Mother’s Day falls in March along with International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. Therefore, there are three big celebrations of womanhood in the same month.
Why is the British date for Mother’s Day, 25th March, different to the date celebrated everywhere else in the world? It is because apparently, 25th March is not Mother’s Day, it is Mothering Sunday and comes nine months before 25th December. Thus, Mothering Sunday has biblical roots. This was traditionally a day off for servants who could return home to visit their mothers as they would not get to see them for the rest of the year. Mothering Sunday is an incredibly old holiday and was originally a church service to celebrate motherhood and the birth of the young, connecting it to spring and rebirth. Some say that Mothering Sunday is three weeks before Easter, that is, the fourth Sunday in Lent and a celebration of Mother Church.
International Women’s Day is celebrated to uphold women’s achievements, recognise their challenges, and focus attention on women’s rights.
Women’s History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society.
So, what does it mean to be a woman and mother in the 21st century? Millennial women are taking on different roles and equalling the playing field. Womanhood means sharing a special connection that extends beyond race, age, sexuality, political opinions, and physicality. It is something that binds us together on a level only women understand. It implies the ability to love fully and care for and nurture things around us, in a way that only women can. That sounds like a tall order, if you ask me, as we are also humble human beings and can often feel the pressure of the expectations placed upon us.
Apparently, these days, it is difficult to find a good woman – a woman who is wife material. Present-day women are said to be far too empowered and much too modern. They are nothing like the women of yesteryears. However, women today are expected to go out to work and contribute to the family income, then return home and look after the men and children while managing all the chores. In addition to spreading themselves too thin, 21st-century women are expected to let their husbands’ dreams take precedence over their own. This is probably why I am unmarried, and I have a constant flow of couples that require couples counselling. However, let us keep this post on the theme of Mother’s Day – should I say Mothering Sunday, as this is the one day of the year when it is all about mum, step mum, grandmother, or nanny? We come together as a nation to value, respect, honour, cherish, and show love and gratitude for the special women who nurture our children today and us when we were children. It has also become a commercial occasion because those that can afford it, lavish expensive gifts on the special women in their lives. It does not have to be about expensive gifts, though: A bunch of flowers and breakfast in bed will suffice. My favourite part of Mother’s Day is having the day off and feeling appreciated.
Nevertheless, Mother’s Day can trigger negative emotions. There are many reasons why someone may find Mother’s Day painful, such as the experience of the loss of a mother or grandmother. It may also be the loss of a child or the inability to conceive and become a mother. Sometimes, it can be smaller issues that just as painful, such as single parenthood, where there is no one to buy you a card or recognise all the hard work you do. Emotional pain and suffering can be amplified on special occasions. Therefore, if you know someone who may be suffering on Mothering Sunday or any other day, go out of your way and send them a ‘thinking of you’ message. Small acts of kindness can make a tremendous difference to someone’s day and can improve their emotional wellbeing. It is important to stay on top of your mental wellbeing as a mother so that you can gain or maintain a feeling of happiness and satisfaction with your life. It is not easy to look after a family and manage your emotional wellbeing on top of all the other responsibilities you need to juggle daily. I shall name half a dozen things you can do regularly to improve your mental health:
- Connect with other people. Good relationships are important for your mental wellbeing. They can help you build a sense of belonging and self-worth. They can give you an opportunity to share positive experiences and provide emotional support while allowing you to support others.
- Be physically active. Being active is not only great for your physical health and fitness but also improves your mental wellbeing and raise your self-esteem, as evidence suggests.
- Learn new skills. Learning new skills can also improve your wellbeing by boosting self-confidence and bolstering self-esteem. This can help you to build a sense of purpose and make connections with others.
- Give to others. Giving to others and being kind can improve your mental wellbeing by creating positive feelings and a sense of reward. Giving can provide you with a sense of purpose and self-worth and help to connect with others.
- Be in the moment. Mindfulness can help you enjoy life more and understand yourself better. It can positively change the way you feel about life and approach challenges.
- Have fun. Do not take yourself very seriously. Life is for living and having new experiences. Try and do something new or go somewhere you have never been to before.
So, with Mother’s Day just around the corner and with us still in lockdown, a little creativity and a lot of love will go a long way in celebrating the special women in your life.