Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Aunt, Facilitator, Entrepreneur, Doula….I could go on!
I know that these “hats” or titles don’t solely apply to me, but so many other Mothers, parents and people in this world. The term “hat” to refer to the many titles, jobs, roles and names that we take on was first introduced to me in 6th grade. During this time in my life, I had just moved from Queens where I was born and raised until the 2nd grade, and then moved to an area of Long Island, bordering Queens (you could walk a few blocks in be in Long Island in a matter of minutes), but this move to this new school was a culture shock for me. You see, I’d grown up in a middle class neighborhood in Queens, NY, in a predominantly African American neighborhood. The ratio of people of color to white people was 98% to 2% (my guesstimate) in my neighborhood and in school and every where I existed. In the 6th grade, that all changed and my comfortable surroundings, and everything I knew, shifted! That ratio became 98% white and 2% people of color, me being one of them. As a child, I thought nothing of that drastic change. I was excited to move to a bigger house, better neighborhood, new school and to make new friends.
My time in this school, though only 1 year; it was the last year of middle school, completely shifted and changed my life (more on that at a later time, in a later piece). During class one day, my teacher said to one of the students, “grab some hats from the cubby” and bring them over, handing one to each student. As the hats were handed out, she asked us to name some of the titles that we had as people in this world, in our homes. She didn’t mean race or gender, she meant, the positions that we hold in peoples lives, in our own lives. As I sat there, the pieces started to come together and I thought about all of the positions and titles I held and hold in life. I felt proud of this long list, and was excited to hear about all of the ways that this list would grow. Oh how naive the young mind and heart can be. I was blissfully unaware of how much those titles required of me and would ask of me as I grew further into those roles.
Today, as a parent/Mother, Wife, Doula (a few of my favorite roles/titles) that has the honor of parenting, supporting, and being there for parents, new and 2nd, 3rd, 4th and beyond, it gives me great joy! As referenced in my prior piece, wearing these “hats” can feel like a job that you signed up for, only thinking about all of the wonderful benefits and perks of the job and how the job would make you feel inside, but, never really having a clear view or understanding of just what you were getting into.
In moments where I feel overwhelmed by all of the responsibility that these “hats” give me, I am reminded to honor that little girl, in the 6th grade, that felt pride in the growth that happens naturally, as you become all of the things, and wear all of the hats. I am reminded that it is a privilege to be these people (with the hats, the roles, the titles) and to have these people who have given me these titles (my kids, husbands, clients, nieces, etc) in my life. I am reminded that it is okay to feel overwhelmed and to feel like I can’t juggle all of the things.
Cheers to the people who wear all the hats and do so with a smile on their faces, although they sometimes feel they are bearing the weight of the world (I’m with you). I honor you, I support you and I encourage you to take off the hats when it becomes just too much. But the Gemini in me, on the other side of that, wants to remind you of the power you hold and the beauty of how these roles has made you the strong, powerful, successful, loving, and unique being that is YOU!!