Friday 23 August 2019

Let the Irish Mammy retire and make way for supermum

The Irish Mammy: From the TV remote to the internet, she is totally clueless. She is fixated on Mass. And jumpers. And the hot press.
The Irish Mammy: From the TV remote to the internet, she is totally clueless. She is fixated on Mass. And jumpers. And the hot press.

Barbara Scully

The 'Irish Mammy' is hysterical, isn't she? She provides hours of cheap entertainment and online publications in particular love trotting out stuff about the things Irish Mammies might say at any given occasion. She is all over social media and like most things that 'trend' on social media, I fear that shortly, Irish Mammy will make that leap from virtual world to the real world.

But sure it's all great craic. Irish Mammy is so dopey. She hasn't a clue how technology works.

From the TV remote to the internet, she is totally clueless. She is fixated on Mass. And jumpers. And the hot press.

She lives in a wee world of her own that's stuck somewhere around 1960 and where her only concerns are her precious children and whether they are safe and well, even though they may be in their 20s or even 30s.

It's all so funny and sure isn't it a sign of great affection, this endless slagging of Irish Mammies.

And sure they are so daft and not on social media and they can't be offended.

Sure don't we all really love our mammies?

Well, I have news for you - all you bright young things who think that you are mining an endless seam of comic brilliance.

Your version of Irish Mammy exists only in your imaginations.

They are about as real as Irish people who go around roaring: "Top o' the morning to you."

Now listen up, while I tell you about real Irish Mammies. Women who are often not only running a home but also active in their communities, or also in paid employment outside the home.

Irish Mammy is well able to manage a smartphone, tablet and laptop; in fact, many have set up businesses from home.

She blogs, she vlogs, she is a master of social media, but guess what? She can also series-link programmes and navigate Netflix. Imagine that.

Irish Mammy runs her home and her family's life very efficiently and in the current climate, that is no mean feat, let me tell you.

She is the woman who (to paraphrase a line from Fiona Looney's recent play 'Are You There Garth, It's Me Margaret') has often been the one who kept her man's spirits up as jobs were lost, wages reduced and work dried up.

Or she may be the Irish Mammy who is raising the baby alone while the man involved high-tailed it as the first sign of responsibility.

She shops with military precision.

She makes all the purchasing decisions for her family - from buying the family car, to holidays (if they are lucky), furniture and groceries.

Advertisers should be worshipping at the altar of womanhood - it is the Irish Mammy who decides where to spend the money in this economy (and she prefers to call it a country).

Irish Mammy is the chief navigator of her children's lives from babyhood, through adolescence and onto young adulthood.

She knows when the children's dental appointments are due and parent-teacher meetings will take place.

She knows not only shoe sizes but also favourite colours.

She is the buyer of the perfect present because of the knowledge she holds about those she loves.

She is the woman who, in later years, has gathered her strength and courage to stand at airports to bid those same children goodbye as they flew away to the other side of the world seeking a better life and opportunities after the men who ran banking and our government crashed our economy and our children's futures.

Let me tell you about the Irish Mammy.

She is now not only looking after dependent children but she is also looking after elderly parents, supporting them so that they can stay in their homes for as long as possible.

She is bridging the gap that opens up where our community social services are meant to be.

She does all this silently; with no title and no financial reward because our country places no value at all on this invaluable work.

Irish Mammies are paragons of womanhood.

They are strong, smart, savvy and yes often successful. Isn't that mad?

Recently, a piece was published online entitled 'Nine Things an Irish Mammy Says to their Children Living Abroad'.

The nine things ranged from "What did you have for your dinner?" to "Where are you working again?" to "What's the weather like there?"

Let me tell you, I know exactly what the weather is like in Perth and where my daughter works; I can even recite the address for you.

How come?

Because it's where I have to send her birthday and Christmas presents.

So, it's beyond time to retire this lazy caricature.

I get the joke. It was even funny at first but now it is tired, old and so boring.

Irish Independent

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