1. How to cook...and bake
2. How to clean and organize
3. How to sew and do other crafts
Ok, so I thought I knew how to do all of these things pretty well when I was single or that I could learn them super fast, but doing it for a family (and with a family) is another story.
Cooking: I didn't starve in college. I managed to feed myself every day. But do you know how hard it is to follow a recipe with kids hanging on your legs, getting into the pots and pans, and whining?? Yikes! And planning what to eat for five meals a day...every meal being nutritionally sound...is even more challenging when they'd rather starve than eat what you put in front of them! I'm attempting to be a better homemaker so I'm learning to make bread. The first time it didn't rise. The second time I made a proof box out of my microwave, but got distracted with cranky children craving attention and by the time I checked the bread, it had risen too much! If I had actually practiced this stuff when I was single (or at least didn't have monkeys to take care of), it would have been a hundred times easier!! To think if I had recipes memorized! Oh ya, and another thing that is discouraging about cooking...the mess! I'm constantly cleaning up the kitchen! And the kids hate when I give more attention to inanimate objects than to them.
Clean and organized: I've always considered myself a very organized person. I am learning that I'm organized when it only concerns my things and me. It's a whole different story to manage an entire house. The kids are always making messes and any spare moment is spent picking up after them. We, the parents, are part of the blame for messes too. The way I cleaned when I was single was a very relaxed way. If my little room got a little out of hand I didn't stress about it. I always found time to clean it up at some point, and actually I enjoyed doing it. But, one room is a much smaller space than a house. And finding the time to clean up the whole thing at once is impossible! I should have learned how to keep it clean along the way and organize in a rush instead of coming back to it later.
Being Crafty: I'm learning to sew and crochet right now. It's kind of a fun thing, but since I'm in the learning process, it takes a long time to finish projects and it's frustrating when my sewing machine is broken...like it is right now, although I'm sure it's a user-error...because I can't seem to find the time to figure out what's wrong with it!
My point is, the learning process is a process and requires time and attention. For all of these activities, since I'm still learning, it takes more time and attention than I can really give to them. So if you are still single, I highly recommend learning to do these basic things as proficiently as possible. Don't think you can cook until you've cooked for a crowd and done it with distractions. Some good goals would be to practice planning meals, memorizing recipes, and inviting a group...particularly children. Don't think you can clean until you've learned to keep your room clean at all times, not just able to pick it up when it's a disaster. And if there's a particular skill or hobby you'd like to learn that just might benefit your family, learn it now. Don't wait. You'll regret it.
(PS We got a new Young Women Presidency today. The new president is a professional home organizer and at least one adviser is an amazing cook. Looks like those girls are off to a good start with these goals!).