I think most mothers can identify with the Liam Neeson quote from Taken – ‘what I do have are a very particular set of skills. Skills I have acquired over a very long career.’  Question is, have you passed these on to your kids? And no, I don’t mean the ability to torture people (although some days that would be nice) but some essential life skills to see them through from child to adult.

When you are dug in deep in the trenches of motherhood a few things can fall by the wayside. I have blown hot and cold on teaching my sons practical life skills. They do know how to hoover, change a bed and make scrambled egg on toast but I know I am guilty of being lax around money. As they have become older, I have often thought I really should be doing future womanhood (and themselves) a favour by turning these boys out fully trained and domesticated but no-one is perfect.

But as one is due to leave home, I am thinking of what I need to cram with him before he goes.  My top five are below.  As your kids have moved towards adulthood WHAT DO YOU THINK are the most important practical life skills to teach them? M


Covering the basics:

  • Omelette – throw in ham, cheese, pepper, frozen peas and serve with a salad and a crusty roll.
  • Baked potato – classic student fare served with baked beans, cheese and a dash of Lea & Perrins.
  • Grill a chicken breast, cook rice and steam veg.

Some more technical meals are good to have up your sleeve especially if you are trying to impress:

  • A pasta bake is always versatile – all multitude of ingredients can be thrown in and covered with cheese.
  • Stir fry with rice or noodles means you can have a healthy balanced meal of protein, veg and carbs.
  • Green Thai curry – load up with a jar of paste, coconut milk and vegetables and/or chicken for a tasty and healthy dinner.
  • Fajitas – chicken, a pepper, a red onion, some spices and wraps, fun and fast!


Understanding use-by dates on food is always a good tip – if that chicken smells like fish, it needs to be binned!


Not usually students’ number one priority but to prevent germs and allergies, it’s good they learn the minimum and keep mushrooms at bay.

  • Cleaning a toilet – toilet brushes exist for a reason and squirting toilet cleaner around the bowl only takes a second.
  • Running a vacuum around will not only improve the look of the college room it will prevent dust and allergens
  • Changing a bed – you don’t stuff your duvet in a duvet cover like you are filling up a shopping bag, there is a knack.


Looking after money

If they spend too much in Starbucks or can’t work out how to split a restaurant bill, maybe the following will help:

  • Basic budgeting of their allowance
  • How to monitor their bank balance
  • The importance of paying bills on time
  • Setting of clear ground rules if you are giving them a shared credit card should all help avoid those late night texts in the middle of the term ‘can you pleeeeeeeeeease put some money in my account?’


Sorting clothes, how much detergent, what temperature? Do it wrong and you could end up with pink shirts or sweaters that might fit a doll.

Ironing also comes in here, wrinkled clothes do not make a good first impression and you can’t live your whole life in 100% polyester. If they can master a shirt, everything else should be a doddle. Sewing on a button will also come in handy.


Looking after yourself

A clear understanding of what basic drugs do and when to take them is important. Also remind them to pay close attention to the recommended dosage. When mum dishes you just the right amount it’s easy to over-medicate if you are not paying attention.