Some girls dream of becoming the Rose of Tralee, but this once young city girl dreamt of becoming the Calor Housewife of the Year. And let it be known, that I blame that competition and it’s sponsors for my current state of affairs.
So imagine (though some of you may not have to try that hard) that you’ve just put the children to bed, you’ve had to cajole the toddler who missed his nap today to pry himself away from the TV and let’s say, he’s not happy about it. Your eldest has learnt how to whistle and believes that creeping up on you to whistle as a surprise into your delicate ear is hilarious and whatsmore you don’t know why the baby is crying. Windy, hungry, tired? Out of ideas.
So then comes the point of bliss when you turn on the ‘telly’ to watch some mindless TV to discover your favourite host, Gay Byrne at the time (1980’s Ireland’s favourite) has a queue of capable countrywomen lined up to woo the country, shame the city women and show them all how it is done. The details are blurry, there may have been jigs, there was definitely cake making, certainly triumphant stories of juggling five plus children and a career as a Home Economics teacher a pre-requisite. But somehow not withstanding what must have had my funny and talented city mother cowering and cringing in the corner, I wanted to be one of those uber capable Calor Housewives on a programme that ignited impossible standards for the already burdened Mna Na hEireann. *
And yet, while that programme is no longer aired, as women, city and country, mothers, wives, sisters at work, we set ourselves and each other impossible standards, raising the bar beyond what is compassionate. Tonight, dear friends, I declare myself the uncrowned Calor Housewife of Hearthill, without a Black Forest Gateau to show for it. No indeed, I have just done the necessary today, I have survived. You know who you are, you’re good enough, give yourself a pat on the back, you’ve done your bit for your country today. I thank you(!)…
Mna Na hEireann. * Women of Ireland.