Ahead of Mother’s Day, our member Kathy Feest discusses the history of the special day and the important lessons of motherhood…
My thoughts on Mother’s Day…
It’s not Mother’s Day yet! Surely there are nearly two months to go until Mother’s Day! It’s the wrong month, it’s only March, Mother’s Day is in… Ahh… “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore!”
It never occurred to me in a million zillion years that I would be a mum and not a ‘mom’, for a start. Or that my son would have an accent that would make American girls swoon with delight when they heard it. I grew up in America and moved to the UK when I was 26 – marriage wasn’t on my mind, let alone children. Sometimes these things just happen. And happen they both did. But March for Mother’s Day? Nope that’s held in May! If you reside in the States that is. As it happens, Mother’s Day occurs somewhere in the world in all but three months of the year, January, April and September.
Where did this celebratory day come from? In Britain, along with so many British traditions, it’s been around for a long, long time. Since the Middle Ages in fact. In the UK, Mothering Sunday always occurs on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Originally, the celebration was about Mother Church. People went to the church they were baptised in, or their local cathedral, which was the ‘mother’ church for all of the parish. In 1644, ‘Gone Mothering’ was a phrase that people used to describe what eventually became known as Mothering Sunday, or more recently, Mother’s Day.
Inspired by the American Anna Jarvis, who was lobbying for a Mother’s Day celebration in the early 1900’s, Constance Adelaide Smith wanted to extend the celebration in Britain beyond the church to include all Mothers, and Mother Earth as well! We have these two women to thank for our modern Mother’s Day festivities.
Ladies, I ask you both, why only one day? Do these women have ANY idea how hard it is to be a mother? Actually, they didn’t. The modern founders of Mother’s Day on both sides of the Atlantic were child-free.
I bet I’m not the only mother who has kept the Mother’s Day cards that were given to her over the years. They remain stored away along with the memories from another time; all those nights of lost sleep in the early years, the tricky bits later on when a thousand and one things conspire to convince you that you haven’t a clue how to be a mother.
It’s not always easy trying to figure out what on earth you are supposed to DO in order to be a good mum. One of the biggest lessons of motherhood, especially as the kids get older, is that – sometimes – what you need to do is absolutely nothing. Nada. Zilch. For so many mothers, this one included, that was the most difficult motherhood lesson of all! Mothers all over the globe want to race in there to fix, to help, to support, to make ‘it’ better. Whatever ‘it’ is that needs to be made better.
Maybe we should be lobbying for a ‘Kids’ day! Turn the tables and tell them how grateful we are for them. Our lives wouldn’t have been the same without them, that is certain! They helped us to grow, to thrive, to live, and to love. Without our kids, we would be different women. Not better or worse, but different. It’s hard to imagine Mother’s Day without our kids. Yet it was two women who didn’t have kids who gave us our modern Mother’s Day celebrations. Thank you ladies. And to you all – whenever it occurs and wherever you live – Happy Mother’s Day!
Kathy writes her own blog, Feest Isolation Days – Reflections from self-isolation in Bristol, which she has updated every day since the start of the first lockdown in 2020. You can read it here.