Let’s be honest, I am not a fancy mom. I am waist deep in littles and schedules and chaos. I can barely find the time or energy to shower most days, let alone be fancy. Style is rarely on my radar. I hold out hope that at some point in my life, the day will come when I have a different morning routine. I will only need to dress myself, leaving a little more time and a little less scurry. I’ll have time to coordinate make up, accessories and outfits every day—not just on special occasions.
Long Mom Hair
That day is not today. Today, I count it as a win if my hair is brushed and somewhat contained. I fall back on buns, braids and ponytails as a matter of survival, and low maintenance is my mantra. For my own mental health, I am settled firmly in the wash and go camp and at least for right now, I like it that way.
But as my last baby morphs into a toddler and the fog of infancy starts to recede, I start thinking about what comes next. I try to imagine myself pulled together, rolling into work with pre-made coffee in a shirt free of fingerprints and spit up, looking well-coiffed and fully present. A stark contrast to the often sleep deprived, disheveled ball of frazzle that usually greets my coworkers.
My hair, unlike most of the rest of me, has always been a point of pride for me and where I muster confidence from. Blessed with what I considered beautiful locks, I have spent most of my life with long natural tresses, afraid to try hair dye or heat for fear of damaging it and only once venturing for a distinguishable cut in the name of Locks for Love.
Short Mom Hair
However, as the summer months dragged on, the heat made me dream of a short, light bob that would get my hair off my neck and save me from the stickiness and matting that comes with long, thick hair in the summer.
Inevitably though, before I get too far down that path, the fear of change and self-consciousness comes pouring in. All of the comments and opinions that limit women in how they present themselves to the world begin to bounce around in my head. “Only people with skinny faces can where short hair.” “You’re face is too round for that cut.” “Men like women with long hair.” And so on. And then, I get stuck on one thought, “Older women shouldn’t wear long hair.”
Suddenly I have talked myself out of a simple haircut by believing that since I am firmly planted in my 30’s, my chances to wear my hair long are dwindling—that I shouldn’t cut it, until “I have to.”
Where does this stuff come from?!? This freight train of thought that somehow strong arms my subconscious into a corner is irrational. Am I the only person on the planet who internalizes the opinion of the anonymous “collective” on these things?
Two days later my mom, who is in her sixties, asked if I thought she should cut and perm her hair again, or if she “could” grow it out…
I said, “Grow it out! It’s beautiful, we could straighten it and curl it, go for it!” But she hesitated and asked, “You don’t think it will look “too young?””
It’s an epidemic. I feel vain even writing about this. But the rules that dictate how moms, or women in general, should or shouldn’t style themselves seem archaic and entrapping. I want to wear my hair in whatever way it feels good. I don’t want to not be confined to stigmas based on my age or the age of my kids, the shape of my face or any other criteria. My mom in her sixties looks beautiful with her soft tussles and almost ombre gray swirls. She should rock that!
Whatever We Want Hair
And if I want to chop my hair off now so that it is easier to manage in this manic season of my life, then grow it long again in my forties? I think I will. The only opinion that should matter is my own.
How about you? Do you feel locked into a certain style because of your age or mom status? Tell us about it in the comments.