A few years ago I helped my husband prepare for an upcoming interview. We ran through a series of typical questions and together we brainstormed about some situational answers he could use. I remember one question touched on his greatest career accomplishment. I rolled my eyes as he scratched his head- stumped about what to say. And not because he couldn’t think of anything. But because he couldn’t narrow it down.
While he debated, I let my mind wander. At that point I’d been a stay-at-home mom for roughly 7 years. The idea of me answering any of those interview questions was laughable. But for some reason I began to imagine being asked about my greatest career accomplishment. What would I say?
Here’s what I came up with.
My greatest accomplishment as a stay-at-home mom is hat training day. You see, we’re a family that loves to travel. Specifically to the beach. I realized early on that my blue eyed blonde with fair skin needed to wear a hat. I stocked up on adorable floppy hats and we hit the beach. Only to later realize that what I saw as an accessory, my 8-month old viewed as a challenge. We spent one entire weekend at the beach fighting. Yes. Me and my baby went to battle over a hat. I guarantee almost any parent would be able to tell you who won. (Hint: It wasn’t me!)
On the car ride home I distinctly remember thinking that I thought parenting was going to be an easier task. Somehow my thoughts led me to the statement- surely if I can train a dog, I can train a baby. I repeated the thought. Hmm, maybe I was on to something?
And thus, the idea of hat training day was born.
So what exactly is hat training day? It’s a day dedicated to teaching a baby to wear a hat. It’s absolutely as miserable and boring as it sounds. I literally spent ALL of one day putting my baby’s hat on over and over again. When she took it off I said “no” and then repositioned the hat on her head. If she continued to take it off, I made her go inside for a few minutes (something she REALLY disliked at the time!) Then we would go back outside and start the whole process over again. The key to this whole situation- I was at home on an otherwise uneventful day.
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, why is this important? So let me tell you. After that day, she never took her hat off again when I put it on her head. All summer we spent time with other families and everyone marveled at how sweetly she kept her hat on, while others struggled with their own children. At the end of the summer we went on another beach vacation and I didn’t waste one ounce of energy fighting the hat battle. It was already won. As I watched other mamas struggle to keep hats on their babies I sat there and enjoyed my vacation!
I don’t think I could claim this as my greatest accomplishment if it wasn’t a tried and true method. A few years later hat training day with my son worked like magic. I’ve even shared my secret with a handful of family and friends. It’s worked for every one of them.
And so to conclude, hat training day is absolutely my proudest and greatest accomplishment. Not only did it eliminate a problem, it created an environment where I could relax more on vacation. While I can’t say my accomplishment changed the world, I can say it changed my world.
I’d love to hear your feedback if you try this with your babies! I’ve yet to have anyone tell me it doesn’t work!