The vast majority of countries follow the US example -14 May – but here, we are celebrating it this weekend… on my birthday
March 19, 2023 7:00 am(Updated 7:01 am)
“Dad, what will it be like sharing your birthday with Mother’s Day? Do we bring you breakfast in bed or mum?”.
This was one of the questions our kids were posing this week. I obviously made a dad joke about my birthday being the most important day of the year, but reminded them that it was essential that they made the day special for their mum.
Mother’s Day, or Mothering Sunday as my Auntie Gillian used to call it, is a movable feast. Christmas Day, Halloween and Valentine’s Day are far more stubborn, but the day we choose to focus on the mums changes every year in the UK calendar.
It tends to fall on the fourth Sunday of Lent, three Sundays before Easter. I did a little research and apparently it is rooted in the Middle Ages tradition of children who worked in domestic service being allowed to go back to their “mother” church for the weekend.
As with many of these celebratory occasions, there is an American influence. A woman called Anna Jarvis (the daughter of an activist who organised treatment for wounded soldiers in the American Civil War), campaigned for a day to honour the role played by mothers. At the birth of the 20th century, she opted for the second Sunday in May and by 1911, every state in the US signed up. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson declared it a national holiday.
In some countries it is rooted in religion, others base the date around the seasons, while in Russia and among certain communities in Afghanistan, the maternal love is tied into International Women’s Day on 8 March. The vast majority of countries follow the US example (so the day falls on 14 May) but here, we are celebrating it this weekend… on my birthday.
In the Walker household growing up, my dad, who is lovely by the way, put Mother’s Day in very much the same bracket as Valentine’s Day. He would always say that we didn’t need a specific day to celebrate and appreciate mum… we did it every day! While my dad still steadfastly holds to that principle, our kids have been encouraged to embrace it a little more.
I am one of four children and I do remember that we used to take mum a fairly average cup of tea and some limp toast on the morning of Mother’s Day. I have visions of our rather bouncy Labrador Honey, trying to demolish the toast, dribbling profusely and jumping all over the bed like a lunatic.
We have friends now who are very strict about how they observe Mother’s and Father’s Day. The person who is being celebrated is not allowed to lift a finger; no cooking, no cleaning – everything is done for them. That might be difficult to implement in our house this weekend as we have the birthday-Mother’s Day clash.
I won’t tell you what the kids and I have got for my wife, because I’m pretty sure she will read this article and that would ruin it. If you’re interested in what I might get for my birthday, I asked for some new shaving foam, anything to do with golf, and I’ve been dropping some enormous hints about a pair of Stormtrooper bookends that I have been admiring for months.
For my own mum, thankfully I have two magnificently efficient sisters who love making lists. I have never seen so much devotion to the power of the list. My little sister has been known to ask me about potential Christmas presents in March and the older one will normally send out a full Excel spreadsheet months ahead of a family gathering. With organisational powers like that, they tend to take control of Mother’s Day present buying. So Mum, if you’re sat reading this with a lovely bunch of flowers and some chocolates next to you, if I’m being honest… I do love you… but you have your daughters to thank for that.
My mum has spent her life looking after other people. Being Welsh, she has always been amazing at making sacrifices and working her backside off. The only thing I have ever held against her is the fact that she once decided to give my prized possession away. If I close my eyes, I can still see the perfect condition Millennium Falcon that, for some inexplicable reason, she decided to swap for a “Sindy car” for one of my sisters. It broke me. I got my own back by taking the bright yellow wagon into the garden and painting it in camouflage colours, but it was a deep burn.
Despite that, the fact that it’s my birthday, and that I really would love the Star Wars bookends, I hope that my mother, my wife, and all the other mums out there, have a day to remember where they feel truly special.
Recently I have been…
Cycling. Finally, I’ve gotten back on my bike! It’s nearly a month since I got hit by a car on a roundabout in Sheffield. I got asked a lot about whether or not I would return, but I never really considered not doing it.
My face still aches. This week I had an injection in my swollen hip, I can’t feel part of my lip and I may have lost the blood supply to a tooth, but I can’t wait to get back out there.
My old bike is still being fixed but I have an electric GoCycle at the ready and I also have a helmet with snazzy lights on it to replace the one that protected my noggin from the tarmac.
Quiz hosting. It was a real pleasure to host the Ultimate News Quiz. It is a brilliant event which brings together some of the top newsrooms in the country to answer a devilishly difficult set of questions whilst raising money for charity.
This year, with the help of the Premier League, we managed to give nearly £250,000 to Action for Children. I was hosting alongside my good friend, and former BBC Breakfast co-presenter, Sally Nugent.
My colleagues from 5 News managed to win the whole thing! I was booed when we announced it, but Sally can testify that there was nothing dodgy going on. Here is one of the questions for you: prior to the Queen, when was the last time a British monarch was buried in the UK? (Answer at the end)
Decorating our home. We currently have our fridge and dining table wedged in the hallway of our house because we are having a new floor installed in the kitchen and changing the colour of the walls.
If you’re interested, we are going for a dark navy and a shade called “Matchstick”! There are dust sheets and brushes everywhere, so although I’m confident there will be some sort of cake (or at least a bun) to celebrate the dual occasion of my birthday and Mother’s Day this weekend, I’m not entirely sure where we will be eating it.
Answer: 2015 when Richard III’s body was reinterred in Leicester Cathedral after being found in a car park.