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On Mother’s Day, let’s honour all the women in our lives

Grandmothers, great-grandmothers, aunties, and close family friends all deserve thanks for the roles they play and the examples they set.

Mother’s Day is a special time of reflection and celebration, a day dedicated to honouring the women who have helped to shape our lives. 

This includes not only mothers but also grandmothers and great-grandmothers, who provide love, wisdom, and care as they bridge the gap between generations. 

Mother’s Day originated in the United States in the early 20th century, largely due to the efforts of social activist Anna Jarvis, who envisioned a day to honour the sacrifices women made for their children. 

As historian Katharine Antolini noted, “Anna envisioned the holiday as a home-coming, a day to honour your mother, the one woman who dedicated her life to you.” 

It quickly became a global phenomenon, albeit one celebrated on different dates and in different ways. 

It has also become a very commercial day – the biggest of the year for florists – even though Jarvis fought against that trend.

Unique role of grandmothers

In many families, grandmothers hold a place of honour as both mothers and grandmothers. 

They provide a nurturing presence that spans two – and sometimes three –generations, sometimes stepping in to offer guidance, childcare, and emotional support. 

Their experiences and wisdom are invaluable, often forming the cornerstone of family traditions and values. 

Mothers, grandmothers, great-grandmothers, and mother-like mentors play a critical role in the emotional and psychological development of their children and grandchildren. 

Studies have shown that the presence of a supportive maternal figure can greatly influence a child’s ability to develop empathy, resilience, and a strong personal identity. 

Research also shows that when mothers and grandmothers are in sync in child-raising, the whole family benefits. 

Celebrating Mother's Day

This is the perfect occasion to show appreciation for the incredible women in our lives. Here are a few ways to celebrate: 

  • Consider personal gifts that reflect the unique relationship you share with your mother or grandmother, such as custom jewellery or a family photo album. 

  • Spend quality time together. This could be a meal at her favourite restaurant, a family gathering at home, or a quiet afternoon in a park. 

  • Show your appreciation by helping her with household chores, running errands, or taking on a project she has been planning. 

Above all, though, in keeping with Anna Jarvis’s original non-commercial motto, it’s often the simplest gestures that mean the most. 

A heartfelt card or letter expressing your gratitude and love can be incredibly meaningful. 

Mother figures

While Mother’s Day is traditionally focused on biological or adoptive mothers and grandmothers, it’s also an opportunity to acknowledge all the women who have played a significant role in our upbringing and personal development. 

This includes stepmothers, aunts, sisters, teachers, and friends who embody the spirit of motherhood through their selfless guidance and care. 

As we celebrate on 12 May, let’s remember the valuable lessons and unconditional love these women have shared, and vow to continue to pass on those gifts to the next generation. 

If you are a mother or grandmother yourself, take the time to think about the love and care you have shared, and the joy that has brought you. 

And if your beloved mother or grandmother has passed away, make sure you celebrate her in your memories, not just on Mother’s Day, but throughout the year. 

Related reading: Martha Stewart, Berkerley, BBC 


Brett Debritz

Brett Debritz

Communications Specialist, National Seniors Australia

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