Wearing different hats

When I was a kid, I had an Amy Grant cassette tape that included a song called “Hats.” It was all about juggling the different responsibilities of life: mother, wife, professional, etc.  I got the point when I was a kid.  I understand that everyone plays different roles for different people at different times, but mostly the song annoyed me and I’d usually fast forward through most of it.  (That was back in the tricky days of literally fast forwarding a cassette tape and not being able to just skip to the next track.)

But, I’ve been thinking about that song lately.  I looked it up, and I looked up the lyrics.  That cassette tape is long gone from my life.  And I’ve got to say I quite like the song right now.  I get it even more than I ever did.  I thought about it this morning as I read two library books to my daughter then saw her off to spend the day with my in-laws.  I thought about it as I changed the sheets on our beds and threw in a load of laundry.  I thought about it as I picked up and organized toys in my daughter’s bedroom (a task much easier to do when she’s not helping me!).  I thought about it as I put clean laundry away in drawers.  I thought about it as I went over my to-do list and started planning an article I’m writing.  I thought about it as I brainstormed for what to write in today’s blog.  I thought about it as I looked through our financial papers to see what bills were due when.  I thought about it as I called the doctor’s office with a question for my husband about an upcoming appointment.  I thought about it as I talked with my husband about what he’s working on today.  This was all within two hours.  Hats.  I wear a lot of them.  I get it.

Me trying on a silly hat on vacation a couple of years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. I would soon learn about the biggest proverbial hat I've ever worn: motherhood.

One of the lines I’d forgotten about in the song talks about how she wears so many hats because she’s driven to be the very best for the people in her life.  I get that, too.  I want to be the best wife.  I want to be the best mother.  I want to be the best journalist.  I want to be the best housekeeper.  I want to be the best cook.  I want to be the best blogger.  I want to be the best daughter.  I want to be the best everything.  The list goes on and on.  I want to be able to switch in between my hats easily.  I want to wear them at the same time and juggle everything perfectly.  Right now I’m wearing the blogger, journalist, wife and housekeeper hats as I type.  I’m blogging.  I’m thinking about my articles in the back of my head.  I’m pausing to talk with my husband every so often when something comes up.  I’m half-listening for when the washing machine cuts off so I can switch laundry to the dryer then get more laundry to put in to wash.  Hats.

At the same time, I’ve been around long enough and pressured myself to be the best me long enough that I know my best is not perfection.  It’s just not.  I’m not perfect.  My house is far from perfectly clean.  My daughter is spending the day with her grandparents because I can’t juggle taking care of her and giving her the attention she needs while also giving my articles the attention they need to turn out well and be coherent.  My laundry is a couple of days behind.  The sheets were supposed to have been changed on Monday.  The whites were supposed to have been washed yesterday.  We’ll have a taco dinner tonight that we were supposed to have earlier this week but fell through because I realized our sour cream expired last month and none of us like tacos sans sour cream.  I’m not perfect.  There’s no perfect balance for my hats.  But, my house isn’t unsanitary.  My daughter will be well taken care of today and enjoy the time with her Nana and Papaw.  My articles will come together.  No one suffered because I was a few days late changing the sheets or ran out of clothes because I was a day off on washing the whites.  None of us went hungry because we had to postpone tacos.  Not perfect, but definitely OK.

I am driven to be the best for the people I love.  My best doesn’t always measure up to my standards, but I like to know I’m at least doing my best.   When I was a kid and I was really hard on myself about grades in school (I went home sobbing the first time I missed a question on a worksheet), my parents would always ask, “Did you do your best?  That’s all we ask.”  I can be way harder on myself than that.  I want my best to be perfect.  I want to make sure every hat I wear is balanced perfectly and I’ve maintained peace, harmony and love in the lives of my loved ones.  But, that really is too much to ask.  I am only human.  I am not perfect.

I’m not giving up.  I’ll keep wearing my hats.  I’ll keep on striving for my best.  And I’ll also do my best to not beat myself up over imperfections.  One day at a time.  And I’m guessing I’ll be humming that old Amy Grant song most of the rest of today.

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