Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Husband and Wife Ironing Controversy

Photo from

One of my clients had an interesting controversy about ironing and her husband that I wanted to share. Her husband hates ironing. So does she. Neither one of them is good at it.

Leah had this internal, old-fashioned voice inside that told her she should be ironing for her husband. That is what she saw her mom do. That thought is an old agreement she believed about what she thought roles and responsibilities are for a stay-at-home mom.

But in the real world in the 2000's, Leah does not like ironing. She barely irons her own clothes. Also, she works from home and does not think she has extra time to iron for him during the day -- when she isn't taking care of the kids, she is working. Some of her thoughts were, "He doesn't iron my clothes, why should I iron his. We are in this 50-50. I work just as hard around here all day as he does at work."

Every time her husband picked up the iron he ended up swearing and getting totally frustrated. Because of Leah's internal beliefs that she should be the one ironing, she felt a dagger go into her heart every time she heard him get pissed off as he was ironing. Part of her felt bad, like she should iron for him, but another part of her thought he needs to be responsible for his own ironing, just as she was hers.

This went on for years. Like more than 10. And they never really talked about it. It was just an experience that kept occurring.

It recently came to light again. Leah heard her husband complaining about ironing more and more. But she didn't say much other than to suggest he look for a tutorial video on YouTube. He did that, but didn't really find anything helpful.

photo from

Finally, one day, Leah decided to try to help make her husband's ironing experience better. She went out and bought him a new iron and ironing board. Her husband was excited about the new purchases and hoped it would help, but it only helped a little bit. He still got frustrated when he ironed.

Leah's next idea was to take his shirts to the cleaners to be professionally pressed. She did that and surprised him one day. It worked! He loved the surprise! They talked about the expense, which neither one of them had too much of a problem with, considering the frustration the ironing caused.

Finally, knowing he was in a good mood about the subject, Leah was brave enough to be honest with her husband. She said she had this old-fashioned, internal belief that she should be ironing for him, but that she did not want to. She said it felt like a dagger in her heart when she heard him get frustrated about ironing, because she thought the swear words were aimed at her. She said she didn't want his ironing to be her responsibility, but she wouldn't mind dropping shirts off at the cleaners and picking them up. He said she was awesome. That made her feel very relieved.

The moral of this story is in communication. Leah should have been more honest with her husband a long time ago, but she wasn't because she was afraid to rock the boat. Instead, she let this pattern repeat itself for more than 10 years and grate on both of their nerves. Now the issue is out in the open, making it easier for both of them to be honest.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


Ouch! That hurt! Today I saw some new recent pictures and a virtual tour of our Florida home, and it stung. Looking at the pictures made me feel a little bit sad. It made me miss the house and our life in it.

It looks so beautiful -- inside and out. I love what we've done with the place, if I don't say so myself!

On one hand, it was nice to see the lawn was green and the pool was blue ... rather than green, but, seeing all of our furniture and belongings there was difficult.

I know it's just "stuff" and that what really matters is we're all healthy and together. Most of the time I think positively like that, but sometimes it's difficult.

It's stressful that the house has not sold yet, because it represents a huge piece of unfinished business -- and our largest asset. Questions arise, like how much will it sell for? When will it sell? Will we have enough for a down payment for a new home? Should I buy Alyssa a new baby doll stroller since she keeps asking for the one in our Florida home? How much should we spend on decorating the place we are in now? How long are we going to be here?

I hadn't thought about how much I missed our house until I saw it in pictures today.

Seeing those pictures did more than make me feel sad though, it actually taught me something. I realized that although I always loved our home, I tended to look at its imperfections, rather than its overall beauty. Instead of seeing a beautiful family home, I often saw dusty shelves, vacuuming that needed to be done and kids toys that needed to be put away. Now I look at the pictures of our home, and I see beauty.

Today I acknowledged there are a lot of things about this situation I don't know, but I realized there are a lot of things about this situation I do know. I know another family will eventually walk through the front doors and fall in love with the house just like we did. I know God is in control and that He works in His own time. I know we are all together, happy and healthy. I know my family has been hugely blessed by the opportunity to live in my Grandmother's house during this time.  I know it's not the house that makes the home -- it's the people in it. I know I'm home as long as I have my family. I know home is where the heart is.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Parenting Dilemmas

It's been an interesting week for me -- I've been deliberating about whether to send Alyssa to school for half-days or full days.

My initial thought was to send her half days this semester and full days next semester.

The class she is in is a full day class. She was the only one leaving after half the day.

But, after the first week, Alyssa expressed her preference to go for the full day. She said she didn't have enough time to play when she left after a half day.

Part of me was jumping for joy at the thought of having from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. every day to work and get my stuff done. But, part of me felt I should keep her with me as long as I completely fulfill my stay-at-home-mom duties and to continue to mold and shape Alyssa with our family values.

Ahhhh....the dilemma.

I spoke with her teacher about it, and she thought Alyssa would do fine, so we decided to try it for a few days this week. Of course, Alyssa took right to it.

On the first day she was going to go the full day, she flat out told me, "Mommy, if you need to cry you can bury your face in my princess pillow." Seriously?!?! My four-year-old just said that to me?

Then, she gave me a plastic fairy window decoration she made and said if I miss her and feel sad, I can squeeze the fairy. Oh my word. The things that come out of this kid's mouth!

All week long, Alyssa continually expressed that she loved to be there the full day.

This morning I said, "So, before I make my final decision, I want to make sure you would prefer to be at school in the afternoon, instead of home with mommy." She said, "Yes, mommy."

I said, "OK. Give me a hug. I love you. Thank you for being honest and sharing your preference with me." We hugged for a minute, and when I let her go, I noticed she had tears in her eyes. I think she realized it was a big decision and that mommy would miss her.

So, I guess that's it. She's going full days. In some ways it feels like the end of something -- my official "stay-at-home mom" days. But, I know it is so much more than that. This is a beginning. For me. For Alyssa. For our whole family.

We have just moved across the country. The kids are adjusting BEAUTIFULLY to their new school -- so much so that Alyssa wants to be there all day. What more could I ask for? My children are thriving here! This was my biggest fear about moving -- "What about the kids?" I guess I have my answer! Thank you, God! xoxoxo