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Was I a hard mother?

(81 Posts)
Farmor15 Tue 07-Jan-20 13:25:51

Talking to a mother of 3 sons in 20s, she mentioned how she was kept busy ironing their shirts. I wondered was I a hard mother as I made my 5 children iron their own clothes (if they needed ironing) from about the age of 10. They also had to make own sandwiches for school almost as soon as they could hold a knife and butter bread!
I was working but their dad was at home when children were young and I'm not sure whether lack of time or laziness on our part was the reason our children learnt independence from an early age.
It doesn't seem to have done them any harm (I think🙂) and they don't apparently hold it against us now they're adults.
Once OH retired, I refused to iron his shirts either. There's a big basket of them now - he irons one when he needs it.
Was I a hard mother and now a bad wife?

GrannyLaine Tue 07-Jan-20 13:34:31

Not at all Farmor15 Your remit as a mother is to equip your children with the skills they need to become independent. It sounds as though you did a good job. As far as your OH is concerned, I think that's fine too.

yggdrasil Tue 07-Jan-20 13:36:48

Absolutely not. You gave your children the education they need to be independent. I suppose it is possible the mother you talked to really enjoys ironing, I believe there are people like that grin
Same with your husband. His shirts, his decision!

Yennifer Tue 07-Jan-20 13:41:21

No, it's not just about teaching life skills, it also normalises it. Imagine moving out and suddenly needing to do everything for yourself, even when you have taught yourself to do it, it feels like a chore. If ironing your own clothes, tidying up and cooking something healthy is normal for you, you don't then look for ways to cut corners and live lazily lol x

annodomini Tue 07-Jan-20 13:44:24

I think I must have ironed their school shirts though I don't have any clear memory of it! Both DSs are now very good at ironing for which I take no credit. Domesticity has house-trained them!

Callistemon Tue 07-Jan-20 13:50:23

I must have been a soft mother, despite the fact that I worked too!

They did learn life skills from me though, must have been by osmosis, although the DD hate ironing and DS loves cooking.

I had no idea how to iron a shirt when I got married, although my DM saved all the 'flat' things for me to iron.

lavenderzen Tue 07-Jan-20 13:58:36

You definitely were not a hard mother Farmor15, you gave them life skills. My girls used to help with the laundry and did their own ironing as I did when a girl. Husband's shirts a different matter, how I hated having to do them when he was working, he does his own now!

MerylStreep Tue 07-Jan-20 13:59:22

I suppose I'm too fussy to let a 10yr old iron their own clothes.

My mother was awful at ironing so as soon as I was able ( about 13) I told her I would iron my own.

Callistemon Tue 07-Jan-20 14:01:21

I was not allowed to touch DF's or DBs' shirts - oh no!!
In fact older DB ironed his own he was so fussy.

MiniMoon Tue 07-Jan-20 14:02:17

My mother taught me to iron from a young age. I started on tea towels handkerchiefs and table cloths and then graduated to skirts, blouses and shirts. I remember ironing my own school blouses.
I taught both my daughter and son to iron before they went off to university.
I didn't teach either of them any cooking skills, but they are now as competent as me in the kitchen. My daughter says she learnt by watching!
I think you did a good job OP as it's good to teach your children to be independent from a young age.
Now, if only I could get my husband to iron his own clothes!

Hithere Tue 07-Jan-20 14:02:20

Ah! Who is the best mother competition! Please ignore it.

What does your family say? Have they expressed concerns? It is all that counts, not another mother trying to see how you measure up according to her standards

Let me tell you something - your future dils are going to be very happy your sons do not expect their wives to do basic things for them - aka being the husband's servant.

