The Irish Mammy. A dying breed?
There’s nothing like the Irish Mammy Right?
The legend of a woman who can cook, bake, clean, iron, sew, knit, tell when your lying over the phone and has a home remedy for any kind of ailment ( boiled 7-UP usually the main ingredient!) But will this traditional way of mothering soon be a thing of the past? Out of all my mammy pals I think I have one that loosely resembles a typical Irish mammy, as for the rest of us, well, thank god for You Tube!
The shift in the universe where a mammy brandishing a wooden spoon as a weapon became a rare occurrence, I believe happened some time during my parents generation. I am the eldest of four children, my parents were young when I came along so are still young parents today. My mam is half of your typical Irish mammy but lacks some very standard criteria. She is mammyish in that really magnetic way, children flock to her, you would rarely see her without an iron in her hand, she stayed at home and raised the children while my Dad worked and when she did work it was to mind other children, she was always at home however she cant cook, she tried but nothing she ever made actually looked like food, she couldn’t sew a button, and now she owns skinny jeans!
As a result of this parenting, I also can't cook, I do cook but thank God my husband 'D' has amazing culinary skills or we would all starve, I also cant sew, have adopted the will iron as needed method and I would need to get six opinions to reassure me before giving my baby cool boiled water with a drop of sugar, but I do work, I own my own home, I financially contribute to half of everything, we co-parent and everything is done fairly between both my husband and I. There is no tradition in the way we do things other than we got married and had a baby.
When I was preparing for maternity leave, I naively thought that my days would be spent making dinners and baking cakes, keeping the house clean and looking after my bread-winner husband. I was going to be the perfect stay at home mammy / stepford wife. Did this happen? Eh, NO! I have spent the last four months feeling pressurised (by my own hand) to fit into this standard box of what I should be like now that I don’t work, and feeling guilty that my daughter is missing out because I cant do certain things an Irish mammy should be able to do.
The truth is, most of us probably cant. Ask me to stand up in front of a board of directors and pitch a new idea, I’m your woman but ask me to sew the hem on a pair of trousers, hang on until I Google that. Lots of mothers of today have au pairs, have daily Pilates sessions, go for after work drinks on a Friday, own many an electronic device and will not be found in the kitchen 18 hours a day!
I have acquired a lot of skills during my life so far, some that are helping me with my new job as a parent some that make no difference at all, I am most definitely not the typical Irish mammy but I am an Irish mammy, I will learn and one day our generation’s mixed bag of parenting methods will become the norm and the traditional Irish mammy we know and love will only be a myth that may or may not have existed once upon a time!