The radio presenter will leave the station later this week after 17 years in order to spend more time with her husband Louis, her son Darragh, and her young daughters Eliza and Bonnie.
Speaking to RSVP Magazine, the broadcaster said that she has struggled to balance her home and work lives in the past and is looking forward to focusing completely on her family.
“That guilt has been so constant in my life over the years,” she admitted.
“I don’t want to go out with Louis on the weekends when I've been away from the kids all week, it seems unfair so we never do it. Whereas now I’ll be like, ‘No no, they’ve had me all week long, let’s go!’”
“My career was such a focus of mine and now I’ve realised that home is actually the most important thing.
“Before I say yes to something, I triple check my schedule and then decide, yes I can make that work, or no, taking that job means I’m going to miss the kids’ bedtime three times that week so I’m not going to do it.
“Before, I would have missed four or five out of seven nights because that’s just the way my week would have gone, but I won’t do that anymore. It’s also about putting myself first.”
Mairead said that she was relieved that her bosses were supportive of her decision to step away from Today FM.
“I have to say they were extremely surprised, but they were also extremely kind about it,” the mum-of-three said.
“I gave them the option and said, ‘I don’t want to leave anyone stuck so I’m happy to see out the next couple of months.’ They asked me to stay until the end of the year which I was very happy with.
“Even though I’ve made this decision and I know it was the right choice to make, I will still bawl my eyes out on my last day!
“I’ve worked at Today FM for half of my life. It’s been such an amazing place to work for such a long time. Very few people get to experience that so I know how lucky I have been.”