TerriBull Tue 07-Jan-20 14:24:35

Good for you! In retrospect I was probably too soft and did all the ironing of shirts and making of sandwiches. I'm sure it's a positive asset to be independent from an early age, I was full of awe when one of mine was in nursery and we went back to one of his little friend's houses and the child, aged 4, made himself a sandwich and very competently I might add. One of mine is very house trained and the other..............well could do better, or certainly when he stays with us, I don't hesitate to point out any annoyances on the domestic front, at least I get a profuse apology now, so I suppose that's some improvement at least!

endlessstrife Tue 07-Jan-20 14:25:05

They learnt by example with me. I’ve found the children who had to be adults from an early age resented it later, my husband included. I didn’t have to work though, so can appreciate that would have made a difference.

TerriBull Tue 07-Jan-20 14:32:16

My husband and I split the ironing 50/50 once he retired, I'd hate to be married to a lazy git grin although I did all the ironing prior to that.......and I was working part time! I tended to do it between finishing work and picking the kids up from school................whilst watching "Neigbours"(guilty secret)shock

Chestnut Tue 07-Jan-20 14:47:32

Surely teaching them to be independent is the best thing you can do, so you did the right thing there. It can be difficult giving jobs to the children when we know we can do them so much quicker, and I'm probably guilty there, but they have to start learning to fend for themselves and the sooner the better.

Davida1968 Tue 07-Jan-20 15:00:52

Farmor15, I agree with GrannyLaine and others. Your sons (and their partners) are surely going to appreciate what you did in making your boys independent and able to look after themselves. I have a DS (only child) and I was determined that he would be independent and self-sufficient. This all contributed to making him a sensible, capable, and reliable person, who can get on and do what's needed around the home, including child-care, washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning. DiL has (more than once) voiced her appreciation to me!

Davida1968 Tue 07-Jan-20 15:01:39

Sorry Farmor15 - I meant all of your five children!

Yennifer Tue 07-Jan-20 15:06:33

There is more than one way to be a good parent. I wasn't taught how to take care of myself nd it caused no end of issues. I also have 5 children an their chores leave plenty of free time to be children, they probably average 30 minutes a day at most. I still feel I will be calling them for the rest of their lives checking they had a shower and put clean pants on but really I know they will be able to take care of themselves x

yggdrasil Tue 07-Jan-20 15:19:54

My ex expected me to do all the ironing, as well as all the rest.
Except for his trousers. It seems his mother had ironed his trousers 'sailor fashion', ie flat. So no woman could be trusted to do it right.
A tip to all other mothers of sons? grin

Grandma70s Tue 07-Jan-20 15:34:37

My children had non-iron school shirts, and as soon as they were old enough they ironed them themselves if they wanted them ironed. My husband also ironed his own. There is no reason to spend time doing unnecessary ironing, and certainly no reason why women should do it rather than men.

It is sad when children reach university age and can’t look after themselves. I have met some who don’t even know how to use a bus!

TwiceAsNice Tue 07-Jan-20 16:05:42

I did teach my children to be independent but admit to not allowing them to iron until older than 10

lemongrove Tue 07-Jan-20 16:16:35

I did all the ironing in the house, also made up my children's lunchboxes. My choice, and I enjoyed caring for them.
I also worked, but had bags of energy in those far off days.
I think that ten years of age is young to be wielding a steam iron, but that’s just my own view.
They are all independent adults ( and were in most respects I think as teenagers) never giving us any worries.

lemongrove Tue 07-Jan-20 16:19:26

Sorry Farmor I didn’t answer your question, the answer from me is that as long as you gave your family your love and attention in other ways, then of course you weren’t a bad mother, or a bad wife!😄

TrendyNannie6 Tue 07-Jan-20 16:30:37

I think you did exactly the correct thing, mine were taught to iron but older than 1O

GrannySomerset Tue 07-Jan-20 16:35:59

I did the last pile of ironing for my two on the day they took their last A level exams. After that if they wanted it ironed they did it themselves. DD hardly ever irons anything, DS is fussy about shirts and I showed him how to iron them. DGD is fairly useless so far and gets away with it but that will probably change once school exams are out of the way.

You sound an admirable mother, Farmer, and have encouraged independence and self-sufficiency. I am impressed!