Mothers throughout the world are wonderful creatures but there is something uniquely special about an Irish Mammy. Dragging up a gang of children, running a household often while holding down a fulltime job, dishing out the discipline as needed but most importantly being the backbone of the family, the strength and love that keeps everything ticking along.
Over the years, we have all heard different saying or phrases that Mothers, Grandmothers, Godmothers have used, Irish mammies have more than their fair share of go-to phrases for every situation. Here is a few of our favourite Irish Mammy Sayings and the situations they come up in.
Ah sure she’s the spit of her mother / Isn’t he the head of his father?
A new born baby in any community is a thing of excitement especially for other mammies, Irish mammies have a unique way of recognising the parents in the features of the new baby.
I’m changing my fecking Name
As children grow, Mammy is the source of all knowledge and all power. To gain anything at this stage of life one must get the attention of mammy. This is often done with the tedious repetition of “Mam, Mam, mam, mam, mammy, mum, mam, mam mammy” to which a loud reply would be:
“Jaysus I swear to God I’m changing my fecking name, what do ya want?”
I’ll redden your arse for ya
The Ultimate threat, evokes visions of the wooden spoon or the slipper. When the boldness becomes too much a warning would be announced to all involved. Those that do not scatter to the four corners of the house do so at their own risk as these threats were not thrown out lightly.
I’ll make ya smile outa the other side of your face
One of the most confusing yet effective threats an Irish Mammy can give. As children get older they become more brazen or “cheeky”. Smart comments, back talk or even laughing at others misfortune. “I’ll make you smile outa the other side of your face” would be said quietly, up close with a wagged finger or arm grab if you crossed the line. It always worked, but I'm still not sure what it meant!
If Joe Blogs jumped of a bridge would ya follow him?
As a boy, the possibility and probability of getting up to mischief or general stupidity is very likely. Normally while out with friends, cheered on or dared. Sure, boys will be boys. But it’s all fun and games until mammy finds out about it and then you’re in trouble. Of course, you would try justify your stupid decision to do whatever it was by saying “But mammy, sure Joe did it”. As soon as it was said you know you have lost the argument.
I’m not angry I’m just disappointed
The sentence that would make your stomach drop to the floor, the ultimate checkmate by an Irish Mammy. No punishment necessary she has already welded the killer blow, the thought that you have upset your dear mother by whatever action you have done. Oh god, the pain!
Jaysus the washing / theres great drying out / a grand stretch in the evening
One of the greatest joys in life for any Irish Mammy is the hours of conversation that can be had concerning the Irish weather. “There’s great drying out” – A good dry day usually with a good steady breeze. “A grand stretch in the evening” – The daylight hours are getting longer, ending of winter, start of spring.
“Jaysus the washing” – The shout that would echo throughout the house when the great drying out turns into a showery day and Mammy has just remembered there’s washing on the line.
Now this one I’m unsure if it’s every Irish mammy or just mine.
In early teenage years, school discos were where sweaty spotty kids, fuelled on coke cola would mostly attempt to dance but on the odd occasion, with sufficient egging on from friends, an innocent interaction with the opposite sex known as “The Shift” might take pace. Afterward, jumping in the car with friends, Mammy in the driver’s seat, she would question “well lads, how was it? Any talent?” which would be met with cringe worthy nervous teenage laughs.
Pigs thing and an onion
I have heard variations of this from various Irish Mammies across the country. We all know this story, anytime of the day or night, if hungry or not, mothers will be asked the question “Mam what’s for dinner?” to which the reply sarcastically from the mammy would be “Pigs thing and an onion”. I’m not sure what pigs’ thing and an onion is but it doesn’t sound to appealing.
Ahh ya do know them / ya know your one
When you grow and leave the nest, as a responsible Son or Daughter you must check in with the Auld Pair (parents) from time to time. Get the latest from the family news, found out how Dads in growing toenail is, and the latest gossip from the home town. This weekly update also includes the local death notices, the who’s who of the graveyard festivities. The Irish Mammy will tell you about Mrs Murphy from down town that has passed away as if you should know this elderly lady as much as she does. The conversation normally runs something like:
Mam: Do you know who died, Mrs Murphy from Main Street.
Me: No mam, I don’t know her.
Mam: Ahh ya do know her, she was married to the brother of Mrs Smith down on Chruch Rd.
Me: No Mam, I’ve no clue who any of them are.
Mam: Ahh ya do, she wore that purple coat to Christmas eve Mass back in 1994. Lovely Lady! Well they’re burying her tomorrow. That’ll be a big funeral.
The Irish mammy is something special and no matter where in the world you are, if you’ve been brought up by an Irish mammy you will know her own phrases and sayings that make you chuckle.
On this Mother’s Day, spare a thought for your mammy, Irish or not, that put up with us through the terrible twos, the hormonally challenged puberty and all-knowing adolescence.
They made us who we are. So, today we raise a glass to mothers everywhere but an extra special wink to the Irish mammy!