You’re what? No seriously, you’re doing what?” Such was my response when my older sister Enrika told me that she would be travelling from Australia with all four of her children, under eight, on her own. But it has happened. Enrika, accompanied by her four Australian-born children, landed into our house last Monday for a month. And although I am thrilled to see them, it has brought home some realities for me. Firstly, that I am absent and secondly that the house, and those in it, are suffering from that absence.

Our Desperate Farmwife (page nine) this week discusses this issue that affects so many of us, that inexplicable feeling of “mammy guilt”. It really doesn’t matter what your personal situation is, most likely at some point you feel it. My sister felt it as she left Australia, for taking the kids out of school so that she could come home to see her own mother and siblings. I felt it this weekend as I departed home on Thursday to accompany my old colleagues from Glanbia on a charity climb in the west of Ireland. Although these absences are passing and conscious now, I will re-prioritise, there are “mammy guilt” issues that linger.