As a survived another frantic morning before school began I found my mind counting up the number of hats I’ve worn within a ninety minute timeframe. After dragging myself out of bed and rushing through my own preparations, my time had to be put to the side in favor of my children. First I put on the helmet of a drill sergeant and entered our three daughters share bedroom blaring the mommy alarm—loud singing, stripping of blankets, tickling toes and tummies, turning on the radio to an obscene level of annoying music and last but not least flipping on the lights.
After instituting the wake up call, I replaced the helmet for a floppy chef’s hat. Orders were flying as quickly as minds became alert. Scrambled eggs and toast was the standard issue today, but in typical fashion I ended up with three different orders—“hold the cheese”, “no toast, please” and “can I have something more?” Deftly doling out the meals as the kids dragged in, I put my helmet back on and stated dishing out orders. They were the standard ones—pack your bag, brush your teeth, comb your hair and make your bed—but either they lacked the ability to be fully aware in the morning or they mentally preferred being barked at. One girl is spot on, another marches to her own tune and one plays deaf.
As the troops march about, sometimes to the tune of “about face” to keep them in the right direction, I shift my role to running a beauty salon. This is why I get up earlier than my kids—every hairdresser I’ve met looks glamorous instilling in their patrons a desire to look only half as good. Pulling out my weapons of choice—hairdryer, detangler spray and brush—I am ready to get to work. Kids line up in stations (my drill techniques still in place). First it’s washing hair at the sink, followed by hair drying and some semblance of styling. That too depends on the child—the typical headband, a strange position for a ponytail and whatever mom chooses.
While we are playing salon, I shift to being resident dentist placing my mask over my face and reminding them to brush back and front as well as the choppers. Then its pins in my mouth as I play the local seamstress and pin up this or that. Oh…the cafeteria needs to be opened again, lunches have to be made. Placing the rumpled chef’s hat back on my head I take orders for lunch. Its tuna fish, but like breakfast it comes with different specifications—“pickles”, “no pickles” and “can I have my in a container since I don’t like bread?”
By the time we have marched to our rooms, made our beds and put away our PJ’s I feel as if I’ve run a marathon. Kids are ushered out of the house, dressed in warm clothes despite the whines and I finally get to shift to being just a mother. With a kiss on each forehead I sigh as my grown up kids head off to be instructed and drilled by another.
But my duties are done yet, I still have to pull out my calculator and be the family accountant. I’ll bite my nails as I balance the check register and wonder for the third time why I bought that item. Success and relief are not always the result of this task, but I move on for my day is yet to begin. I’m a garbage woman, the maid, sometimes the sous chef making dinner preparations or the tireless gofer running endless errands. At other times I’m the resident nurse and always a guidance counselor.
I know I’m not alone out there. Many of you, mothers, grandmothers or sweet singles all wear multiple hats. As I’ve dwelled on this fact two things came to mind. I hope I am appreciated for my duties and thank goodness women were blessed with boundless drive. So tell me, what are your hats?