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The Hats We Wear

You slowly discover the many hats you’ve invited onto your head

IT happens as soon as you get married.

You carefully remove the T-pins from your blemish-free, foam wig head, and pull your brand-new sheitel over your head. With levels of both amusement and awkwardness, you stand before the mirror and tuck and tug and tuck some more, trying to grow accustomed to the new reflection before you. You throw a wink at the mirror and turn to face the world as a newly minted wig wearer.

What you don’t realize is that with this seemingly innocuous transition, you’ve just subjugated your head to gears of vast varieties. And so, as time passes, and your wig head breaks out in inverted pimples — or is it extremely open pores? — you switch between tichel and sheitel and slowly discover the many hats you’ve invited onto your head. Over time, you learn to wear each one with pride.


It doesn’t mean you’re pompous, nor does it mean you’re rich. All it really means to wear the banker hat is that you’re going to have to make sure your hundreds are regularly broken up so you have change for new packages of index cards, GO food sales, Chagigah, and overdue library books. And of course, cleaning help.

Tooth Fairy

Your first day on this job you’re going to feel perfectly ethereal. Wow. Imagine! You! Wasn’t it just yesterday that you rested your head on a pillow that had your six-year-old tooth concealed beneath it, and you woke up to the utter astonishment of a mystical dollar bill in its place?

But an interesting thing happens as the years pass and it becomes routine to descend from your Divine chambers to swap teeth for money: You lose the wonder over your own otherworldly powers and the misty halo fades. As a result, morning dawns, the kid is up, and… you forgot.

Don’t be hard on yourself. You may be the tooth fairy, but after your exhausting night, when you prepared baggies of $4.50 for your two boys, made up of a combination of bills and coins by breaking up your fives with the help of the pushke (because the charge can’t be $5, that would make a mother-banker’s life way too easy), your kid has to acknowledge that, yes, sweetie, Mommy is not a malach.


You’re going to be giving (and occasionally getting) gifts for the rest of your life. To wear the bookkeeper’s hat, you’ll be best off setting yourself up with Zelle, because most of the gifts you’ll give will be given in partnership with your sisters, sisters-in-law, coworkers, or neighbors. Sometimes you’ll lay out the money, and sometimes one of your sisters or friends will, but always there will be cheshbonos: $8.74 for Chaykie’s lunch, $20 for Shmuli’s bar mitzvah gift, $12.50 for the flowers for Shmerel’s aufruf, and $6.32 for Michla’s preschool graduation gift. Often you’ll be giving and getting money from the same person on the same day, because kein ayin hara, there are a lot of upsherens in the family, and since all your spare change has gone to GO food sales, sending through Zelle is way more efficient (and diplomatic: It’s a lot less uncouth to ask sister-in-law Tziporah for $50 for Shprintzala’s wedding gift than it is to send a Zelle request.) Wear this hat with pins affixed, because it’s going to take all your calculation prowess to keep those books balanced.

Fortune Teller

Having acquired saintly powers in your role of tooth fairy, what would it take to up the ante and procure a crystal ball for the greater good of your family? From weather forecasting ahead of meteorologists, to assuring your daughter that she certainly will win the school spelling bee, you’re expected to know it all.

Learn to nod or shake your head vaguely, in a way that appeases the inquirers without actually raising false hopes and later being held accountable if your predictions turn out wrong. Will she get accepted to the high school of her choice? Will he need to get any teeth filled? Do you think Yissachar Menachem Baumanfeinerstein will be The One?

Vague yes, vague no, vague yes. You never actually say anything, yet they consider you the closest thing to the Urim V’Tumim.

With a seer’s hat delicately perched on your head, you should at least benefit from your powers and accurately predict whether your cleaning help will or won’t show on Friday.


From kisses to hydrocortisone, you possess a cure to every ailment. By virtue of having given birth to your children, you know exactly which ointment works for which boo-boo, you can magically make stomachaches disappear, you even have solutions when everything-everything-everything (even your pinkie toenail, sweetie?) hurts. You heal bruised knees and bruised egos, you even heal broken arts-n-crafts if necessary. You’re a master healer. Must be, or else why would they rely on your care time and time again?

How many years did it take to earn your myriad degrees? Wear this hat firmly. You don’t want to be sued for malpractice.


It’s just this cute red beret they somehow envision on your head that makes them volunteer on your behalf to draw the Avos and Imahos for their Chumash projects. And you really do draw stuuuuunniiiiing. Even all their classmates will agree that you’re suuuuuuch an artist.


Listen, you aced every subject in school, starting from the alphabet all the way through high school Regents. You’re the natural address. Just tell me the answers, Chaya Breindy’s waiting.


Seriously, who else?


Otherwise, why would you be appointed to attend PTA?


You land this prestigious role after you’ve given birth to your second child. From the moment your eldest obtains a sibling, your house transforms into a courtroom, and the plaintiffs and defendants will bring their cases only to the very top for handling.

The good part is, you actually get to rule.

Into bed, everyone. I said NOW.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 844)

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