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26th Mar 2014

The evolution of the modern Irish mammy

Mother's Day is just around the corner, so JOE takes a fond look back at how being a Ma has changed over the years.


Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so JOE takes a fond look back at how being a Ma has changed over the years.

We wouldn’t exist without our mammies. They’re a huge influence on how we turn out as human beings, raising us from the days when we can’t handle solids to today, when we can and will eat anything.

But in that time being a mum has changed an awful lot. Unsurprisingly, the Irish mammy is a versatile creature, and she has adapted to a changing landscape to stay ahead of the game. Here are a few examples of how mammy-ness has evolved over the years:

Keeping an eye on you:

Mammies, from the day you are born, will be worrying about you. It’s what they do. Years ago, they would have had to make do with watching you kicking a football around through the kitchen window, or waving you off to school with a tear in their eye, but all that has changed.

Now, thanks to social media, your Ma can follow you on Twitter and friend you on Facebook. We’ve even heard, unconfirmed reports we must stress, that some mammies may now be taking to Snapchat to keep an eye on their little darlings. We shudder to think the consequences of that, but the ever watchful mammy has never had more tools at her disposal.


Food is never in short supply when your mammy is around. But the variety on offer these days is light years ahead of what went before. We love bacon, spuds and cabbage as much, if not more, than the next man but the advent of Jamie Oliver and the rest has inspired a whole new range of meals that were not exactly on the menu in most houses a few years back.

Pan-seared, slow cooked pork belly with baby kale and fondant potato is the new bacon and cabbage and as for dessert, the humble trifle is long gone. Now, with the help of shows like Bake Off, no meal is complete without a plate of perfectly prepared macaroons.

21st Century chores:

The days of the mammy doing everything from the washing up to cleaning the gutters Mrs Doyle-style are thankfully long gone. Equality has finally hit most homes and the chores are shared out in much more egalitarian ways. That said, there are now new chores to occupy everyone’s time. We don’t know about you, but our mammy spends an increasing amount of her time keeping on top of shows on Netflix and making sure all those series-linked shows get watched on the digital box.

Charging every single electronic gadget in the house also requires the sort of logistical excellence only a mother possesses. Plug to gadget ratios need to be worked out so that everyone in the house can get the chance to charge their phone, laptop and tablet. As for managing the chargers themselves, and not tripping over them, well, it is every man, woman and child for themselves these days.


Into the car and down to the sister’s place in Wexford just won’t cut it these days. Holidays are now planned with the sort of precision that would put most military commanders to shame. Mammies take the lead here, reading up on hotel reviews, restaurants in the area, checking flight offers and availability, weather conditions, airport transfer options and a myriad of other variables. Booking the big family getaway is a responsibility taken very seriously.

By the time the clan hit the airport, the next seven days are virtually guaranteed to go smoothly, with the maximum amount packed into each, hopefully sun-soaked, day. And heaven forbid anyone tries to stray from the schedule.

While there might be a few things that are different, being a mum is still a tough gig. That said, the rewards are there in spades. It’s unpaid labour, but the love that she gives and gets in return stands the test of time, no matter how different it was back in our day. This Mother’s Day, don’t forget to get a gift from Tesco, who have you covered no matter what you plan to get or make her, from the perfect card to a slap up meal such as the Tesco meal deal (below).

From March 27th, for €15, you get a Mother’s Day meal for four. Available in store only.

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You know and we know she is definitely worth it.

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