Friday, January 06, 2017

A Hairy Situation

The agony and the ecstasy of being a long-haired mom

There are lots of advantages to having long hair as a mom— throw your mop into a messy bun and GO is the name of the game.

In fact, when I became a mom, I grew my hair out for that purpose— ease of everyday styling. However, I’ve lived long enough with this flowing mane and my two kids to let you know about some of the more humorous sides of having long hair as a mom.

How can something so cute cause so. much. pain.

The first and most obvious challenge of being a mom with long hair is the fact that babies are notorious hair-grabbers. Doesn’t matter if you even have your hair up in said messy bun— babies don’t care. They’ll use their amazingly small but powerful grabby paws and yank a fistful of hair with abandon. Cro-Magnon infant tyrants.

Oh, look, isn’t that a cute baby? Eeeeek! 

You know those cute footie fleece pajamas that are a staple of the under one set? Well, along with the cute little patterns of duckies, they also offer a floofy warmth to envelop your small love child and keep it warm. But there is something about that micro fleece that acts like a magnet for hair. Not just any hair. Not just one hair. I’m talking tumbleweed gobs of tangled hair that the fabric gloms onto and holds onto for dear life. There’s nothing quite so sweet as a clean, sweet, cuddly baby in a comfy fabric that just happens to attract hairy moles. 

[Choke gag gggrhhrhhh]

Before my kiddos had any attention span whatsoever, I started reading to them. Whether in my lap, or laying down next to them on the floor, I quickly learned how to immediately identify the sounds of a child who is gagging on a piece or two of my hair. Oh, and don’t think that this is over when the kids are bigger. I still read to my kids at night. While we don’t have the daily-frequency gagging anymore, we do have the occasional throaty churr in attempt to dislodge the offending strand, usually followed by protruding tongue and some variation of “Bleh!” and a demand for water. You know, not as terrifying as having a gagging baby, but still enough to think DAMN HAIR.

Fear and loathing when you get the infamous “note from school” 

Listen, I am just as frightened as the next parent when I receive the “Your child has been exposed to lice” note from school or camp or wherever. I had lice when I was eight years old, and after all the voodoo my mom did to my hair (I think there were vinegar cures and olive oil drenches— wait, was she just making me a salad?) and the sleeping in do rags, she finally decided it would be easier to tackle if I had less hair. FAR LESS HAIR. So, I when the tiny beasts were finally vanquished, I returned to school with a home-styled pixie cut. 

It sounds horrible to say, but I can deal with my kids getting lice. (Any lice reading this should not take this comment as an invitation). But my own hair is the problem. It’s long. There’s a lot of it. It’s thick. Shoot, I can’t even manage to color it myself because there’s too damn much of it and I’m done with missing spots and wrecking my bathroom with dye stains. If I get lice, nuclear war will have to be waged. Good bye, long locks. (Excuse me while I take a short break to itch my entire body).

Fun for girls and boys! 

My kids are old enough now to shower mostly by themselves, with most interventions being me yelling, “Get OUT of the shower! You’ve been in there for twenty five minutes and your feet are now webbed!” Often, especially in summer when they get home from summer camp, they both want to shower at the same time to get all the chlorine, sunscreen, bug screen, and dirt off ASAP. So, I usually let one of them shower in my bathroom. Now, being a mom-on-the-go with a full time job, as well as being ridiculously (but happily) overcommitted to a bunch of causes, I’m always in a hurry to shower. Always. Like, I don’t even know what a leisurely shower is any more. I haven’t known one since before I had kids. 

So most of the time I do remember to clean the drain thingie of whatever hair collects there (which always looks like a LOT OF HAIR. How in the world can I lose that much hair daily and still have hair on my head? It’s a mystery). But often, I don’t remember. One of those times, my boy child came out of the shower yelling, “Mom! Look at this!” I rush in (because who knows what carnage a kid is going to show you when they say those words) and see him with a towel carelessly tossed around his middle and a floofy nest of black hair perched atop his outstretched finger. “It’s a wig. For gnomes!” 

There must be a market for those, right?


I often get compliments on my hair —probably because it’s so… obvious— long, curly, raven black). I love having it long after having nothing longer than chin length for the first 30 years of my life. I love being able to wear it up or down. I love only having to get it cut once or twice a year. 

I just really wish that my hair would… stay on my head. Not gag people. Not collect in places it shouldn’t. But, that’s just the name of the game. It’s hair today, hopefully not lice tomorrow.

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