I love lots of things about having children, but one thing I hate about having them is sewing.
At school any needlework project was created amidst much angst and invariably looked like a dog's breakfast despite all the sweat I had expended over it.
I just couldn't get the hang of the running stitch versus the over-sewing stitch, and don't even get me started on using a sewing machine. The knots I wove from skeins of thread could have been put up for the Turner Prize such was their intricacy. I still recall handing over a purple top that I had spent an entire term crafting, only for my mother to fall about in fits. To be fair it was a pretty hilarious attempt.
When I hung up my school uniform I thought that could be the end of sewing, just as I would never have to tackle another quadratic equation or conjugate another verb, and so it was until I had children. I'm not the only one of my generation who thought her sewing days were over.
Do you sew labels on your children's clothing or are you a biro or stick-on parent?
Oh no. Programmes like Kirsty's Homemade Home mean that it is no longer good enough to whip down to Mothercare for a newborn pack of cardis. Oh no, you have to knit your own to be eligible to wear the shiny halo of the good mother.
And then when they start school and nursery there are the dreaded name labels to sew into (what feels like) a thousand uniforms. Not that it appears to have stopped my sons from mysteriously losing all their school kit, but at least I can feel virtuous when those letters came home demanding all mothers SEW ON NAME LABELS in shouty capitals.
Thank goodness for Label Planet where I discovered really sticky stick on name labels that can even endure the washing machine and the tumble dryer.
But then came sports like judo and ballet, which required me to attach ribbon to belts and elastic to shoes. What's a girl who hates sewing to do? Well ask her mother-in-law of course who, as a lady brought up with a proper education, can actually wield a needle and thread with some elegance and aplomb.