25 Feb How You Know You’re a Failure as a Samoan Mother.

We’ve been back home for two years now, after three years living in New Zealand, so I can confidently tell you what makes you a #BadMother. According to the Samoan estimation of Bad Motherness.


You dont iron your children’s school uniforms and you dont make your children iron their school uniforms. Even worse, you DONT CARE that their uniforms are wrinkly.

How do I know this? A month after we got back, this happened.

Middle Daughter asked – Can we please get an iron that actually works?

I said – Why? This one works sometimes.

This is where I explain that I believe ironing is overrated. And wrinkly clothes are not the end of the world.

She said – Because my teacher will put me on detention if I keep wearing a wrinkly uniform.

I said – Thats ridiculous! Thats not in the school rules! Im going to write a letter of complaint. You go to school to learn, not to wear nonwrinkly clothes.

She said – Please dont. Im just going to iron my uniform every night.

I said – NO. As a matter of principle, i forbid you to iron your uniform. I will tell your teacher its my fault.

She said – The teacher already knows. When she saw my wrinkly uniform, she asked me why didnt my mother iron it?

I said – Why didnt she ask about your Dad ironing your uniform? You should tell your teacher that ironing is not a requirement for being a mother. Or a woman. And its sexist of her to expect your mum to be ironing uniforms.

She rolled her eyes at me. – Whatever Mum. Like I want to get into a debate with my teacher over feminism and man jobs and woman jobs. Even my friends ask me how come my mum doesnt iron my uniform? Not everybodys house is like ours. And not everybodys mum is like you.

because other peoples mums either iron their kids uniforms. Or actually care about ironing and making their kids iron their uniforms.

There you have it. (As if we needed reminding.) I am not like other people’s mums.

And if youre thinking of moving to Samoa and sending your kids to school here?

Iron their uniforms first. Or you too will join me in the loser mothers club.

  • Tui Esera

    You’re not a bad mom you’re a fantastic & understanding mom.

    February 25, 2016 at 5:52 pm
    • Lani

      Thanks Tui!

      March 1, 2016 at 1:32 am
  • Vinepa Lanuola

    You are a bad @$$ mom!
    I don’t even believe in ironing period! It’s time consuming & a burn hazard – I still have a souvenir I got when I was about 3… You would think that technology in this day & age would either import wrinkle free material or revise their uniform… My definition of wrinkle free is straight off the line to closet, work smarter not harder

    February 25, 2016 at 8:37 pm
  • Anonymous

    I dont even iron my work clothes- time consuming, too much power. I iron clothes like once a month or even better once in every six weeks…and only when it is absolutely necessary!

    February 25, 2016 at 10:49 pm
  • Marina

    Ironing is overrated, i don’t iron any clothes period, maybe your daughter’s teacher need her brain ironing, lolz. We send our kids to school to learn not to judge by their appearance.

    February 25, 2016 at 11:14 pm
  • Claudine Tupai

    That ignorance still exists in both Samoas, just like if you don’t give money to faalavelaves, you’re a bad person. If I don’t serve my in laws like the servant they want me to be, I’m a “fafine leaga”… The list goes on. Thank you for your insights. Just love reading your posts.

    February 26, 2016 at 2:14 am
  • Anonymous

    omg it’s a Samoan mother thing! All these years I thought it was just my Mum. lol Me however, that’s what the dryer’s air fluff cycle is for hehe Ironing is annoying.

    February 26, 2016 at 1:36 pm
  • You have more members in your Club than you think or know. Let them iron their clothes while they’re young; they’ll be glad they did when they can’t find helpers in the distant future.

    February 26, 2016 at 3:45 pm
  • Noa

    An iron takes up space, then again so does the ironing board… I knew a gal who ironed her sheets..Who’s got time for that? Back in NZ, trick is to hang it on a hanger and let it flap in the wind, Wellington wind is renlentless….

    February 26, 2016 at 11:31 pm
  • Leah

    Appearance over substance…anytime, lol. Apparently your qualifications in other matters i.e. a published author, a loving mother, feminist, etc. don’t count for much as in your ability to wield an iron. Still a hard row to hoe “two steps forward, three steps backward”.

    February 27, 2016 at 10:41 am
  • Suzy

    The only time I’ve heard of a Pacifica male using an iron was to beat his wife with.
    (Just hope they only have the light-weight ones over there nowadays.)
    Hope you do make that complaint, Lani.
    Teachers are supposed to teach, not reinforce damaging sexist stereotypes in impressionable youngsters.

    March 18, 2016 at 12:06 pm
  • You’d shouldd be fairly evil to say you were goingg to donate cah andd never really do
    it though.

    March 22, 2016 at 7:53 pm

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