In an interview with RTÉ TEN, Miriam, 50, said: "I think women like me, who work outside the home, are fooling themselves and pretending that the kids are just as happy when we're working but that's just a fallacy.

"They aren't. They really want you to be at home. There isn't a day and my youngest is still five, where I don't sneak out my front door because little children will always cry when you're going to work. Even my older children would prefer me to be here.

"I do go around talking to women's groups and women come to me and say 'I don't work, I stay at home.' And I say 'excuse me, you do the hardest job in the world and that's not patronising, that is the truth, I strongly believe that.

"I go into work for a break, I can sit there, I can have a coffee, I can go to the loo and no one is rapping at the door to get in. It's a completely different life but the hardest job is staying at home.

"The most important thing is that society is not allowed divide us, I really believe that. I think in society you get people pitying working mothers versus people who work from inside the home and we should never let anyone do that.

We're all working hard and its choices you make and my choice is primarily because I love my job. I also do it because I need the money but even if I didn't need the money, I would make the selfish decision that I currently make, to work outside the home because I love it.

"The other flip side is that I've seen it - I've very young children and I've older children - and it doesn't matter how much your children love you, they eventually get their whole band of friends, quite early in life, early teenagers really and then frankly, they don't want you hanging around them or hanging around the school gates. I would worry about a woman who devotes her life exclusively to her children because it can be lonely when they decide to fly away.

Talking about how she juggles her personal and professional lives, she said: "I am incredibly lucky I worked my butt off all of my life but I've a very good job and a very good income and I have the same two women who have helped me since 1997. I never would ask them to work my hours; sometimes I would drop the kids to the school gates and not get home until after 'Prime Time', 10.50pm even if I'm driving fast as I can!

"Sometimes you get celebrities like Angelina Jolie and frankly they annoy me - they insist, in all the shots, of carrying all the children out of the plane and then you discover that they've two nannies for each child. I always say that I've two women Lorraine and Bridget and they work different shifts so one is working during the day, then another woman, it suits her to mind them in the evening because my husband often works late as well.

"So I do it that way, I've a brilliant mother and a brilliant husband, so I don't do it alone. Having said that I do think quite a lot of it falls back on you, to hold it together. When I come in from work, men are great but they don't really see what you see and they won't come in and say 'I need to clean this kitchen now' , which we do. So I need to empty that washing machine or if I need to put out the kids lunches but that's okay.

"If I've been asked once, I've been asked a million times to write a book for working mothers but I wouldn't do it because I hate women who preach to other women. I bumble along to be honest, I don't have any idea about what the right way to parent is or the right way to be a working mother, I just do it instinctively, the way I think I should. Sometimes I get it right and sometimes I get it wrong.

"I find it incredibly intimidating though when people say to me, 'I love watching you on the telly because I know you've got loads of kids and yet you still come on looking normal.'

"Some nights, even though I feel like the wreck of the house, I think 'Hell, I've got to make my hair look normal, because that woman in Kilkenny is watching and saying the day you come on looking like you've lost it, is the day we'll all give up.' No pressure! You just do the best that you can.

"I know the guilt feelings though when you hear, so and so's mum makes beautiful cakes and then I'll go into a week of cake baking and then I'll forget about that! Guilt is a negative emotion, it's a pointless emotion and it's a part of my life that I'm going to feel guilty. If I'm picking up the kids, I'll feel guilty I'm not in work, if I'm in work, I feel guilty that I'm not at the school gates. I think you just have to go with balance - if you love your kids and you know they love you.

"I've never missed a parent teacher meeting and I've never missed a school concert. There was one famous night, where my children were in a concert, Noel Curran was the producer of 'Prime Time' and he was great and he said 'go off'. I think it was 9.32pm and we were going on air at 9.34pm and I literally ran into the studio but it was worth it.

"He said to me: 'That was cutting it fine' and I said: 'Yeah, I know but I got back on time'! 'Prime Time' was going to be on two nights later but that single concert when my twins were playing the piano, that was never going to happen again."
Speaking about the new season of 'Saturday Night with Miriam' which launched last Saturday, O'Callaghan said: "We just got our figures, 41% [audience share] and over 520,000 viewers, it's sensational, it is amazing."

The presenter has said before that she believes Irish audiences want to hear stories from Irish people: "I do believe that and Gay Byrne always said that and he's the guru."
Talking about how she felt the programme went, she said: "I was slightly worried because I was so relaxed. It's not that I'm not aware it's live television, so I'd still have that slight edge of terror but I just find it very easy at this stage, so I just enjoy myself and I think it works.

"It's like, as someone said, it's eavesdropping on a nice conversation. It's less formal, I can't put my finger on it but it works, thank God."

'Saturday Night with Miriam' is on RTÉ One at 9.35pm.