Bringing up boys to cook and clean

I have two sons and no daughters.  I am an only daughter with three brothers.  My mother taught all my brothers to cook, clean and to knit (not sure why the later was necessary, but they all learnt to make a mean bath mat, but I doubt they have used this skill in their adult lives??!!).

I have been reading a number of blogs recently regarding the teaching of daughters to become homemakers and not much (nothing to be honest) on bringing up boys to also contribute to the home.  I think it is very important to teach boys the basics, you never know when they might need these skills.
Cooking:  Both my sons have been taught to cook, not just boil an egg but to make a full meal including trying different recipes and test out ideas – Tristan loves making fish soups and casseroles whilst Caius is great with pasta.   They can both read recipes and I noticed that Tristan cut a recipe from the newspaper the other day as he wanted to make it.  They can bake (Tristan loves making cakes) and Caius (as you would have read) can make a great dessert.  I still have a little more training on how to “clean up your mess”, but that will come in time.  They both cook for their girlfriends and I think they are teaching them a thing or two about cooking. At least I know they won’t live on microwave food and can quickly whip up a meal that is healthy and cheap.

Buying food: How many husbands do the shopping and come home with things we don’t really want or would struggle with buying the full fortnights food – mine does.  Tristan is getting much better at buying food, starting to look for bargains or buying in bulk when it is cheaper.  He loves to come home and show me his shopping for the week — he is also doing well with preparing his own lunches rather than buying them, this is a great money saver and something he will be able to do when he leaves home.  All this helps when he has to manage a household budget with his future wife.

Cleaning:  Caius is better at this that Tristan (more attention to detail), and when Caius wants a little more pocket money he will spend quite a bit of time cleaning for me, he is great with the vacuuming and at cleaning the cupboard doors!!  Tristan on the other hand is very good at cleaning the bathroom/toilet but not so good with vacuuming (he doesn’t see things!).  Dusting was one area that  they both struggle with – they tend to  miss dust in their haste — the teaching is continuing.
Iron: What is that?  This part of the training has failed and I just pray that their future wives know how to iron — it isn’t something that many young girls know much about so I assume they will buy clothes that don’t need ironing or hire a ironing lady.
Keeping things tidy: mmmmm, what can I say – more training needed in this area.  My sons are boys and keep messy rooms.  However once every so often they do a spring clean, so they know how to tidy things up, just don’t put it into practice very often.

Washing clothes: clothes need to get to the washing basket before they can be washed, more training required.  They do know how to remove clothes from the clothes line when dry, but need to learn not to leave pegs on the ground for dogs to destroy!  They know how to dry clothes in the dryer.

If my sons never marry, marry women who cannot do all or some of the above  highly likely these days) or their wife suffers from an illness (like my mum that restricts what she can do), my sons should be able to run a household enough to keep it going relatively smoothly.  They won’t go hungry or live in a complete mess, but the washing might pile up until they run out of clothes and it will not have that pretty female touch but they will get by.
PS I haven't taught them to sew or knit, don't see any point in it.


  1. I agree with you 100%!! I am in the process of training my son to be able to be handy around the house. Having grown up with a mother who was ill through most of their marriage, I can definitely see the advantage to training a man to be able to DO things in the house, even if doesn't end up having to do it regularly! This is a great post - and I agree, there are not many blogs or blogposts out there devoted to helping mothers know what domestic tasks etc they should be teaching their sons.

  2. "....clothes need to get to the washing basket before they can be washed, more training required.

    That made me laugh!

    I am trying to teach this to not only my son, but one of my daughters who also struggles with the concept of putting dirty clothes in the hamper. Strangely enough, she often puts clean clothes in the wash??

    I am trying to teach my son to cook. He has learned to make fried rice, which is good for using up leftovers, and pizza but still needs mum around to keep him on the right track.

  3. I was very lucky that my mother-in-law thought about this too and both her sons can cook and clean. My mum taught me to bake but not cook. Not so useful. My husband was very instrumental in teaching me how long to cook vegies and the like. I do most of the housekeeping now but my husband still does a fair bit. My boys like to help us cook and we get them to do a bit of cleaning and tidying up. I think these skills are life skills and therefore for everyone. Good on you for bringing up the topic!

  4. Good on you Jo! I will remember to do this if I have a son one day....

  5. Ironing & my son don't gel, he doesn't think anything needs to be ironed! He is pretty good though doing anything I ask him to do, just have to remember to ask him!lol

  6. I agree completely. My husband lived on his own, in his own house, for three years before we were married. He is completely competent around the house, even beating me in some tasks, such as floor scrubbing and creative cooking. We both have our strengths and our I'd-rather-die-than-do-that-tasks (he HATES cleaning bathrooms), and we share the chores together. He irons, I bake. I dust, he vacumns. Our system means that we share the chores and the fun alike, which works well for us!

  7. Bravo! I completely agree. (o:

    Thank you for visiting my blog and for the kind comments you left for me. Your blog is lovely too. (o:

  8. My son left home at 16 to work the W.A trawlers. The whole crew loved him & rose up to call me blessed because not only could the lad cook, he could cook well! Homemaking skills are impostant for both boys & girls.


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