The Humble Iron is Not Like An AK-47

Image by John Kasawa

A few weeks after we arrived in Australia, my sister and her boyfriend came to spend a weekend at the beach with us. They live inland and don’t get to the beach often, so it was a great weekend of sun, sand, surf, and catching up.

It was the last day of their trip, and the boyfriend pulled out an ironing board and iron, to iron his shirt.

My kiddo walked by, and asked him what it was he was holding.

“What, this?” said the boyfriend,  holding up the iron. “It’s an iron!”

“What does it do?” kiddo asks in all sincerity.

(The boyfriend is flabbergasted by the turn of events.)

“You iron things with it. It makes your clothes neat. Have you seriously never seen your mother use an iron?”

(Kiddo is somewhat perplexed, but losing interest fast, given that the strange object wasn’t a toy, chocolate or a something to pull apart.)

“No, she doesn’t use that thing, our clothes are already neat.”

I actually heard this conversation from the other room and tried to dodge the proverbial bullet, by escaping into the kitchen – without a confrontation – but had no such luck and was  accosted by an incredulous boyfriend near the refrigerator. He gave me the rundown, and demanded an explanation as to how an almost-seven-year-old did not know what an iron was, nor what it did.

Valiantly, I explained about the miracle and wonders of dry cleaning in America, (where I had lived for the preceding 10 years). In the USA dry cleaning is cheap, efficient, easy to access (most have drive through windows) and thus, used regularly by me. If the truth-be-told, my son had probably never even seen me use an iron.

Here in Australia, (The boyfriend will be pleased to know), I iron all the time and the kiddo has now become intimately familiar with it, as I curse my way through his school shirts. Some bright spark on the board of his institution – in their infinite wisdom – decided that it would be a fantastic idea to put 7-year-old boys in white, button up, crisp cotton collared shirts, for school (along with a tie, no less)!

This necessitates me washing and ironing on a weekly basis. These shirts get indescribably dirty, requiring the use of industrial-grade stain remover (and shirt replacements every couple of months), due to the stubborn marks that appear and defy all laws of stain removal.

My grandmother always says; “You’re never to young to learn,” and since my love of old quotes is far greater than my love of ironing, I’ve decided to pass the baton and allow kiddo to experience the thrill himself.

That said, can anyone tell me the legalities involved in allowing a 7-year-old to use an iron? I mean, it’s not like it’s an AK-47, I couldn’t get arrested, right?

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9 thoughts on “The Humble Iron is Not Like An AK-47

  1. Carrie says:

    I’m telling you…we must’ve been separated at birth.

    My ex got the iron in the divorce. Well, more like I gave it to him. Ok…I just didn’t ask for it.

    Anyway, I am 42 years old and don’t own an iron or an ironing board. Haven’t used either in over 7 years now. You’re so right…my dry cleaners are my best friends. The ‘I would listen if they called me crying in the middle of the night’ kind of best friends.

    If I ever move to Australia…I’ll buy one and use it with pride. But, until then…



    • ha! It DOES sound like we were separated at birth, I think I might actually consider divorce if it meant giving up ironing!

      I miss the USA and their dry cleaning services. I took a shirt here once (no drive through, no same day service) they tried to tell me it was $14.50 for a men’s button up. I decided, given I could iron 4 shirts in an hour, and that made for a pretty decent hourly rate. I just charge my hubby $55 for 4 shirts ironed now – which of course he’s not about to pay, so he does them himself. Its kind of a win-win.


  2. Daisy says:

    You just made me laugh so hard! I also believe in the power of dry cleaning. My 9 year old didn’t know what an iron was when I pulled it out a few months ago. I wasn’t using it to iron the wrinkles I was using it to add an iron-on to a t-shirt. Ugh… would our mothers be ashamed of us?


    • Thank you for making me feel as though I’m not the only one. Mother guilt did set in for a while there… My mother however hated ironing, so she would just be jealous, my grandmother on the other hand, would be horrified!


  3. societyred says:

    I remember being mesmerized watching my mom iron when I was very young. She was a machine! I’ll never forget when she taught me how and let me iron one of my dad’s shirts but since I never iron I rarely visit that memory. Thanks for the reminder!
    Funny, when I got divorced several years ago, I went out shopping to pick up the essentials; kitchen stuff, sheets, towels…The iron and ironing board were near the top of the list. I never questioned why I needed them, I guess I just needed them in the closet in case someone needed to borrow them! I have a few items of clothes in the closet that need ironing…they sit dormant right next to the iron.


    • This was hilarious. Isn’t it funny what’s ingrained in us? We ‘must’ have an iron and ironing board, and yet you will probably never use it. lol.

      Hat’s off to your mum and her skill, mine was good at it, but complained the whole time (as I would), kind of took the thrill out of being around her to watch! 🙂


  4. I hate to iron and only do it when the dryer cannot smooth the wrinkles in my clothes! 🙂


    • Amen to that! Australian’s don’t use dryers as much as the US either. Everyone has a washing line in their yard that they use. That said, I haven’t used mine much at all, the dryer keeps getting its workout just like it did in the US – thank God some things can stay the same!


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