Here are 21 phrases that will tap into the very essence of what makes this strange but wonderful breed tick – and will leave you looking like the BEST son or daughter in the whole wide worlds.
1. ‘Sure I learned from the best, mammy’
A throwaway line like this is MAMMY HEROIN.
She’d sooner let a hole in the ground swallow her up than actually admit it, but Mam loves to know – or think – that she’s the singular biggest influence on everything about you.
2. ‘Of course, I’d love some more!’
Your gluten-free high-lactose low-GI diet can go on hold for a day. Mammy wants you to have some more of her creamy, floury potatoes with a cowload of butter; so eat up.
3. ‘No sit DOWN, I’ll make the tea – you’ve done way too much today’
She won’t accept help unless you dress it up in such a way that she feels like an honourable war hero – the martyr card is golden.
4. ‘I don’t know how you put up with us when we were kids!’
5. ‘I don’t know how you put up with us these days!’
… sensing a theme here?
6. ‘If I could be anything like you, I’d be doing well’
See point 1 – throw this into a conversation about a situation you’re trying to deal with in work, and watch the poorly suppressed smile peek through.
7. ‘I met Mr/Ms Squeeze through that friend of mine you implicitly trust’
There are two types of friends in the world: those who mammy loves, and those who mammy is fully convinced serve no other purpose than to lead you into a life of sin and debauchery.
An easy way to win approval both for yourself and your other half? Say that it was one of the former category who brought ye together.
8. ‘Sure you never know who you’d meet on that Tinder yoke’
She always told you that literally EVERYONE on those internet dating yokes is out to harvest your organs and make a suit out of your skin – after all, she never really recovered from the time she accidentally watched Silence of the Lambs on RTÉ One thinking it was a film about a flock of little baby sheep who couldn’t baa.
Show you’ve been listening all along, and you’re in the good books.
9. ‘What’s Coppers?’
She’s heard stories.
Distance yourself immediately.
10. ‘Ah I wouldn’t be in touch with Maura much these days now.’
One of the aforementioned Debaucherous Friends. You may well spend pretty much every weekend in the company of Maura – but she does NOT need to know this.
11. ‘My boss said I did a good job on the merger project’
She doesn’t need to know what the merger project is; she just needs a line that she can grow into a story about how you’ve been asked to take over the entire company, and use to impress her friends.
12. ‘I’d actually love to holiday with you and dad this year!’
She won’t like that you used ‘holiday’ as a verb. But she’ll appreciate the sentiment: that your friends are lovely and all, but there’s nobody’s company you’d like more.
Although you might be better off saying...
13. ‘I’d actually love to mind the house/dog/other kids this year?’
It’s all about sensing the tone, really.
14. ‘You were right all along, mammy’
This one is the golden ticket; and it can be applied to nearly any situation.
Use liberally and generously, for it will never get old.
15. ‘Remember the time you accused me of nicking da’s cider when I was 16 and I always denied it? Well. I did steal it.’
Look, she’ll be mad for a few minutes – but the sense of vindication over the barefaced lies that she’s known about for YEARS will make her the happiest woman on the planet.
16. ‘Sure I think I’ll stay in tonight’
She knows you're safe for the night, AND you’ve chosen her company above the pub.
ALL the Mammy points.
17. ‘The Apple TV seems to be broken’
Mammy will never force her will on anyone else, so don't put her in a position where she needs to – the Late Late Show it is, and none of this 'Net Flicks' rubbish to contend with.
18. ‘You know, I’m really starting to warm to Daniel O’Donnell’
This may come back to haunt you – in the form of a gig – but all that stuff you said about how lame he was when you were a teenager? That cut her deep.
She’ll see this admission as a sign that you’re maturing into… well, Mammy, basically.
19. ‘I know you told me not to get you anything, but…’
Always, ALWAYS do what your mammy says.
Apart from when she tells you not to get her anything for Mother's Day/her birthday/Christmas/her anniversary with da.
20. ‘I’m going to pop over and say hi to Mrs Elderly later’
This gives her something she can drop into conversation with her friends to show how brilliantly she raised you. A potent currency.
21. And finally, ‘I love you, mam’
You’ve shown it, but you’ve never said it.
So say it. Gwan.