Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Thoughts from the Ironing Board

Last night I found myself engaged in an unfamiliar task; growing up, I had watched my mother do this for hours at a time. Meticulously she would iron a basket full of dress shirts for my father so they would be clean and crisp for him to wear for work, carefully pressing the creases in all the right spots and hanging each one up in love in preparation for a long day’s work. I remember thinking that when I grew up, I would never stand in front of a daunting pile of shirts to iron; therefore, as a young bride, I only purchased “Wrinkle-free” dress shirts for my husband (back when he wore a shirt a tie to work on a daily basis). 

After I had put the boys to bed, I went to pick out my clothes for the next morning. With our washer and dryer out of commission for now, I was unable to throw my work clothes into the dryer for a “quick fluff”. Instead, I found myself standing in the kitchen at my tabletop ironing board (as I do not even own a full size board) and began ironing my own dress shirts in preparation for a long day’s work. 

It was in this moment that I realized that at the same time, I had become my mother and my father. My mother was an amazing homemaker (I, unfortunately am not, but I survive) and my father was a dedicated breadwinner who wore a shirt and tie to work every day when I was young. Here I am, a woman in her 30’s, trying to be the best mom she can be and keep up with the house while simultaneously preparing for the next day as a working professional. (This is not to say that I am at this alone, my husband on the other hand is both a breadwinner and a homemaker and has his own set of complications, but his story is one for another day). 

I have to admit, it’s not easy and sometimes I feel torn between wanting to be more like my mom: keep a tidy house, boys always well-behaved and clean (yeah right), dinner from scratch on the table every night at 6:00; and at the same time wanting to develop my career further. I found myself singing/humming a country song, Trisha Yearwood “X’s and O’s”:
She used to tie her hair up in ribbons and bows
Sign her letters with X's and O's
Got a picture of her mama in heels and pearls
She's gonna make it in her daddy's world
She's an American girl

It may not be easy, and I am not going to try to say I can do it all (especially not alone) but I will continue to strive to be the best of “both worlds” if you will. I will be the best mom I can be and give my all to my career. The house may not always be the cleanest, and my boys WILL be dirty; I may not be able to attend every after-hours event at work and I will occasionally have to stay home to care for a sick-kid; but this is the life I have chosen, and given the choice again, there is not much I would change. 

So I will continue to iron as many shirts as I need to after the kids are in bed...
or I might start looking for Women’s Wrinkle-Free dress shirts…