Never Finish the Ironing

Never Finish the Ironing

Never finish the ironing. That’s a caution I’ve lived by for many years. Where did this saying come from? Let me try to explain. After my first child was born, I suffered from what they would now call post-partum depression. All I knew then was that I was totally exhausted , and while I could take care of my baby, I couldn’t do much else. I did only the most essential housework, and the task I neglected most was ironing . This being 1961, permanent press had yet to be introduced so sheets, shirts, blouses, even handkerchiefs, piled up in a portable bassinet in the closet.

Then, blessedly, one day, without explanation, the dark cloud lifted, and I slowly began to catch up with my life. I saved the ironing for last, but when I finally finished the last piece, I was so proud and excited I put the empty bassinet on the path to the front door so my then-husband couldn’t possibly miss the accomplishment.

For about two weeks I enjoyed cooking and baking again, hemming clothes, long walks with my son in his stroller . Then, out of the blue came a period of sickness and death in my birth family that rocked me to the very core. Of course I knew there was no direct connection, but I couldn’t help thinking , “I should never have finished the ironing.” Over the years I’ve realized the real problem was the smugness I felt when the ironing was done. “OK, now I’m back on track, back in control.” But I’ve learned over and over , as someone else once pointed out, control is only an illusion, so I remind myself of this by saying “Never finish the ironing.”
© Dorothy C. Judd
Next post: Thursday, April 10th


About twofelines

What to say? I love my family and friends. I also love kids, cats, and books. Oh, and potato chips and Cheez-its. I am a retired teacher who still loves to be in the classroom, so now I am a substitute teacher.
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6 Responses to Never Finish the Ironing

  1. sjudd says:

    It’s also interesting that, like ironing, we are rarely ever finished with anything. We may reach some milestone, like an empty basket, but life will fill it up again. Perhaps that’s what living in the moment really is, trying to find the joy in the process and flow, not striving for some illusory end point.

    BTW, aren’t you glad permanent press was invented!

  2. twofelines says:

    Stephen, perfectly stated!!

    And, yes, hooray for permanent press – and microwave ovens.

  3. jen says:

    Loved this!

  4. Ann says:

    Very good, and worth sharing widely. Might even be a good book title, including many of your blogs (essays.)

    • twofelines says:

      Ann, thanks for the idea of using “Never Finish the Ironing” as a book title for a collection of essays.Like it. That just might be what I need to motivate me!

  5. Lauren says:

    Just catching up and love this. So very true! On a side note I was never much for ironing.

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