I bet whoever came up with "Crazy Hat Day" thought it sounded like fun. Oh, what fun! Like a harmless way to spice up the same-old school calendar: Hmmm, it's the middle of the winter and the holidays are over and kids are bored ... let's plan something fun! Like a day where kids get to do something really wild, something against the rules ... something like wearing a crazy hat!! In school! All day! Now that's what I call fun!
Except Crazy Hat Day is not, in fact, all that much fun. Neither is Pajama Day or Wear-Your-Clothes-Inside-Out Day or Silly Sock Day. No, not much fun at all.
I learned this lesson a long time ago, but I forgot about it until the other day, which just happened to be the annual Crazy Hat Day at my kids' school.
I remembered the no-fun thing at precisely 7:24 a.m.. That's when I heard myself yelling, "What do you mean the court jester hat with the jingle bells isn't crazy? Of course it's crazy!!"
I don't know about your kids, but mine tend to change their minds. A lot. Especially at the last minute. They're the "actually I think I want to be a ninja instead of a vampire" mid-afternoon on October 31st type. And I, unfortunately, am the unprepared, disorganized type, which means that when they're having that 11th hour Crazy Hat Crisis, I'm inevitably in the middle of my own Damn, I Forgot to Buy Juice Boxes Crisis (or something along those lines).
And so it goes that an activity or event originally intended to be fun -- the opposite of stressful -- turns into a giant stress-fest. My daughter couldn't wear the rainbow-colored sombrero because it apparently turned "stupid" overnight (good luck arguing against that logic). My son was all set to wear the purple wizard's hat until my daughter told him it made him it made him look like a girl (freakin' sibling rivalry!!). My pre-caffeinated idea to stick stuffed animals on an old baseball cap with the hot glue gun was not met with enthusiasm. Red plastic firefighter's hat from Fire Safety Day? Nice try, Mom.
I don't know why my family responds with panic to these "fun-filled" occasions, but it's the same chaotic scene every time. Whether it's hats or socks or mismatched clothes or whatever else, for some reason, mandated silliness just doesn't work for us. And so I am forced to relive the same moment over and over again, my own personal Mommy Aha! Moment: If I'm yelling at my kids about Crazy Hats before 8 a.m., that must mean I'm the craziest hat in the room.
My children did make it to school that morning (10 minutes late) with what passed for crazy headgear (Mardi Gras crown, aforementioned effeminate purple wizard's hat). So I guess all's well that ends well.
Until Silly Sock Day ...
Are days like Crazy Hat Day ever way more stressful than they should be for you?
Image via qwrrty/Flickr