A generation of women bred to work

Click here for this Sunday Times article. It includes the following:

Yet the drudgery of cleaning and cook­ing and child-rearing, it has now transpired, was important skilled labour. So skilled, in fact, that we now need television programmes to show us how to clean our lavatories, rear our children and cook our dinners. The most basic housekeeping skills — such as working out a weekly budget and sticking to it — seem to have eluded us. Debt? Our grandmothers did not know what that meant. Could they have imagined their granddaughters would spend half a month’s wages on a handbag and the other on Marks & Spencer’s ready meals? Or throw out a perfectly good blouse because of a missing button, or not know how to bake a batch of buns without looking up a recipe in a lavishly illustrated cookbook?

What our mothers neglected to tell us was that women had been keeping the show on the road for centuries. Our skills as homemakers were important. Nourishing our children, managing the money, the traditional crafts of knitting and sewing — these were not simply things we had to do, but creative occupations that added as much value to family life as the money the men bought it. Or, as we are discovering now, more.

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