I have a collection of hats.
I wear them all the time.
They aren’t sorted by color, or size, or even style. I don’t choose which one I put on by the clothes I’m wearing, or the weather outside. I choose them out of necessity.
Sometimes I put on my thinking cap to figure out how to make a rainy day fun, or explain homework in a different way so that they understand it a little better.
A few times a day I put on my chefs cap and fix snacks, or lunches, or dinners that aren’t full of sugar and calories and might just do the kids some good to eat them, while still remembering that an occasional item of ‘junk’ isn’t going to hurt them.
My chauffeur’s cap gets used when someone forgets that there’s a project due at school the next day and they need glue and we don’t have it, or when there’s a cough that’s going to keep them awake and we’re fresh out of medicine for that.
The maid’s cap gets worn daily, cleaning up near tornado-level destruction and socks left in random places around the house that make no sense and putting the endless piles of laundry through the washer and dryer or vacuuming up the forgotten crumbs and bits of paper that make their way to the floor and lay there until I come along.
When there’s a tumble in the driveway that results in a scrape, I put on the nurses cap and clean out the wound. Then I immediately change to the clown hat, whereas nothing dries up tears like laughter.
The hard-hat I reserve for special occasions when I step into the middle of a conflict to act as a negotiator. That one gets a lot of use. Sometimes the thinking cap compliments it nicely.
Then there’s the police cap when I need to figure out who broke something and no one wants to admit to being the guilty party.
The safari hat comes out when the kids forget that there’s a whole world outside to explore, right in their own back yard, and need a guide to point them in the right direction, rather than sitting in front of the t.v. all day.
The mortar board and tassel get reserved for those extra tough questions like ‘why do I have to go to bed right now’ and ‘how come I can’t have ice cream for breakfast every day?’
The wizard cap gets tossed up onto my head when there’s a broken toy or a missing part to something and I fix the toy or make the toy work again by magical means.
The pointy cap that says ‘Dunce’ on it is for when I make a not so good parenting choice or do something that shows the kids that despite all the powers I possess, I have flaws, and I’m only human.
The soldier’s hat comes out when they seem to want to argue everything I tell them and not do their homework or take a bath and I need to find the strength to just get through that moment and on to the next one.
The crown comes in handy when they need to understand that I’m the boss, first and foremost, and what I say goes.
I have a collection of hats. They are not fancy, nor colorful, nor anything special to look at. They all have one very special characteristic in common though: They are all invisible. No one sees them, and I don’t regularly get complimented on them. You never even know when I switch from one to the other most days, I just do it without thinking. Some days I only wear one or two of them. Some days I have to pile them all on top of my head and use them all at once.
My hats are not rare, nor do they ever wear out despite all the use they get.
I wear them all not because they all fit just right or because I feel like putting them on day in and day out, but because I choose to.
I have them all because I am a parent, and wearing my entire collection of hats is what the job requires.