a tribute to my mom…ironing

Ironing board

Image via Wikipedia

Do you iron what you wear? With drycleaners popping up on every corner, and the grunge look being in fashion, and ripped jeans looking cool, why bother to get the wrinkles out of everyday wear? I’ve got a small stack of shirts and jeans, both mine and my husbands, sitting atop the dryer waiting to be ironed. Sometimes I pull an item or 2 from the pile and give it a quick press when I’m in a hurry to wear it then and there. But most of the items have been patiently waiting their turn, collecting dust. Literally. It’s kind of an “out of sight, out of mind” thing.

When “the mood” hits me, I’ll gather the load of folded, by now very wrinkled items in my arms, bring them upstairs in front of the TV, and plop them down on a chair. Then I’ll ask my hubby to drag the ironing board up as well. He’ll usually go the whole “nine yards,” situating it in its usual spot, plug an extension cord into the nearby wall socket, plug the iron into that, and voila! I’m good to go. I’ll find a good show to watch on TV, and start ironing away. Once I get started, I can hardly wait to see the pile of clothes get smaller. It’s like a competition with myself, but also against the clothes. Will I get through all of them, or will I get pooped first?

Toritama produces 15% of the Brazilian jeans

Image via Wikipedia

Because my husband’s clothes are larger per square inch than mine, ironing them seems to take twice as long. But I muddle through, knowing I’m being a good, no great, wife! Truthfully, I think he’d probably wear his clothes wrinkled. In fact, he’s tried that. Upon closer inspection I’ll give him the thumbs up, or thumbs down. The older I get, sometimes I’ll just squint and give a quick thumbs up.

How my mom ever managed to work for years as a laundress for a Catholic orphanage, I’ll never know. She spent 8 hours standing on her feet, ironing, ironing, ironing. In between that she’d put loads of wash on, and then hang them out to dry. She dealt with pieces of clothing that ran the gamut from kids’ play clothes to nuns’ habits, including their head gear. Starching items was a biggie in those days. For those not familiar with that term, select types of clothing were doused in thick liquid, that really seemed like glue. I don’t remember if it was then lightly rinsed, or just wrung out and hung to dry. What puzzles me to this day is how my mom managed to get the nuns’ heavy, black, woolen uniforms, and head pieces, looking like they’d been drycleaned? She should have gotten an award or something. I imagine her pay was even paltry, given the orphanage was run on a dime and lots of prayers.

Needless to say my mom taught my siblings and me to iron correctly. On a shirt or blouse, we learned to iron the collar first, then the upper neck area along the back, then each sleeve, then the front of one side, moving around the back of the shirt or blouse, to the remaining front. On a pair of slacks, we would iron the front, then the back, then fold the legs together so that we could iron one side at a time, being certain to iron the inside of each leg as well. It was expected that when we opened the pants up again, there would be creases down the fronts of each leg.

Image by me. Larger version available on Flickr.

Image via Wikipedia

Talk about learning to iron as if we were artists, or scientists. My mom took great pride in not only mastering the technique, but having each item of clothing looking a thousand times better than when she got it. And that skirt or overall may have passed through her hands a gazillion times! No matter, my mom washed it, dried it, and ironed it as if for the very first time…and never complained. Even when she developed varicose veins as a result of working barefoot on concrete floors. The sight of her calves marred by streaks of blue bumps, were a constant reminder to me of how my mom sacrificed her own comfort to keep us kids fed, and clothed, with a roof over our heads.

Being widowed at such a young age, 30, my mom was immensely grateful to be working. And the Maryknoll nuns were like guardian angels always hovering to make certain we had enough food and clothing, even if both were surplus from the orphanage’s own stockpile.

So yes I still iron, however minimally, in memory of my mom who made the task monumentally important. Such a small, everyday occurrence, that for her meant all the world.

i try not to underestimate the small…for they are usually larger than they seem…hugmamma.  

10 thoughts on “a tribute to my mom…ironing

  1. There is something to be said for that casual look…….but from all us guys who are the beneficiaries here’s to all the wives, moms and grandmothers who’ve taken care that we look presentable……


    • When I was younger I thought ironing was okay. I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. Now, I’m not as concerned. If I need something ironed, I’ll iron it. Otherwise the pile of clothes just sits there…waiting. And that’s fine. There’s more to life, like chatting with friends like you, than keeping a perfect house. Been there, done that, so over it. ha, ha.

      hugs for your being back to blogging…missed you lots…hugmamma. 🙂


      • There is no things such having a perfect house when you have a busy interesting life ( or that means you have some people doing it for you but I call this cheating 😉 )
        That great to blog again !! Even if it’s quite tough now because I’m not used to do it though.
        Well I guess, I will have to think harder and to do some brain storming about interesting posts to write. 🙂



        • When I was in my early 20s and just married, I tried to have a “perfect” house. I worked full-time all week, and spent the weekend cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. I hated it, even though I liked keeping a clean house. My husband could’ve cared less, although I’m sure he preferred a clean house to a dirty one, especially since we had 4 cats and a guinea pig at the time. Now I have 3 cats and a dog, and a not-so-clean house. But at my age, 61, who cares? I’d prefer to be doing more interesting stuff, like blogging, than down on my hands and knees scrubbing floors.

          just write…the ideas will come…hugmamma. 😉


  2. Praise for your mother, she must have been a very special woman 🙂 Working very hard to raise her family *hugs*

    Damn, now you make even me feel like ironing! And I hardly do that. I have a rare talent: folding clothes at the exact right time hahaha 😉 Luckily my partner does his own ironing, since we are not living together (yet) and my sons are comfortable in jeans and shirts.

    Nice warm post 🙂


    • My mom had a hard life, and as a result so did we. She wasn’t a saint, she’d even tell you that. But as I’ve aged, becoming wiser in the process, I’ve learned to look upon my mom’s life with compassion. She did what she could do, given her own personal trials and tribulations. That’s all any of us can do.

      We’re each given one crack at life. Better make it count, and that’s what I’m trying to do. Some things I learned from my mom that are worth repeating, and some things I learned from her that I would not want to repeat.

      But with my father having died when I was one, I’m grateful I had a mom who was the best she could be.

      really appreciate your thoughtful comment…glad i’m not the only slacker when it comes to ironing…ha,ha…hugmamma. 😉


      • Mom’s don’t have to be saints… but they are angels in their own way.

        And she took it upon herself to show you which things and experiences to avoid. Of course we are too stubborn to listen the first time hehehe.

        Have a wonderful weekend hugmamma 🙂


        • When I said there were things I didn’t take away from my mom, unfortunately I meant there were characteristics best left behind, such as beatings with wire hangers, emotional manipulation, times when she withheld her love, the fact that she held grudges, and other traits that weren’t easy to understand as a child, and which I still dealt with into adulthood. After she passed away, and as I got older with a child of my own to raise, I could understand my mom a lot better. She had had an unfortunate life, and so I felt compassion for her, and still do. It doesn’t mean I haven’t been challenged in trying to learn to like myself all my life. But with my husband’s and daughter’s love and help, I’ve come out on the other side. And so it’s been my mission to be compassionate toward others, as well as myself, and try to live my best life going forward, with a positive outlook.

          thanks for your thoughtful words…and i wish you a great weekend as well…hugs…hugmamma. 😉


hugs for sharing some brief thoughts...and keeping them positive

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