I am a woman of many hats. I have come to this amazingly astute (cough) conclusion only this week. And each one requires completely different skills, socially, emotionally and physically. It’s bloody exhausting! And yet I being to realise it is the nature of working motherhood. Actually it’s the nature of motherhood in general. The Mum Hat is not the same as the wife/girlfriend/partner hat and friend hat and and and! Anyway, this post is going to be hat-heavy so if you have some weird HAT phobia, look away now.
This is just ONE hour in the life of all of my Hats:
I am the mum….I am everything that mum incorporates….I am responsible, loving, protective, bossy, strict, shouty, short on patience, concerned, caring. I’m concerned that I feed them correctly so I meet all their nutritional requirements so that it will stop them developing some hideous disease; I try to discipline correctly to ensure they tow the line but are not emotionally scarred from the shouty mother who loses patience too quickly when at 8.45am with school starting in FIVE MINUTES and they still haven’t got their SHOES ON!!!! In this guise I am theirs completely. We get ready for the childminder drop off for child 2 and school for child 1. (Obviously birth order, not order of preference). I’m with the childminder, I am talking about my child’s lunch and her nappies and her mood that morning and then child 2 and I are off to school with my Mum Hat firmly on my head. But walking into the playground, as soon as I see another mum-friend, this hat gets yanked off and I am wearing….
I am chatty... “Hi there! Hiyaaaa!” and trying to be funny “Yeah my one’s a little bugger too sometimes!” and self-deprecating because I want to be your friend! “God, I’m SUCH a LOSER” etc and we’re talking about some inane crap but it’s fun and I’m enjoying and then there's a tug on my leg….
“Mummy it’s time to go iiiiiiiiiiiiinnnnnnnnnnnnn” “Mummy I need a weeeeeeeeee” “mummy I want to go on the climbing frame”
And zooooom on goes the Mum Hat! Which is temporarily confusing and disorienting to my tiny brain….! Wha’? I...er...? Oh yes I’m wearing the Mum Hat. “Ok babes…off we go...” etc. And then I am fully wearing the Mum Hat again because I am talking to the teacher about reading or packed lunch or something else equally thrilling.
Then I am back in the playground for more Friend Hat activity and banter. I’ve instantly forgotten I have kids and right in THAT moment I am all about trying to bring the funnies.
Then off I trot off to work…completely and utterly in a world of my own. I have an idea…I’ll just pop into Mum’s for a quick cuppa before work, I’ve got 10 mins. I’ll throw on my…..
I am silly, stroppy, bossy, giving my mum unwanted opinions about her decorating choices, asking her advice about disciplining my kids or feeding them or whatever and then I am listening and talking and listening and listening and chatting and having coffee and having fun. Then all-too-soon I have to leave to go to work so I know which hat to choose now, obviously, but hang on, what’s this?! I’ve had a text from Emlyn….he’s having some work based crisis….I quickly fling on….
I am concerned, I am being diplomatic, I am trying to rationalise the crisis, I am supportive, I am comforting, I am promising rude things to cheer him up later, and trying to bring the funnies yet again. Husband appeased……I’m reaching for the Work hat…..
I walk along the road, wearing the Work hat, thinking of buying coffee and what spreadsheets I have to trawl through and who I have to pay and Bam! I walk straight into a school mum! Eeek...quick change of hats again....
Friend Hat: “Hi Hi” we’re chatting about school places…”I haven’t seen you in ages, oh you didn’t get into the school? Oh but how is….blah blah blah” but then out of the corner of my eye I spot a colleague coming towards me …this is awkward….I don’t know this woman very well and I need to get to work and my two worlds are about to collide but phew! Conversation winds down and I only have to greet the work colleague with a head nod and wave as they cross the road to get milk for the office and I reach the office door and finally put on my…..
I’m focused, I’m pumped, I’m ready to face my dullsville spreadsheets, I’ve got my coffee, the computer’s on…..text from the childminder. Child number 2 has got a temperature….I need to pick her up and take her home and………I’m swapping my hats once more……