TRY SOMETHING NEW!
MOTHERING SUNDAY (OR Mother’s Day as it is now more commonly known) falls on the last Sunday of Lent – this year that’s March 6. In the past, young workers in service to more well-off families were allowed home to visit their families – often the only day off they’d get in a year. They’d take presents home – a posy of flowers, some cake from the kitchens, or some eggs from the chickens.
Now the day is much more commercialised, with retailers keen for children to spend pounds on showy presents, restaurants touting for our Sunday lunch business, and card manufacturers insistent that their cards are the purest expression of love that money can buy.
Take an alternative approach in your family. Why not get up early, pull on your wellies, and go out for a forage. Dandelion is in season – use the roots to make a ‘coffee’ (there’s a good recipe at rosesprodigalgarden. org). You’ll also find mallow – treat the leaves like greens. It’s a wonderful time of year to be out and walking – and life-affirming to spot the first signs of spring poking through.
Alternatively, head to a gallery with a meaningful piece of art to enjoy. Henry Moore’s Mother and Child sculpture is on permanent display at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts in Norwich (scva.ac.uk) and the gallery’s Alphonse Mucha: In Quest of Beauty exhibition is great too.
Another option for a day out is visiting somewhere beautiful that you’ve never been before. The National Trust
(nationaltrust.org.uk) run a great selection of Mothering Sunday events at their houses, gardens and outdoor spaces – create a natural masterpiece on Brownsea Island, or make a posy at Glendurgan Garden or Trelissick. Check a Trust property near you to see if they are holding a similar event.
If the weather’s not great, why not stay inside and do something meaningful with your family? Raid the attic, and find some board games that you enjoyed as a child, and play them with your kids. Games are a great way to bond as a family, and children are always tickled by how much fun seemingly old-fashioned toys can be.
If you’d like to do something deeply traditional, spend the morning baking with your family, and make a simnel cake. Topped with eleven marzipan balls, to represent the eleven apostles of Christ, minus Judas, this cake was customarily made on Mother’s Day. Baking with your children (or your own mother) is a gentle ritual that soothes, connects generations, and provides something really wonderful to eat for tea!
If your mum lives relatively nearby, a day spent helping her out with chores and tasks around the house is a thoughtful way of spending the day. Take your family and tick off all those niggly or unpleasant tasks she hasn’t got around to doing; clean her oven, paint a ceiling, make a beastie-proof netting frame for her seedlings or set the kids the task of clearing the garden of winter debris.
MAMA TIME Free and thoughtful presents
Make a scrapbook of memories for your mum to leaf through – Include photographs of the whole family, scraps of old clothes, postcards,
hand-written stories and remembrances,
Create a cookbook of family recipes – ask members of your clan to scribble down a few of their favourite dishes and how to make them, and bind them beautifully together.
Compile a CD of tunes –
to which you and your mother used to dance together or that are meaningful to you both. Music can unlock powerful emotions.
Grow some flowers – Daffodil and crocus bulbs planted in a pot in winter give an early-spring show. Ask your children to help decorate the outside of the container for an even more personal touch.
Buy her an appropriate charity gift such as a vocational skills course for a woman in a developing country from Women of Action (womenofaction.co.uk).