“Hate” is an ugly word…I dislike ironing a great deal.
I come about this honestly: my mother wasn’t terribly fond of it, either. I remember the ironing basket overflowing before she would set up the metal board in the living room, turn on the TV and iron everything in one afternoon.
We usually skedaddled. Not because whatever she was watching didn’t interest us, but because Mom was a little grumpy when she ironed.
And then she stopped.
I have no memories beyond the year that she began to work full-time of my mother ironing. I do have many of us shopping and her telling me that a skirt or top was “100 percent cotton and it’s going to need ironing,” and giving me a look that said, “I’m not doing it.”
My husband’s mom is an ironer of the highest order. I have heard tales that his father was, too, so avoiding routine ironing of my husband’s clothes for most of our married life has been a testament to my dislike of the chore. (Or to his bachelor days, when he discovered that the dry cleaners will press them for him.)
But he started a new job this year and he likes to wear pressed clothes when he goes to his office.
Enter our iron, immediately followed by my whining on social media about how much I can’t stand ironing.
Ahhh, my friends — they are all so eager to help me.
“Send them out!”
“Brooks Brother’s No-Iron!”
“Make him do them. He wears them.”
“Teach your daughter to do it.”
“I don’t iron.”
“I don’t iron.”
But every Monday I take a week’s worth of his shirts and trousers and bring them to the living room, just like Mom. The board creaks as I set it up; the iron hisses as it warms. I turn the TV on to my latest Netflix binge, make sure the spray bottle is full of water and tackle the pile.
Even though I follow mom’s lead — and have a greater choice of television viewing options than she did — the act of pressing shirts and pants bores me. I tried to consider it a mindless activity and a fine time to give my brain a break, but that didn’t work. My brain wanted a break doing anything but ironing, even if my brain was entertained by Doctor Who.
I have tried to put it on par with cleaning the bathrooms — a domestic necessity. My shoulders droop realizing it’s more domestic drudgery. And I can’t justify assigning the task to a kid who already takes on chores that she isn’t asked to do, but does to help out her family.
I suppose we could send it to the dry cleaners like we used to in our pre-kid days, but I can’t see how that is fiscally responsible for us. Where would we make a cut to accommodate expenses for a task that, although I detest it, I can physically do?
I have tried to figure out a time that he could, indeed, iron his own clothes. But our current and highly successful delineation of household chores, as well as the long hours he works, leaves me looking like a jerk.
It’s an hour a week. An hour watching TV and making his clothes look the way that he likes them.
This is my husband, and while ironing does not technically fall into any of vows that we pledged 22 years ago this week — we never said anything about doing a mindless, dull chore — doing what I can to make him happy was implied.
So I iron.
Happy Anniversary, Brian.