It’s impossible to capture the full complexity of Irish Mammyhood through a couple of books or a few pithy sayings. But as an Irish Mammy might say, what’s the harm in trying?
Here are ten snippets of Irish Mammy wisdom/worry/wit/warmth that can act as a Rough Guide to life.
This is the first cold morning so:
“You’d want your big coat.”
On a morning like this morning it would be remiss also not to advise about where to rest your backside. A specific area of Irish Mammy pathology deals with how viruses can move in mysterious ways.
“Don’t be sitting on that wall outside the school. You’ll get a cold in your kidneys.”
The best thing about Christmas is that the whole family are gathered together under one roof and the worst thing about Christmas is that the whole family are gathered together under one roof. In such circumstances it’s best deliver a well-aimed shot across the bows of any child (under the age of 33) who might feel tempted to express themselves at any opportunity.
“CmeretomenowIwanttotalktoyou. There’s to be No. Acting Up. This Christmas. Doyouhearme?”
Speaking of the family, mammies just want their children to be happy and ‘find someone’.
“Why don’t you bring him with you next time you’re here so we can get a good look at him?”
Out and about
Of course you can’t meet someone without ‘socialising’. Socialising is but one of a collection of great Irish euphemism (others include ‘a character’ and ‘a bit lively’). It spans a huge spectrum of going out activities from paying a courtesy call to an elderly neighbour to winding up in A and E with requiring an emergency procedure with a traffic cone. ‘Socialising’ has reached its zenith (or nadir depending on your point of view) with this:
“TWELVE PUBS?! Ohthelordsaveus.”
It is necessary for ‘Twelvepublicists’ to dress ironically in a Christmas jumper leading to this:
‘You had a jumper like that too when you were small but you wouldn’t wear it for me at all then.’
Mammies will often espouse the philosophy pursuit of too much happiness can lead itself to unhappiness. Therefore good times should be rationed out at a steady level throughout life.
“You’re going out AGAIN?! Haven’t you enough gallivanting now for one week?”
How can a Mammy instil a sense of a moral compass with the examples set by those in authority and business with their big pensions, German national anthem renditions and stroke pulling?
“There’s nothing in them oul papers only bad news. Wouldn’t they make you SICK, with their carry-on?”
All Mammy can do is her best.
“I don’t care what the other children’s mammies are saying. I’m not them”
Because, ultimately “while you’re under this roof ...”*
Colm O’Regan’s book “That’s More of It Now, The Second Book Of Irish Mammies” is out now. The @irishmammies twitter account has 113,000 followers and this week is preoccupied mainly with the North Wind and an upcoming parent-teacher meeting.