But for mother-of-one Linda Bannon, simple jobs such as cooking dinner in the evening, washing up and making the bed, present an almost impossible challenge.
The 35-year-old was born with no arms – the result of the rare hereditary condition Holt-Oram syndrome, which affects bone growth and can cause heart problems.
But Mrs Bannon refuses to let her disability get in the way of her living a normal life, using her feet in place of her hands.
And the mother-of-one has passed on her inspirational attitude to her son, Timmy, who was born with the same condition.
Like her, the nine-year-old has not let the condition hold him back.
He can swim, regularly takes taekwondo classes and plays video games like any boy his age – using his toes to grip the controller.
Mrs Bannon, who has taught herself to eat using cutlery, put on make-up and even sew using her feet, said: ‘Timmy is just like any other little boy.
‘He does his homework, plays Lego and tidies his room, all using his feet.
He gets frustrated by things like fastening buttons, but he’s very positive and I’m so proud of him.
‘I knew from scans he was going to be born without arms. We were understandably concerned, but I wasn’t too daunted as I knew he’d be able to live a normal life like me.’
The mother-of-one, who grew up in Chicago with her parents and four younger siblings, said her parents were unaware of her condition until she was born.
‘They took it in their stride and never treated me differently,’ she said.
‘They helped me to walk and dress myself. I had prosthetic arms but they were uncomfortable.
‘So by the age of 12 I was doing everything with my feet. I was teased at school, but my friends supported me.’
When she left school Mrs Bannon became a primary school teacher, then met her husband Richard at the age of 24 while at the gym.
She said: ‘We hit it off straight away. He wasn’t fazed by my disability – he liked my independence.’
The couple married in July 2004 and decided to try for a baby.
‘After I became pregnant we were told that there was a 50 per cent chance our baby could inherit my condition,’ she said.
‘I questioned whether we were doing the right thing, but we really wanted a family.’
When Timmy was born doctors told his parents he had holes in his heart. The newborn spent two months in hospital before he was allowed home.
His mother said: ‘He had surgery and thankfully made a full recovery. I threw myself into being a mum. I’d carry him in a blanket hooked round my neck.’
And as soon as he was old enough, Mrs Bannon began to teach him everything she had learned.
‘As a baby he’d scoot around on his bum, but had learned to walk by the time he was two.’
I showed him how to grip a toothbrush and cutlery with his feet.
‘He swims on his back using his legs to propel himself. He gets down sometimes when he can’t do things like ride a bike. But he never stays upset for long.
‘However, I’m not having any more kids as I couldn’t bear to see them go through the same heart problems Timmy had.’
Mrs Bannon now plans to become a motivational speaker, to help others facing similar disabilities.
She said: ‘I want to raise awareness about my disability and show you can live a full life.
‘There’s no reason why Timmy can’t have a wife and family. As long as he’s happy that’s all that matters.’
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