I fought it for as long as I could. Because I was the cool mom. The edgy mom. The mom with the perfectly messy Botticelli-esque curls cascading halfway down my back like one of those vacant-eyed models randomly jumping in a field of wildflowers in an Urban Outfitters catalog.
Except in reality, my long, wavy hair was always tied up in a school marm bun because my 8-month-old son has made it his personal mission to pull out each and every strand of it. And those few times when it wasn’t tied up, it tangled so quickly that one would think it would take more effort than a slight breeze (such as making out with a weedwhacker) to get that unique Bride of Frankenstein look I so often sported. Seriously, if I stepped outside, neighborhood birds started nesting there (although you can hardly blame them, what with the nice buffet of pureed peas, scrambled eggs and pancake crumbs my son had thoughtfully left for them between the strands and all).
But then came the last straw (a straw very much like the texture of my tortured hair): A windy Halloween day, me outside for most of it with my hair down and getting whipped around relentlessly while I toted my costumed baby around to run errands. A last stop to get coffee before heading home and then THIS conversation:
Barista: “What a cute baby chicken costume! And what are you supposed to be, mom?”
(Note to reader: I wasn’t wearing a costume.)
Me: “Tired Mom Whose Clothes Don’t Match.”
Barista: …(confused look)…
Me: (looking at my reflection in the baked goods glass and taking stock of my combat boots, stained cargo pants, hastily applied black eyeliner, dark rings under my eyes and tangled hair that had grown to three times its original size) “Amy Winehouse. …(sigh)…I’m Amy Winehouse.”
Barista: …(flicker of recognition)… “Oh! I love it.”
And so it was with a heavy heart that I walked into the hair salon yesterday. We had had a good five-year run, my long hair and me. But the party was over. It was time to grow up. Time to look like I didn’t spend my weekends going to music festivals and eating maple bacon kimchi cupcakes from a food truck.
Time to tell the world that what I really did was watch “Gilmore Girls” on Netflix while pulling my newly mobile baby out from under the coffee table every three minutes.
On the plus side, my hair stylist was a veteran mom herself and understood my plight.
Stylist: “So, what are we wanting to do today?”
Me: “Chop it off. Chop it all off.”
Stylist: “Um…OK. Into any particular style?”
Me: “I have a baby. But I want a hairstyle that says I don’t.”
Stylist: “So no ‘Mom Bob’ then?”
Me: “Exactly. I love my baby almost more than anything. And that one anything is a mom haircut.”
So how did it turn out, you ask? Great! I think. I mean, it’s shorter now. And stuff.
Truth be told, as soon as I left the salon, I walked home in the rain and wind, ruining the gorgeous professional styling, and then immediately tied what was left of my hair back into a teensy ponytail so I could relieve my husband of baby duty. And then I spent the rest of the afternoon playing with my son and his creepy bear that creepily says “Peek-a-boo! I see you!” when you hug it. And then this morning I immediately threw on a hat over my unwashed/unbrushed hair to walk to a coffeehouse to spend the very few free moments I have to write this.
And I realized that any hairstyle I get from now on will be a mom cut. Because I’m a mom now. A mom who, just like generations of moms before her, will choose function over style almost every time when it comes down it. Because vanity is a luxury we can no longer afford. Or even really want to afford anymore. Not when what has taken the place of that vanity is a tiny drooling person who giggles every time Mommy tickles him with her hair, no matter the length or style.
Yes, as it turns out, I do love that little stinker more than anything. Period.