I bent over in the park the other day while wearing dungarees. The straps had been sliding off my shoulders so I had shortened them earlier in the day. I imagine the experience when I bent to rescue Blaze is akin to how cheddar feels when faced with the cheese wire…

The truth is, I like fashion. But in my life fashion and offspring go together like pineapple on pizza – I don’t think it works, but I know others disagree.

I like wearing nice clothes, feeling good and not looking like a woman who showered in super-glue then tripped over in a charity shop. But aside from the issues with finding time to shop,  I also find it difficult to find anything that survives the rigours that parenthood present me with better than <drum roll please> leggings…

I know, I know, they are a sartorial co-conspiritor with Crocs in their screams of “I have given up, dress me in Cath Kidston and consign me to the crochet corner” (put down the needles people, it’s just not my bag) but other forms of outfit offer up too-too many challenges.

First up, crack. Don’t like it. Whitney did and look what happened to her. OK, the kind of crack I’m talking about is unlikely to end your life, but just like the kind of crack that can, no one wants it shoved in their face at baby sign.

Unfortunately however, sitting on the floor singing nursery rhymes, or crawling up the slide at soft-play because the small person has been losing her shit for the last fifteen minutes about the “wind” (air conditioning), mean that the opportunities to share some crack would have Whitney and Bobbie beating down my door. For this reason, most pairs of jeans are simply not duty-appropriate.

And that includes Mum jeans.

I mean, they look friendly enough, they’re even named for us. Surely they are designed to withstand the demands of modern motherhood and are totally down with smears of bodily fluids and food.

But Mums beware. These jeans are not your friend.

Never, in fact, has an item of clothing been so misleadingingly named. I sometimes imagine that the childfree 20somethings who decided these things should be the epitome of cool are sitting somewhere in Shoreditch drinking a chai latte, and having a secret snigger at all the mums who have fallen for the hype. They smirk as we wincingly lunge to perform the kneeling-nappy-change while our jeans act as a sadistic yardstick of where our bodies used to be.

The harsh truth is that we need to be down with our own kids so if Mum jeans are cutting nothing except our poor beleaguered lady bits, then that’s no fun for anyone.

Worried about the cheese-wire-mum-tum-flat-bum effect of the Mum jeans therefore, you may reach for the other middle-class mum sartorial stalwart, dungarees. I am in fact a fan of their multi-pocketed, waistband-less offer, and they are very kind to those of us still breastfeeding, but even though their boob access is great there is another kind of access on which they’re not so slick – the toilet.

There is nothing more annoying than needing to remove layers of clothing before you can wee. It’s just about manageable if you’re accompanied only by your phone, or if you’re nicely ensconced at home, but add to the game two children battling to see who can escape from the public cubicle first, a non-existent weakened pelvic floor, followed by the soggy realisation that at some point during the strip and struggle your strap has fallen down the loo, and it becomes clear that dungarees are not our answer.

And so we seek. We cast our gaze wide (or at least as far as filling up the shopping bag at ASOS, but never pulling the trigger) for an item of clothing that will salvage a smidgeon of cool while avoiding crack, cheese-wire and wringing out the bog-water. And we land on the tube skirt.

We’ve done it, we declare! We’ve found the perfectly-practical-parenting-clothing-conundrum solution! Sod Gok, we mamas have got this.

Forgiving waistband? Check. Crack coverage? Check. Can be worn a multitude of ways… Can be thrown in the washing machine…Doesn’t need ironing? Check, check, CHECK!

I paired it with some opaques and Stan Smiths and that day I stepped out proud that this mum ain’t gonna be consigned to the sartorial scrapheap after all. I wandered down the road all blissful in that bubble until the small-small sniffed out my happiness and legged it for the South Circular. That’ll learn ‘er.

All my instincts screamed RUUUUNN before he reached the snarling, yarling traffic but all my legs could do is match his stumpy-legged-little-stride-length perfectly, as the tube skirt took on unwelcome multi-tasking properties as a resistance band around my knees. The only thing for it was to hitch that bad boy up and lunge to grab his hood, getting a grip of it just in time while losing my grasp on anything resembling my dignity.

So the tube skirt is done, and the search continues.

Or does it? Because lurking there in your wardrobe from a time when exercise was a thing you dreaded rather than dreamed about, are leggings. Can I, you wonder, just wear them?

Well, let’s look at the evidence…

Sleep-deprivation has been proven to greatly diminish one’s ability to make decisions and choosing an outfit means time spent in front of the wardrobe/ mirror deliberating, which is time that could have been spent sleeping. So, throw on some leggings with a tee and sweatshirt and you’ve achieved an act of self-care and charity for the average parent’s addled mind.

This outfit also comes with a get-out-of-fashion-free-card as even if you look like a sack of shizz, people will assume that either (a) you are on you way to do some exercise, therefore you deserve props for being “on it” OR (2) you have just finished exercising, therefore you deserve props for being “on it”. Win win.

No one looks at a lady in leggings and thinks she’s simply fed up of being diced up by her denim.

In fact the only significant downside to succumbing to the dulcet tones of lycra whispering on lycra, and a waistband that no amount of cake can defeat, is the fact that there are no pockets and this can be problematic.

So my final piece of advice should you choose the stretch rather than slice, elastic rather than crack-fantastic option, is to make sure you have pockets elsewhere. Otherwise you *might* find yourself rummaging around in your pants in the playground because that *might* be where you have stashed your phone.

Just saying.