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Mothering Sunday and its connection to Domestic Workers

In the UK, Mother’s Day is celebrated sometime in March. This holiday, unlike Mother’s Day in the US (which is celebrated in May) or other countries, is connected to the Christian tradition of Lent and traces its roots back to the Middle Ages.

Mother’s Day or Mothering Sunday as it was known in the past, is on the fourth Sunday of Lent—exactly three weeks before Easter. Historically, domestic servants were allowed a day off on Mothering Sunday so that they could visit their mother church (the church they were baptized in), which they often did with their mothers and other family members.

While the original holiday had nothing to do with one’s own mother, it became a welcome occasion for domestic servants, mostly young women, to have a family reunion and spend time with their mothers. While thinking about this day’s historical origins and its connection to domestic workers, we cannot help but think of migrant domestic workers now and their current situation.

Many MDWs are mothers themselves and even if they can have a day off on Sundays, they cannot be with their families physically. Most migrant domestic workers won’t even be celebrating Mother’s Day this year.

Some of them have, however, found a family amongst themselves: MDWs who are mothers, sisters, and daughters to each other. They share*:

- “Sisterhood is an important part of your life. They (the women) care for and help you in times when you are in emotional distress. Because you are far from your family, surround yourself with friends. They will listen, and give advice and support.”

- “For me, the community (of MDWs), mothers and sisters, are like my family. We can help each other together.”

- “It (having a community) means that you are not alone in times of sadness and emergency. They are there for you, to support you.”

TAYO believes in the importance of building a compassionate and empowered community as we encourage MDWs to take charge of their financial well-being. You can support our work with MDWs by connecting with us on Facebook, filling out the form at the end of the TAYO website, gifting the TAYO guide, and testing the TAYO app!

*Quotes edited for clarity

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