OK, I’ll expand: I come from a long bloodline of iron -ers, my Mother was known to set days aside for ironing, Tuesday was her favourite after Monday’s washing day. Ironing was a respectable use of my Mother’s time, a prioritized household chore. I remember when I became a Mother enjoying time quietly ironing everything we owned into crisp flat folded squares, very satisfying. That finished overnight; Emily was discharged home from Royal Rehab and I haven’t picked up my Philips steam iron since.
I look back in amazement that I undertook such a mountainous task. I ironed our kitchen t-towels, I ironed cotton boxers, t- shirts with their annoying spiraling seams and king sized sheets. Research has shown that in her lifetime a British Mother irons a huge pile of clothes 1,248 meters tall, that’s four times the height of the Shard (Toni Jones 5th Feb 2013, Dailymail.co.uk) Apparently an Australian woman spends 47 mins a day ironing, apologies to the woman who got my time because I’m doing none of it (Australian Bureau of Statistics 1997).
My past ironing activity was fueled by my love of pressed cottons, crisp laundry showing only its cupboard folds. This evaporated as two things happened:
- Lycra, more Lycra and Merino wool.
- I’m prioritizing enjoyable activities.
I’m not sure it happened overnight but Emily’s wardrobe is either lycra or merino wool, neither needs ironing. As insidiously as Emily’s wardrobe changed so did mine. We both dress for comfort and function. I stopped ironing and discovered most everything folds well and looks fine being pressed in the cupboard under another garment. Sheets if folded from the line are perfect and my friends don’t run room inspections; we are too busy boiling the kettle for tea, it’s the chummy chit-chats that support me not my silent iron.
I used to get flustered about the way laundry was hung on our washing line as someone had the same technique used when tying your trainers together, swinging them about your head before a timely release hoping the shoelaces would wrap around the taut telegraph wire overhead. This technique works well with trainers and overhead cables not with domestic washing. Yet I have become oblivious to this thrown approach to hanging clothes on the line as I’m now so grateful that someone, other than me, has emptied the machine.
I stopped being controlling regarding the continuous laundry cycle and I am so delighted that I benched ironing. I don’t want chores to be a statistic of my life; the average woman can expect to iron for four whole months. Not me.