Thanking mothers everywhere

Mar 13, 2015 | 8 comments |

Sunday, 15th March, is Mothering Sunday in the UK.

For Christians, it falls on the fourth Sunday of Lent. Historically, it was when people attended their “mother” church, and domestic servants were given the day off to visit family.

Since I grew up in Canada where Mother’s Day is celebrated in May, Mothering Sunday was part of learning about my new home when I moved to England. Although giving cards and flowers to mothers is similar in both places, the festivals have different origins.

As the mother of an English daughter, Mothering Sunday is one of the happiest days in the year. It’s a chance to celebrate the bond we share, and how it enriches my life and, I hope, hers too.

Yet, it’s also bitter sweet, for I remember not only my mother, but my grandmothers, and how their influence lives on through me, and my daughter, English Rose.

These wise women helped shape the person I am today. Their advice, from the funny to the profound, still comes to mind whenever the occasion arises.

Fashion: Never wear white shoes or carry a white handbag after Labour Day. 

Housekeeping: If you opened it, close it. If you turned it on, turn it off. If you got it out, put it away. An ordered home is a happy home.

Food: All things in moderation. Eating leftover birthday cake for breakfast is okay because cake has eggs and milk.

Finance: Make a budget and stick to it. A penny saved is a penny earned.

Manners: Good manners cost nothing, and never go out of style.

Consideration for others: Be as kind as you can, for you never know what burdens someone else is carrying.

Men and relationships: If you don’t respect yourself, how can a man respect you? Flashy men come and go. Look for one who will wear well in the wash.

In troubled times: Stiffen your spine and keep going.

Love: Wherever you go, and wherever I am, I’ll always love you and watch over you.

The Canadian penny is long gone, white shoes are worn year round and, despite some clutter, my home is generally a happy one.

However, in most cases, mother still knows best.

Did your mother or grandmother give advice you still remember?

Wishing mothers everywhere a Happy Mothering Sunday, with love and thanks.

Canadian Mother's Day photo

 My grandma and my mom on a long ago Mother’s Day

Find out more 

Mothering Sunday

Mother’s Day 


  1. Heidi Vanstone

    Ironically, it has been more recently that my own mother and I have connected on a more meaningful level. Circumstances are such that we have drawn closer because of a very real need. The best advice she ever gave me? Well, I think that would have to be the admonition to pray during hard times.

    My faith has always sustained me through the different seasons of my life, and so her words flow into that life pattern.

    I am thankful for her life, her Christian faith and witness and her love. She echoes the maternal tradition of unconditional love and acceptance across the generations. I am blessed!

    • Jen Gilroy

      You’ve highlighted something very important, Heidi. Relationships do change and, hopefully, grow over time, and I’m glad you and your mother have been able to connect in a deeper way. I hope you’ll share these comments with your mom. I’m sure she’d appreciate ‘seeing’ what she means to you, and why you’re thankful for her. xx

  2. Cathy Murray

    What a lovely blogpost for Mothering Sunday, Jen. My mum passed on quite a few things similar to your family. She was very fond of Mrs Do-as-you-would-be-done-by as well. One of her most frequent sayings was “You make your bed, you lie in it” which was her blunt Yorkshire way of saying take responsibility for your actions. She’s long gone but I still hear her voice sometimes. Hope you and your family have a very happy day.

    • Jen Gilroy

      Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting, Cathy. I’ve found Yorkshire people similar to Canadians in some ways, especially in terms of that ‘blunt’ advice! Thanks for your kind words and good wishes too.

  3. Jean Bull

    Thanks, Jen, for another wonderful blog that really made me think.
    The best advice I had from my grandma was that ‘It’s good’. No matter how badly things are going, there is always something good to be found somewhere.
    As for the white shoes, I agree! Though it’s more likely to be around 21st September for me. They never look right with autumn and winter clothes!

    • Jen Gilroy

      That’s very ‘good’ advice from your grandma, Jean. Thank you for sharing it. Your comment about ‘white shoes’ made me smile. Summer is longer in England than where I grew up in Canada, hence there are more opportunities to wear summer clothes! Thanks, as always, for supporting my blog. xx

  4. Sue Bavin

    What a lovey blog, Jen, and very appropriate for Mothering Sunday. Thank you for sharing all the pieces of advice. I remember my mum and aunt howling with laughter over a piece of advice from my gran many years previously – “Always cream your elbows.” Obviously an essential for a useful and happy life!!

    • Jen Gilroy

      What wonderful advice from your gran, Sue. I laughed when I read your comment. Thanks for visiting and sharing.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to Blog

Want to get posts about my life, family, writing & more? To receive an email notification whenever I publish a new blog post, sign up here.


Want to get exclusive giveaways, subscriber-first book news & more? Sign up for my newsletter here.

Latest from the Blog

Photo by Robin Spencer, Spencer Studio