In the last several years, it has become increasingly apparent that many children no longer know how to perform tasks that were once essential to running a household.

But while it’s easy to chalk up this deficiency entirely to laziness or lack of interest on the part of kids, a recent European study found that parental busyness plays a larger role than many would like to admit. The Belfast Telegraph explains:

“New research suggests letter writing, how to sew, washing-up, ironing, and how to spring clean are among the things mothers aren’t teaching their offspring any more. Organising the laundry and making ‘proper’ gravy, cakes and biscuits are also on the list of skills casualties, compiled from a survey of 2,000 mums of children aged two and above.

The Addis Housewares study found over half of mums just don’t have the time to teach their kids domestic know-how, so instead of asking mum how to do something, one in 10 kids are turning to the internet for help.”

Just what type of skills are not being passed on from mother to child? The below list gives a streamlined overview of the original 50 items:

  1. Letter writing
  2. Making jam/marmalade
  3. Crocheting
  4. Knitting
  5. How to hem a dress
  6. Sewing buttons
  7. Making dough and pastry
  8. Handwriting
  9. How to recycle vintage furniture
  10. Making a proper gravy
  11. Making biscuits (cookies)
  12. How to grow vegetables successfully
  13. Baking a cake
  14. How to spring clean a house
  15. How to clean an oven
  16. Washing up
  17. How to get stains out of clothes
  18. Folding clothes properly
  19. Telling when fruit/veg is ripe
  20. How to wash a car
  21. How to get stains out of carpets/furniture
  22. Making pancakes
  23. How to clean windows
  24. How to organize/sort the laundry
  25. Ironing clothes

In recent decades, we’ve convinced women that they won’t capitalize on their true value and potential until they manage a successful career outside of the home. Many women have taken this advice to heart, and spent stress-filled lives trying to balance career, children, and a household. While they smile through it and convince the world that they’re doing it all, do the results of this survey suggest otherwise?

To ask such a question is not to place a guilt trip on mothers, but rather to do some soul-searching as a society. If we are so eager to tie-up mothers with careers beyond their family, are we also willing to throw basic “adulting” skills to the wind, leaving the next generation to figure them out on their own through the means of YouTube videos rather than a mother’s gentle instruction?

Image Credit: Jenny Lee Silver