Knoxville News Sentinel: Knoxville young women stack homemaking chores against other priorities

Posted by on May 22, 2011 in SRW in the News

The blouse in her closet – the one with the loose hem hanging down – intimidated Erin Burns Freeman.

As she stared at the shirt, it crossed her mind to repair it herself.

She had long ago been taught how, but she took the shirt to the dry cleaners.

“If I had hemmed it, it would’ve taken a long time,” said the 31-year-old public affairs consultant and owner of EBF Communications. “Three inches was all that needed to be sewn back together. I was intimidated by it.”

Her mother and many women of previous generations probably would’ve sewn it themselves.

Basic domestic skills – cooking, cleaning, sewing and ironing – seem to be becoming a thing of the past, an endangered species, according to social research.

Many women in their early 20s to early 30s don’t have the time their mothers and grandmothers may have had for household chores or they can afford modern conveniences to help. In some cases, they simply don’t know how to bake a cake from scratch or sew a hem.

Sheila Borders, family and consumer science agent at Loudon County University of Tennessee Extension Office, said younger women call all the time looking for how-to classes on cooking, sewing and crocheting.

“It’s basic things that their parents would take for granted,” Borders said. “There is definitely a generation gap between ‘Ozzie and Harriet’ and ‘The Cosbys’.”

According to a study from McCrindle Research in Australia, all kinds of tasks are lagging behind with Generation Y. Only 23 percent can grow a plant from a cutting while 78 percent of older women say it’s a breeze. Only 51 percent of women under 30 can cook a roast, compared with 82 percent of baby boomers, according to the research.

To read the full article, please visit



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *