Mother's Day is upon us yet again, and, like any decent Irish mother, it engenders in me feelings of guilt, anguish and entrapment.
Guilt if you forget to send the card, the flowers and to generally make a big deal about it. Anguish because you really don't want to be a part of this made-up excuse to make Hallmark even more profits, and entrapment because you simply have to do it, or you will be judged harshly.
My mom knows my feelings on this. I have told her that unseen forces have deliberately set out a yearly schedule of days we must celebrate – Christmas, Valentine's, Mother's and Father's Day.
We are forced to empty our pockets and ply people who spent the first part of the year watching Operation Transformation with sweets and dead flowers.
IT'S A TOTAL SCAM. I SAY I CAN DO NICE THINGS ANY DAY OF THE YEAR AND FOR HER IT WILL BE EVEN MORE SPECIAL. BUT GOD FORBID IF THE CARD DOESN'T ARRIVE ON SUNDAY.
A recent survey found that British people speak to their mothers on average 22 minutes a week, usually on Monday after work and before the good telly is on.
I'd say it is the same here. I usually talk to both my parents as they are always together, but I have stipulated that they are forbidden from asking the question "How Are You?"
Asking any Irish person how they are over the last six years would only sound like an episode of Liveline. I merely have to point at any headline from 2008 onwards and it reflects how we have all been doing.
My mother is Irish-American, so it is slightly different to the classic Irish Mammy experience Colm O'Regan reflects so well in his Irish Mammies books and tea-towels.
The average Irish Mammy exerts a control over her son like no other despot. A North Korean tyrant has less of a grip on the populace under his roof.
Because of the power of the Irish Mammy, the Irish male rarely matures above the age of 17, and answers each question or request with a sullen indolence, deep into his 60s, by which time his descent into dotage matches his childlike mood.
The Irish Male may have the power within himself to get things done, perform chores and even earn money from working. But we will never really know how much of this is him and how much is self-improvement prodding on the part of his mother. It's exhausting, but has produced the hardworking if grossly immature males running the country.
With all this pressure, is it any wonder when the Irish Male leaves home he almost immediately hitches himself to another strong woman after four years of madness in college?
Even the Irish males lucky enough to emigrate end up doing the same thing. My New York emigrant friends are, in the main, all about marrying a strong woman and producing a scatter of kids.
THE IRISH MAMMY THEN VISITS NEW YORK AND IS DRAGGED AROUND TO ALL THE SIGHTS WITH THE WHOLE GORGEOUS MULTI-ETHNIC BROOD IN TOW FOR TWO WEEKS. SHE EXPERIENCES EATING FALAFEL FOR THE FIRST TIME, AND SHOPPING IN RETAIL WAREHOUSES WHERE THE BARGAINS ARE ALWAYS MASSIVE.
Of course, the Irish Mammy never questions the idea that Mother's Day was actually invented in 1908 by Anna Jarvis, who was herself completely sick of the crass commercialisation of it, courtesy of the booming greeting card industry, by the 1920s.
But the Irish Mammy will never concern herself with this – after all – who doesn't like getting a card? Happy Mother's Day.