Death of the Stepford wife? Traditional baking and sewing skills die out as modern mothers say they are too busy to learn them

Death of the Stepford wife Traditional baking and sewing skills die out as modern mothers say they are too busy to learn them

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UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 21 August 2012

The days of cheery domestic goddesses could be a thing of the past as traditional household skills like making pastry, baking and sewing buttons are dying out- because modern mothers are too busy to learn them.

Researchers found millions of mothers struggle with skills their own mothers would have carried out with ease.

Knitting, baking cakes, making jam and altering clothes also made the list of tasks that many mums just don’t know how to do.

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Knitting, baking cakes, making jam and altering clothes also made the list of tasks that many mums just don't know how to do (posed by models)

Knitting, baking cakes, making jam and altering clothes also made the list of tasks that many mums just don't know how to do (posed by models)

The study also found most modern mothers wished they had the skills their own mothers had but said they didn’t have the time or patience to learn them.

Built-in oven brand Neff commissioned the research of 1,000 mums under
Brand manager of built-in oven brand Neff, who commissioned the research, Sue Flowers said: 'We know that modern mums are under different pressures today compared with 40 years ago.

'As a result, many mums find it difficult to do some of the daily tasks their own mums may have done.

'However, our research has shown that many do want to learn how to do these things and feel as passionate as we do about ensuring skills such as baking and sewing don’t die out.

Mothers from previous generations learnt how to do these everyday tasks from their mothers and their mothers before them

Mothers from previous generations learnt how to do these everyday tasks from their mothers and their mothers before them

'Mums from previous generations learnt how to do these everyday tasks from their mums and their mums before them. Despite not necessarily having the know-how, many mums today are taking a real interest in learning traditional skills to help with their daily life or to enjoy as a hobby.'

The survey found nine out of ten younger mothers don’t know how to starch a shirt, while more than half struggle to sew name tags in their children’s clothes.

Three quarters couldn’t make gravy from scratch, while nearly half couldn’t rustle up a Victoria sponge.

Four out of ten young mothers still rely on their own mother to help them do things like cook a casserole and bake bread because they have never learnt how to do them.

While it emerged more than a third were embarrassed at not being able to do typical ‘mum’ tasks, a fifth said they couldn’t be bothered to sit down and learn a new skill while 21 per cent said they just didn’t have the patience.

More than two thirds said that they intended to pass the skills they did have on to their own children while more than a fifth said they considered most of the skills unnecessary in the modern age.

Flowing arranging was another task on the list of things modern mothers failed to know how to do

Flowing arranging was another task on the list of things modern mothers failed to know how to do

The research also showed that mums who live in the south of the country were more likely to be reliant on their own mother than those who lived in the north.

Sue Flowers from Neff added: 'We all like to rely on our mum for help and advice, which is why it’s such a shame that younger mums today find themselves too busy to enjoy time spent baking with their children and other traditional tasks.

'What’s really encouraging is how so many mums want to do something about this.

'In fact, just under half of all younger mums questioned said they had either been on – or were considering – taking a cookery course to help them become a baker or cook.

WHAT MOTHERS CAN DO

Under 35s Over 45s
Bake a Victoria sponge 57% 83%
Make pastry from scratch 33% 74%
Knit 23% 67%
Sew 49% 75%
Make jam 19% 43%
Arrange flowers 32% 51%
Starch a shirt 12% 38%
Sew name tags in to clothes 48% 84%
Darn socks 15% 41%
Make a fancy dress costume 17% 34%
Bake bread 24% 46%
Sew on a button 52% 88%
Make curtains 10% 40%
Make gravy from scratch 25% 62%
Bake a pie 38% 75%
Make a casserole 48% 83%