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Being compared to my mum is the highest of all compliments

Like mother like daughter' is one of those oft-used phrases that is supposed to be vaguely insulting - to the daughter in most circumstances.

I mean, gosh, imagine if you ended up like your mother! Shock. And then throw in some horror. However, that is not the case in my family because if anyone compared me to my mother that would be the ultimate compliment.

Not only has my mam been a fantastic mother who is unfailingly loyal to her children, she has also managed to make a beautiful family home for us all and maintain her own independence with work, hobbies and friendships -- plus she helped ensure that family relationships on both sides of the clan are paramount to all. The Brucie Bonus is that, in spite of the transient nature of the world we live in today, herself and my Pops will happily celebrate their 40th anniversary this year (they obviously said 'I do' when they were VERY young).

My mam never pushed us too hard, just hard enough for us to realise our potential.

She told me that as a young girl she was expected to 'fuss' after her brothers as they were growing up, and was asked to polish their shoes and the like.

She was having none of that, her salient point being that all her siblings, regardless of their gender, had two arms and two hands and could most definitely polish their own shoes -- and that is what her brothers ended up doing. As did mine!

A new research project has pin-pointed the age of 32 as the time when we finally start to take more of our maternal influences on board. A poll of 1,000 adults revealed that, at that age, we start emulating our mothers. Commonly used sayings and habits, such as worrying, stocking up on groceries, watching soaps and being opinionated also ranked high -- mainly among women, with two-thirds saying that they became more like their mothers at 32.

I know that I have her habit of triple checking I've plugged out everything before I leave home and that I've double-locked my door with the alarm set. I also can't bear untidiness and I always have enough in the fridge to feed 10 people -- but on the cusp of Mother's Day it's only fair to say that every moment I have ever spent with her has made me a better person -- and did I mention the feeding 10 people-at-once scenario! Respect to Mammy O'Keeffe.