A Day for Women; A Day for MumsFriday 8th of March 2013 | Category: Baby News | Written by: Leoarna Mathias
There was a time in my life when I found Mothering Sunday, and the commercial whirlwind that surrounds it, pretty tough to bear. It took me a long time to become a mum, and for a good while it looked like I wasn't going to make it. The profusion of flowers, chocolates and cards staring at me from the supermarket shelves only served to remind me of what I did not have. Happily, and luckily, I now have two beautiful children. Like lots of other mums, I now awake on the day to cards made with love and glitter, and 'surprise' parcels, the contents of which are blurted out before I've got the wrapping off. I don't mind. I'm glad just to be able to enjoy the moment.
Origins and Around the World
Mothering Sunday here in the UK has interesting origins. Starting in the sixteenth century, the middle Sunday of Lent was seen as a day for returning to your 'mother church', the parish where you grew up. Over time, this turned into a day for visiting your own mother, which, given that so many young women were in service far from home, had more significance then.
Mother's Day, in one guise or another, is celebrated all around the world. The Christian overtones of the celebration in the UK are not so prominent elsewhere, as the marking of the middle Lentern Sunday died out in many other countries. In the US, a movement begun by Anna Jarvis in 1908 led to the establishment of a secular Mother's Day on the second Sunday in May. This date has been adopted by many other nations, though there are yet other dates right across the globe and the calendar, with a variety of traditions and observances attached. In Israel a movement that began with the marking of the death of Henrietta Szold, who had rescued children from Nazi Germany, inspired a family day of celebration in the early part of the year, that continues to this day. In Nepal, a festival of pilgrimage in the latter part of May culminates in the celebration of Mata Tirtha Puja , or mother pilgrimage offering. Many Nepalese travel to a small village near Katmandu hoping to see the face of their deceased mothers in a pool, as a shepherd, so the legend goes, is said to have done many years before.
International Women's Day and Success
Two days before Mothering Sunday, on Friday 8th March, International Women's Day is celebrated around the world. With its origins in the Suffragette and socialist movement in the early years of the twentieth century, IWD has gained momentum to become what it is today, a global day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. In many countries IWD is a public holiday, and sees families honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, and colleagues with flowers and small gifts. In other countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day, with children giving small presents to their mothers and grandmothers. And while we haven't adopted this approach here in the UK, hundreds of events are being held, right across the country, to mark the occasion.
It is interesting that religious, political and secular traditions alike around the globe have found ways to highlight, celebrate and promote the role of women and of mothers. There are lots of jobs, careers, professions and voluntary roles in society that have a value, that serve a purpose in the life of our nation. It is true that there are still clear reasons for the existence of a worldwide women's movement; in the UK we're still subject to an unjustifiable 10% pay gap; globally, half a million women a year die as a result of complications in pregnancy or childbirth - a sobering thought. But, the opportunities open to British women now, compared to a generation or two ago, are testament to the progress of organised women's movements of the kind IWD champions. So women are doing all kinds of important roles in our society, and I guess if we had a day to celebrate every good job then we'd be busy 365 days a year. So while we must be mindful of elevating the status of mums over women who are doing other important work, and making their own contribution, there is room to celebrate the hard work that British Mums do, day in, day out. No doubt, the difficulty of the job gets you down sometimes, and this inspiring piece by Amy Morrison might lift your spirits during tough times. Given the busy-ness of modern life, your kids, and maybe even your partner, may need a reminder that this coming Sunday is important - so that you can have a lie in and enjoy toast and tea in bed! But be assured, here at babies.co.uk we know exactly how important a job you are doing; check out our pages aimed at supporting you through your life as a mother here. And let us know, in the comments section below, how you celebrated Mother's Day!