It’s fair to say that I’m not much of a housewife. I blame it on all sorts of things (lack of storage space, two kids, muddy-pawed cat), but the truth of the matter is that while I love a sparkling clean and tidy home, I’m not actually very good at achieving it. Frankly, at any given point, I can think of at least 37 different things that I’d rather be doing than housework.
In an attempt to devote less time to chores and more time to more exciting exploits (in other words, just about anything that doesn’t involve a duster or dishcloth), I’ve become a pro at cutting corners. And one of those corners is ironing. Yes, to my mother-in-law’s horror, I don’t iron. Anything. Ever.
We’ve lived in this house for nearly three years, and in that time, not once have I got the ironing board out. I don’t actually know where it is, come to think of it. Presumably in shed – where it will stay. Memorably, the boy once picked up a toy iron at some toddler group or other, and came to the conclusion that it was a ship. It was a reasonable guess, given that he’d never seen an iron in action before.
I’d like to think that even though I don’t iron, we don’t in general look like a bag of ragamuffins – although I’m prepared to be corrected on that front, if anyone is brave enough to tell me. Okay, so The Boy doesn’t have sharp creases down the front of his school trousers, but really, who cares? I’ve developed a tried and tested technique whereby everything gets a vigorous shake as it comes out of the washing machine, and then gets hung straight away, and it seems to eliminate the need for ironing. Which must save me a good couple of hours a week: time that can instead be spent reading, surfing or drinking wine.
There are a few golden rules that I live by (or shop by). Nothing linen comes into this house, and all work shirts, school trousers and polos must be of the Easycare variety. And on the whole, we seem to get away with a relatively uncrumpled existence.
Recently, though, I’ve come to a disturbing conclusion. It would appear that, now I have a baby girl, my iron-free days are numbered. Contemplating the rows of pretty little cotton dresses and cardis on the washing line, I have to admit that they’d all look a darn sight better for a brief encounter with the ironing board. As the end of summer approaches, it’s going to be even more of an issue: much as I hate to say it, fine needlecord – the stuff of which most baby girls’ winter dresses seem to be made – really can’t be decrumpled with a swift shake.
There is an alternative, of course. I could, as of now, add 100 per cent cotton and corduroy to my household’s list of banned substances, and instead dress the baby entirely in manmade, non-iron fabrics. But that would mean passing on so many beautiful little outfits (including more or less everything in Monsoon and Boden), and I do hate to miss a shopping opportunity. So unless I can find a surefire way to get the creases out of baby clothes without the means of heat and steam, it looks very much like I’m condemned to joining the legion of oppressed housewives, scaling the ironing mountain on a nightly basis.
Now, is there such a thing as an ironing board with an in-built wine glass holder?