Happy Mother’s Day

In the UK, Mother’s Day will be celebrated on Sunday 18 March 2012. It is the one day that families can thank mothers officially for their love, care and support throughout the year.Mother’s Day is celebrated in over 40 countries. Although there may be cultural variations, mothers are usually honoured with flowers, cards, gifts and special gestures of attention. Dads may cook, clean and look after the children, allowing mums to relax and enjoy the day as a special ‘thank you’.

Mother’s Day origins

Mother’s Day can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who held an annual festival to honour the goddess Isis, the ‘mother of the pharaohs’. In Rome and many other societies, honey cakes were eaten and flowers were given in honour of the ‘great mother’ goddess Cybele.

With the development of Christianity, people honoured the Virgin Mary by returning to the church in which they were baptized on the fourth Sunday in Lent. In the late 15th century, the practice became ‘Mothering Sunday’. It was later widened to enable working mothers to be reunited with their families. The tradition of celebrating motherhood eventually blossomed into what we now know as ‘Mother’s Day’.

There are lots of ways to show mums how much they are valued and appreciated. Here are just a few.

Planning

To ensure that the occasion is an enjoyable and memorable one, planning and preparation is vital. According to retailers, Mother’s Day is the second busiest period after Christmas, so allow plenty of time for shopping. Mother’s Day is also a busy time for amusement parks and restaurants and advance booking is therefore essential. Long distance calls also peak on Mother’s Day, so keep the telephone handy.

Breakfast in bed

Start Mum’s day with breakfast in bed. Smiley pancakes, heart-shaped toast or a slice of Simnel cake accompanied by a cup of tea, her favourite book or magazine will give Mum the chance to relax, or maybe open her cards and gifts.

Cards

Mum will appreciate and value a homemade card much more than a bought one. Toddlers can personalise the card with hand prints or scribbles. Older children can make up a special message or poem. Cards can be put on her breakfast tray or left around the house for Mum to find. The children will be inspired to try out imaginative ideas and Mum will treasure the keepsakes for many years to come.

Gifts

Homemade gifts are more meaningful and unique than shop-bought ones. Ideas might include homemade biscuits, dried lavender or soap wrapped in muslin and tied with a ribbon, a family photograph in a homemade frame, a friendship bracelet or a hand-decorated mug that Mum can use everyday. When the children see Mum smiling, they will know that their efforts have been worthwhile.

Voucher

Mum may like a gift card so that she can select the perfume or jewellery that she wants. However, a ‘help’ voucher, which includes promises to wash up on Monday, a foot rub on Tuesday, setting the table on Wednesday, or good behaviour all week, will be appreciated even more.

Household chores

Giving Mum the day off will show her how special she is. Whether it involves emptying the washing machine, putting away toys, preparing lunch boxes for school the next day, brushing teeth, making the beds or doing homework without being asked, Mum will enjoy the break. It will also give the children the chance to model adult behaviour, which is good for their development, and it will give the whole family more time to have fun together.

Flowers

In the UK, a bunch of spring flowers, violets, carnations or roses are traditional Mother’s Day gifts. Other popular flowers include orchids, which come in different colours, shapes and sizes. If Mum enjoys gardening, take her to a garden fair or nursery, where she can choose her own arrangements or plants. Alternatively, a bouquet of paper or tissue flowers will encourage the children to try out their creative skills and provide a lasting reminder of the occasion. Whichever flowers or plants Mum receives, she is sure to love them.

Outing

One of the best Mother’s Day gifts is spending quality time with the family. Ideas might include a trip to the zoo or beach, a nature ramble, a cycle ride through the countryside or a walk through a wild-flower meadow. End the outing with lunch or afternoon tea in Mum’s favourite pub or restaurant. If the outing is carefully planned and packed with entertaining things to do, it can be a wonderful experience for the whole family.

Picnic

A picnic hamper filled with mouth-watering food from smoked salmon to gourmet cheeses and chocolate truffles will be a special treat for Mum. The children can prepare heart-shaped biscuits and sandwiches and Mum will enjoy sampling the finished products. Dad can supervise the preparation to ensure that the play is safe.

Take Mum on a woodland picnic. The sun filtering through the trees will be a memorable sight. The children will enjoy exploring and they will burn off excess energy and sleep better at night, which gives Mum and Dad a chance to enjoy quality time together. If it rains, lay out the picnic on the living room floor.

A special treat

Although it may not be possible to take Mum to Paris, pamper her with an evening meal complete with French food, twinkling lights and French music playing in the background. The children can make the decorations, set out the table and help with the washing up. Themed bunting, plates and table decorations will add to the ambience, and Mum will appreciate and treasure the occasion.

Bubble bath

Treat Mum to an anti-stress bubble bath complete with scented candles. An inflatable bath pillow will provide the ultimate in comfort, although Mum may not want to come out of the bathroom.

Favourite film

At the end of the day, snuggle up with Mum under a quilt and watch her favourite DVD together. Chocolate-covered strawberries and popcorn will go down well with the whole family. Simply giving up time to be with her will make Mum feel loved and valued.

Family photograph

Have the camera charged and ready to capture the occasion. Mum will keep the photographs along with special cards, homemade gifts and other Mother’s Day mementos. When Mum looks through the memories, she will reminisce about the day when she felt so special.

Dr Lin Day is the founder of www.babysensory.com.

Baby Sensory is the only provider of baby development classes designed specifically for babies from birth to 13 months. The classes are run in over 400 locations throughout the UK and in 12 countries including the US, Australia and Spain and has most recently launched in China. The Baby Sensory programmes have been developed in the UK by Dr. Lin Day (PhD Dip. Ed. BSc. PGCE. M. Phil), who has worked with babies and young children throughout her career. All activities are excellent for developing physical, social and emotional, and language skills, co-ordination, awareness of the world, a love of music and the concentration needed for further development. The programme is also suitable for babies with physical or learning impairments. Currently one in 55 babies born in the UK attends Baby Sensory classes.

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