Memories for Mother's Day

“Motherhood has a very humanising effect. Everything gets reduced to sleep.” Meryl Streep.

Mother’s Day in Australia falls on the second Sunday in May. Can you resist the commercialism of the day?

Does Mum really want a new electrical appliance or a hugely expensive meal, or would she prefer a sleep in? Would you like to give Mum a personal gift, the effects of which will reach, and be treasured by, future family generations?

This year, why not give Mum the unique gift of a Memory Jar containing memory triggers which recall her life story. The cost is minimal, but it has that ‘OMG-Wow’ impact.

A Memory Jar. An inexpensive and different gift for Mum on Mother's Day.

It’s ideal for either children or adults, it suits Mums of any age and it’s so easy to do.

1. Select a suitable jar with a lid (it can be a simple jam jar (coffee jars are good) or a ‘treasure’ found at the charity shop). Make sure that the jar is clean and dry and that the lid fits.

2. Using a sheet of pretty writing paper, number down the left-hand side of the page and either write or type your list of questions you’d like Mum to answer. Some examples

  • Who was your first boyfriend?

  • What was your favourite TV show?

  • What did you think about Dad the first time you saw him?

  • What world event made the biggest impact on you?

  • Who was your childhood hero?

  • NB: you can download my prepared questions here.

3. Cut between each question to collect a pile of narrow paper strips. You can now fold each question and pop it into the jar. I like to stick each question to a tea bag or a wrapped sweet, which gives Mum more incentive to sit down as she reads your question. Here’s a little poem you might like to decorate the jar with:

Preserve your memories—seal them up well.

What you forget, you can never retell.

But a journal that’s kept fresh on the shelf

Will help someone through rough times... Maybe even yourself.

4. Buy a small notebook and encourage Mum, when she stops for morning tea, to pick a question and answer it. Ask her to stick the question to the top of each page and to write her answers below in the notebook.

5. Wrap the jar and notebook together and give your personal gift to Mum on Mother’s Day. At a later stage, you could enter her Memory Jar memories into a document on your computer, with scanned photos to illustrate her answers. Hey Presto- you have a life story!

Idea: if Mum has a phone with a voice recorder app she can record her memories and upload them to Drive or Dropbox or a similar site. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Another great idea is to take part in the Mother’s Day Classic to raise vital funds for the prevention and treatment of Breast Cancer. Register online at

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