Mothering Sunday is the day on which the Church of England mixes together Mothering Sunday and Mothers Day. Many churches will have services welcoming families and providing posies for the children to give to their mothers.
But… there is something about the day which I find awkward. It isn’t just that reality doesn’t match up to the sainthood conferred on mothers, at least by secular society, if not the church; nor that it is not a day for celebration for all mothers – those who have lost children through death, adoption, or social services determining that they weren’t fit mothers; nor that not all children wish to celebrate their mothers, as not all children have good memories of their mothers.
It is all of these, but in addition there is a sense in which we are being invited to deny reality. All mothers are going to let their children down – it is only God who can be relied on in all circumstances – I am not suggesting that it is calculated or malicious, but no person is perfect, and people who think they have a perfect mother haven’t yet learnt to break away and see them as people, rather than as plaster saints.
The church should be encouraging and helping everyone to become the best people that they can be, and that includes having a true understanding of themselves and their relationships. How can we do this if we help maintain the myths of the perfect mother?