go home and visit their families.) Hundreds of years ago, Lent was also a time for folk to visit the cathedrals in their diocese – the mother churches –  which was called going ‘a motherin.’

So it wasn’t just a day to give presents to mothers; it was a day of spiritual renewal, reunited families and rest, a day that served the needs of all the members of a family, turning their thoughts to  hope and resurrection. It was a day that celebrated a journey home, physically, emotionally and spiritually, and we could all use some of that.

Traditionally, I spend Mother’s Day in bed, having a lovely, long rest and reading a book (or two) from cover to cover. It begins with presents and breakfast in bed. The kids (under their dad’s supervision) make breakfast and we all sit on my bed and eat our breakfasts from trays. Then, my ultimate treat is to have time alone, with no housework or demands, problems to solve, solutions to find or arrangements to make. It’s the one day a year my kids make and bring me every snack, drink and meal and ask if I need anything, while leaving me alone to enjoy a hassle free day of guaranteed me time.

I think they’ve learned from my decadent decision to abandon them for one day a year just what a contrast it is to the other 364 days. They’ve also learned how important it is to proactively guarantee a loved one at least one argument and attitude free day! My son even asked if he could take a day off school sometime, stay in bed without being ill and celebrate Son’s Day. I stunned him by saying “OK”.

We could all do with mothering our inner children a bit more, even if we’ve no kids at home. If we lose touch with our own need for self care and restoration, we have less to offer others.

My mum died when I was pregnant with my son, so I have no mum to spoil on Mother’s Day. Her spirit is always with me, though, as flowers, chocolates and breakfast in bed served on treasured antique crockery made Mother’s Day her favourite day of the year. I celebrate her by celebrating life, the life she gave me and wanted me to fill full to the brim. I root myself firmly at home  – my normal week involves a  lot of ‘taxi driving’ – and shamelessly rest and indulge my senses.

This year, with my husband’s help, my kids got me tulips, a chic-lit easy read novel about angels and chocolate, some rose scented, rose-shaped tea lights and a bottle of cider. My favourite gift, the one they bought themselves, was Beth Nielsen Chapman’s latest CD and a small bag of chocolates.  I adore my children, and know only too well that I’m blessed to have them; the only way to love them is with gratitude for every, single moment I’m blessed to have them in my life. I aim to review the CD later, but I’ll leave you with a line from it, a dedication to my mum, my husband and my children.

All that matters when we’re gone

All that mattered all along

All we have that carries on…

…is how we love


  1. This was lovely, Janice. You rarely write about your family, and it’s people stories that interest me most. You guys celebrate Mother’s Day differently over there. I’ve never heard of such servitude from children, which is such a valuable lesson for them — to totally and fully commit to serving another, as mothers do every day. Would I love to experience that! The tulips are so beautiful. I want to hear all about Son’s Day too.

    You got all three of my puzzles right. 🙂
    .-= Brenda´s last blog ..Twitter Peeps =-.

    1. Thanks, Brenda. I confess the “servitude”, as you call it, isn’t traditionally British, nor is the whole staying in bed thing. It’s my own personal indulgence, and it’s evolved over the years! (I also have a day’s celebration for every decade of my birthday, too, but that’s a different story!) I will tell you when my son decides he needs what some countries refer to as a mental health day. I think the whole “no-one’s allowed to tell me off for a whole day” aspect appeals to him!

      What you said about me writing about my family was interesting; I wasn’t aware that I rarely write about them these days. I mentioned my son just this morning in a comment reply to Hilary and most of my old Coaching Moments pieces were about my homelife. Now that they’re older, I have become more aware of potentially embarrassing them online, though, or sharing without their permission, so maybe that’s what’s been happening. Plus, my daughter’s at what folk refer to diplomatically as a challenging age, and there aren’t as many ‘sweet’ stories as there were four or five years ago. 😉
      .-= janice´s last blog ..Mothering Sunday – Why We All Need One =-.

    1. Hi, Lori.
      If we lived closer, I’d give you a friends’ pampering day. Caring for elderly relatives in declining health isn’t easy so I’m glad to hear that you try and fit in time to luxuriate – what a lovely word! It instantly conjures up images of scented bubble baths, soft music, sparkling wine, chocolate and candlelight.

  2. Hi Janice .. That was great – and lovely to be given the day to relax and be pampered .. sounds good training .. I bet your son was surprised .. so was I with the ‘yes’ .. good for you! I feel I know you all a little .. beach walks, black pebbles, clear out, your daughter’s posting .. perhaps not now!

    Tulips .. I managed to get Mum a bunch of flowers – put together .. but it looked really natural – irises, anemones, tulips, daffs, narcissi, poppies et al .. as a change – we’ve had a few bunches of tulips recently. Also separately some paper whites, yellow and white narcissi and another sort as well as the daffs .. good smelly mix.

    I think that’s a wonderful example to set to everyone around the world?! Family togetherness and respect .. love it – have a good weekend .. & a Friend’s Pamper Day – sounds too good to be true!! One day ….. Hilary – hugs
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Steak, Kidney and Oyster Pudding with a Stout Porter? =-.

    1. I can just imagine – and smell – those gorgeous flowers!

      I think a Pamper Friends weekend would be good – a chance for friends to reciprocate, or do things they can’t manage on a working week. A cyber one would be nice; I’d cyber send you and your mum to a spa full of fully qualified folk so you could both be pampered and then your mum would be cared for when you went off and enjoyed some pampered alone time.

      Have a good weekend!

      1. Hi Janice .. that would be bliss .. and my mother would appreciate loving and caring support – it’s there by some of the carers, but for some it’s a job .. and it’s not so good. I can never seem to understand how people can’t relate to the ill person and their needs – even my brothers (especially!) .. but I think back and I too probably would put myself into that category .. I just had to learn pretty quickly there’s another side, once my mother got ill .. mind you she directed me .. only give an either or .. no more choice – her brain couldn’t cope. Now it can cope even less – but you also at times wouldn’t know there was anything wrong – the processing is just slower, and perhaps to her unnecessary .. we can’t tell. It’s been an interesting time ..

        You too have a lovely time with the kids and hubby .. look after yourself .. cheers Hilary
        .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Steak, Kidney and Oyster Pudding with a Stout Porter? =-.

  3. “my ultimate treat is to have time alone, with no housework or demands, problems to solve, solutions to find or arrangements to make.” Ahhh… sounds like heaven.

    1. It was! Maybe you could demand to celebrate Mothering Sunday as well as Mother’s Day next year; tell them it’s a weird, ancient Scottish tradition to be cloistered in bed for a day…I won’t tell!

      My friends without kids at home – and a lot of working dads – often underestimate how exhausting those non-physical aspects are. Those who are caring for infirm relatives understand all too well.

    1. Thanks, CG! You know firsthand how important it is to take the time to restore yourself and get your bearings.

      I’ve always believed in the aeroplane metaphor of putting your own oxygen mask on first so you can best help your kids.

      No matter how I’m feeling, the last prayer I say every night and the first I start my day with is Thank you! All I need to do is absorb the horrors in the news to feel blessed on my darkest of days. Years ago, when my daughter was a baby, there was a massacre of five year olds at a primary school in Scotland. You never take anything for granted again.

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