The day of the Mammy is upon us. Whether you refer to your mother as mam, mom, mum or - God forbid - mummy, today is the day you must spoil her rotten or you’ll be hearing about it ‘til the cows come home.
Mams – especially Irish mammies – have always been fountains of wisdom, sharing knowledge with us that has been passed down for generations. That’s why, on the day that’s in it, we decided to go straight to the source and chat to Ger, the mammy to whom The Paddy Box was born and reared.
Ger was more than happy to spill the tea on how The Paddy Box came to be and how CEO Mark drove his mammy mad when he started a full-on business in the kitchen of his family home…
‘Mark was always a little wheeler/dealer’ Ger tells us.
She describes a little primary school fella swapping football cards in the yard and a teen arising at 5 am during his summer hols to fix the divots in the local golf club. Always on the hunt for the next job, Ger knew her ‘little goer’ would someday have a business of his own. She probably didn’t anticipate it starting in her kitchen though.
‘It was nerve wracking’ Ger tells us, throwing her eyes to heaven like the true Irish mammy she is. Mark shared his vision with the family, and they were all on board. However, as large boxes of Tayto Crisps and Cadbury’s Dairy Milk began to arrive at the front door and pile up in the ‘good room’, Ger knew it was going to be A LOT of work.
According to Ger, the days after the launch of The Paddy Box were ‘Fantastic but exhausting’. ‘We were inundated with orders’ Ger tells us excitedly. Along with Mark's Dad, Ger worked day and night to help her son send boxes full of “home” to the Irish abroad and it was all worth it.
When Mark made the move from Mam’s kitchen to the warehouse, Ger was delighted. ‘I had taken the whole business very seriously and was beginning to worry about every part of it. Ridiculous, but I am a worrier.’ Don’t fret Ger, worrying is every Irish mammy’s favourite hobby. I’m sure you quizzed Mark on the location of the warehouse, who would be there and what time he’d be home before allowing him to leave the safety of your kitchen!
Though Ger started as the main packer, in charge of filling each box and making sure Mark’s Dad didn’t sneak a few chocolate bars while packing, she has now taken on the official role of Quality Control Officer. ‘I’m naturally neat and tidy, so I was definitely the woman for the job. I love going to the warehouse, chatting to the lads as they pack boxes. It’s like a little family over there.’ Aww. Why do we suddenly want Ger to adopt us?
Ireland handled the pandemic like an Irish mammy disciplining her bold child. We were locked up on and off for two years with some of the highest levels of restrictions in the world. On the upside, The Paddy Box brought joy to people at a challenging time and orders were through the roof. Ger was busy packing bags of sweets as Covid swept the nation.
‘I have to say, I was super-conscious of Covid. I had surgery just as Covid arrived in Ireland, so I was afraid to leave the house for a good while. Mark was amazing, working mostly on his own packing boxes and everything else that went with it. Mick (Mark’s Dad) was great too. That’s when I became the main person making up the bags of sweets, one of our most popular box-fillers. ‘I'm a “Dip Dab hand” at it now!’
Our chat with Ger was getting too wholesome altogether so we asked her to spill the tea on Mark and his antics. ‘Though Mark and I are the best of pals, and he is so easy going, sometimes he doesn’t like me telling him what to do. So, I’ve learned to dún mo bhéal from time to time.'
When we ask her about Mother’s Day, Ger reveals that even though Mark spends his time sending gifts all around the world, he hasn’t always been the best gift giver. ‘One year on Mother’s Day, he gave me a skipping rope. I didn’t take it too kindly as I was overweight at the time.’ - the cheek of you Mark, we hope you do better this year!
Lastly, we thought we’d ask Ger to share her most frequently used ‘Irish Mammy sayings’* before she headed off to be spoiled by Mark for Mother’s Day:
There’s great drying out there today!
What goes around, comes around! (Mark, you can expect a sod of turf for your birthday after the skipping rope fiasco!)
Did you say a prayer to St. Anthony?
You’ll be sorry when I’m gone!
*Mark and his team can verify that these sayings can be heard in the warehouse when Mammy Ger comes to visit!
Thanks to Ger for sharing her side of The Paddy Box story and we wish her and all the mammies out there a wonderful Mother’s Day!