I am a huge fan of hats. I’m positive that one of the great rewards of parenthood is that I finally have an excuse for my hat fetish: I simply call it the “dress-up box.”
But “hat” as a term for a “role” in life? This is where things get a little sticky for me.
Because it turns out that my favorite hats are not the ones I think I’m “supposed” to be wearing, the ones I watch other amazing women seem to wear perfectly. There is a young mother in my ward who is beautiful and creative, with neat Sunday hair and makeup and immense patience in her Primary calling. There is another whose gaggle of tiny children always appear well-dressed and polite, whose house is usually clean, who seems always chipper and optimistic. There are women who journal, play instruments, sing, and sew their own clothes. Women who love housework (!!!), who relish a good day digging in the garden.
I relish eating something that someone else dug from the garden and then cooked for me.
My favorite hats are quirky or silly. I don’t have practical hats, like a sunhat or a baseball cap. I have a Viking hat and a fake coonskin. So instead of sewing, I like watching spiders spin webs. Instead of canning, I make silly crafts with my children. I like to plan ridiculously themed parties (like “Come as your favorite fish!”). I love reading and writing. I don’t like to clean, and I certainly wouldn’t win any awards for patience. I have, therefore, tended to think that I am a slacker.
But something happened to me recently, and I started to think about the things that I do, rather than what I don’t. I stopped worrying that I would never be the “perfect” Mormon mommy and started trying to be happy that I’m a decent one. Instead of thinking I’d never catch up with these other awesome women, I discovered we aren’t running a race in the first place. We are building a kingdom—or better yet (to stick with just one metaphor), we’re making a really excellent dress-up box. Maybe instead of competing, we could be cooperating, all adding to the collection of unique and wonderful abilities and roles. Maybe the world needs women like me who have a random set of quirky hobbies, a strange sense of humor, and a tendency to see gospel metaphors everywhere (including in the toy box).
Even if we haven’t cleaned the toilet in . . . a while.
I have long measured myself by the standard that I thought was most important. But I think that I may have missed the point. I think maybe we need all the types, we need all the skills. Everyone has something to contribute.
I’m not a pioneer bonnet or a yarmulke or a standard yellow rain hat. I’m really more of an umbrella hat—and I think the world needs an umbrella hat.