Years ago when my daughter announced, to my horror, that she wanted to be a Brownie, I led her to her first meeting with reluctance. I was happy for HER that she wanted to be part of this wonderful organization, where she’d meet new friends, learn new skills and develop a better super-ego.

But I knew that it meant new activities for me that I hate doing: baking cookies and brownies and leading activities that involve other fine motor skills that I find difficult to do. And of course, it meant being in a room full of very noisy children every Thursday afternoon at 4pm.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the whole “earning badges” aspect of being a Brownie. Or to be more specific, having to sew those cloth demons onto my daughter’s vest every time she learned a new bird whistle or saved a tree from dying.

You see, I am horrible when it comes to managing many domestic responsibilities and that includes sewing. Even replacing buttons puts me into a tizzy and I typically ask my husband or kids to take that task on.

So when I was faced with a little brown vest needing badges sewn on, I came up with a brilliant solution.

I stapled them on.

Yes, I stand here before you, admitting that I STAPLED my daughter’s Brownie badges onto her little vest. Being the good Brownie she was, she earned a LOT of badges. But I was no longer avoiding the task; I’d just grab my hand stapler and go to town.

Until one day, she came home from a meeting gushing tears.

“Mom”, she said. “The staples are digging into my skin. I can’t even sit down- I’m scratched all over!”

I don’t know who I felt worse for– my daughter with her red blotched, scraped up skin..or me and my inability to even deal with a little Brownie vest.

Sadly, she ditched Brownies the following year. Maybe she was embarrassed to show her face at the meetings, worried about any comments she might get from the crooked patches covering her vest, carefully (ahem) sewn on by her mother.

Or maybe she got sick of the generic, tasteless cookies I baked…I mean…purchased.

Unlike most mothers who worry about their children fitting in, did she know it was ME who felt I couldn’t measure up to the other moms?