Disclaimer: this blog has nothing to do with actual hats, so if you’re a milliner in search of inspiration, you may be bitterly disappointed by what you’re about to read…
I need a bigger hat stand. I think most of us do. I’m talking about the many ‘hats’ we wear throughout the day. I’ve called this blog With My Mum Hat On because it’s a hat I wear for a great deal of my waking (and sleeping) hours – 2am wake up call from a toddler jumping on your head, anyone? But, parent or not, I’m sure plenty of us are juggling with all these different versions of ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I love the many aspects of my life. But sometimes, you just want to let your little head have some hat-free time, and this is where I (and maybe some of you) struggle a bit.
An introduction to my hats:
The Mum Hat – rarely (if ever) taken off. Hearing a random baby cry? Hello, boob catastrophe! In the middle of a meeting? Cue the sudden worry about whether your little darlings are asleep or holding your husband/parents/the entire neighbourhood hostage with their shrieks. I must say, though, that this is my favourite and most treasured hat. I’m privileged to wear it, and until I became a mum, I had no concept of how utterly life changing this new accessory would be. What could change your life more than a little person who is entirely dependent on you for every aspect of their safety? There’s a lot of love stored in that hat.
The Work Hat – I’m a self employed ‘freelance choral director, vocal coach and drama practitioner’. Basically, sometimes I’m flapping my arms in time to music, other times I’m encouraging singers to make weird and wonderful noises and poses, the rest of the time I’m hoping a group of children will find more confidence through pretending to be zoo animals. This hat is rewarding, as I’ve worked hard to earn it. It’s thrilling, as my work is so varied and allows me to provide an environment in which people can have a sort of therapeutic experience. It’s also time consuming and causes me to question whether I’m an extra emergency service when I receive 20 ‘urgent’ music-related messages at 11pm on a Sunday…!
The Wife Hat – my husband and I are both self employed. The brilliant side to this is that we are able to see our sons (aged 3 and 1) fairly equal amounts. The downside is that the work we then have to cram in takes up almost all of our time for each other. We both know that this is temporary, and we’re lucky to be able to live as we do (frugally, though!) However, this is a hat I fear I’m not taking good enough care of. I appreciate all he does, and I think his husband hat is in better shape than my wife one. I don’t do soppy very often, so that’s as good as you’re going to get!
The Friend Hat – another neglected accessory. My close friends have long been aware of my unreliable texting habits. However, I fear I’ve let important friendships slip away in recent years. I have two absolute crackers in my uni best friends. The effort has been one-sided at times, but I know when they’re having crazy busy periods the favour is returned. Of course I’d like to wear this hat more often, but I do appreciate it so much more when it is possible. The thing I appreciate most is that I’m spending time on genuine friends. Particularly since getting married and having children, I’ve seen who made the effort to keep me feeling like me, and to get to know my children rather than dismissing them as an inconvenience. These are some pretty worthwhile friends to know!
The Daughter Hat – on a positive note, we wouldn’t have moved back to my hometown if we weren’t settling down with kiddies. The negative side is that, although I see my parents more, the mum hat is usually on at the same time. It’s wonderful to have time with my family to just be me, and these moments are even more precious as my Mum has been very unwell for some time. I appreciate all my parents have done for me, and unfortunately for them, I do revert back to childhood when I get the chance to spend time with them!
I’m all out of hats! I’m quite shocked that I’ve only listed 5 hats. Maybe it’s not a bigger hatstand I need, but a healthier schedule for wearing them. Starting with turning my phone off, as it’s almost 11pm and those ‘urgent’ singing messages will be flooding in any time now, haha! (I love all my singers really, and am privileged to have a job I love. But 200+ students can come up with quite a list of questions very quickly!)
The strangest situations sometimes arise when you’re having to wear more than one ‘hat’. Childcare falls through and I have to take the boys to a choir as they warm up, or I bump into someone I teach when we’ve just received bad news about my Mum. I suppose we all need to appreciate that we are all struggling with this balancing act, and many of us are (I hope it’s not just me) worrying that we’ve not got those priorities quite right.
What’s your name, and which hats do you wear…?!