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Ironing as therapy for working moms? This TV host thinks so

Fiona Murray/

Is there anything more tedious than a wealthy woman waxing poetic about the therapeutic bliss of housework? (Outside of Downton Abbey, of course.)

Unfortunately, Kirstie Allsopp, a British TV celebrity who set eyes rolling by stating that "many, many" working women find pleasure standing at an ironing board at the end of a long day, is no Maggie Smith.

She's just bloody irritating. "I'm not doing ironing because I have to, but if I get a chance, I find it immensely therapeutic," Allsopp, a 42-year-old mother of four, explained in an interview reported by the Independent.

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"I'm absolutely convinced that those repetitive tasks that one does every day, organizing and regularizing one's home, and keeping it tidy, [are] enormously therapeutic.

"I know it is for me, and I have many, many working mum friends who feel the same."

Allsopp says she's an "authority on domestic issues," according to the Independent, because of a couple of TV shows she has hosted. She has also defended the rights of mothers who choose to stay home. But you really have to wonder about her focus group. The thing about "those repetitive tasks that one does every day" – picking up socks, finding orange peels between the couch cushions, washing endless loads of laundry – is that they are repetitive and boring, and every "mum friend" I know would do nearly anything to avoid them.

Perhaps if one only had to dabble in a bit of ironing when the mood struck – and not because nobody else was going to do it – the task would take on a certain, smug "downstairs" charm. (Nope, still not seeing it.)

One husband left this comment on the Independent site: "I showed this to my wife. Judging by how vulgar her response was, it's safe to say she doesn't agree."

Now, there are probably some ironing-as-therapy advocates out there (if only because the laundry room is generally a place in the house that the rest of the family is keen to avoid), but haven't we just wearied of privileged women (i.e Carla Bruni-Sarkozy) volunteering how much they are soothed by domestic duties, or, really, just doling out impossible advice in general?

For the many working women for whom housework is a necessary drudgery, life is better spent on real therapy when possible: hot baths, afternoon naps and, yes, Downton Abbey. The Dowager Countess may make us laugh by asking for the definition of "weekend." The rest should keep their optional-ironing-as-spa-time advice to themselves.

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About the Author

Erin Anderssen writes about mental health, social policy and family issues. More


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