Mother’s Day is a pretty special occasion in Jamaica. All week, people have been discussing their plans. One coworker was buying a cake to mark the day. Another spent all week hand-making a card for both her biological mother and her Godmother. Two others were planning to take their mothers to a special play in honour of the day. While the gestures may not be high-priced, they are heart-felt and filled with true appreciation and love for these wonderful ladies.

The role of mothers in Jamaica is an important one. Almost half of Jamaican households are headed by single mothers; although the nuclear family remains the social and religious ideal for most Jamaicans, in reality this type of family exists mainly in the upper and middle classes. Most Jamaican children are born to parents in common-law or “visiting” relationships, however nearly half of these relationships end by the time child is six years old, usually leaving the mother with sole responsibility for her children. Jamaican households headed by women tend to have more children but earn less and spend less than households headed by men. (

Even though I can’t celebrate in person with her today, my own mom is still a big part of my time in Jamaica. She taught me compassion, tolerance, and respect. She showed me how to hold myself to a higher standard, and how to take care of myself when things get hard. I know she worries about me and my sister in the way only a mother could, but I hope she knows that I am thriving here, and in life, because of her love and example. Happy Mother’s Day Mommy, I love you xo