Saturday, January 23, 2010

Her mother needs to do her hair!

I've been through a difficult season, but it's taught me a valuable lesson. In February of 2009 I became pregnant with our fifth child. While healthy, the pregnancy was a challenge. I began contracting early and had to radically reduce my activity. This greatly impacted my hair maintenance routine with the girls. Whereas in the past I was constantly changing their styles, I could now only fashion quick styles which were left in longer than ever before. My girls had a new look, and I wasn't sure I liked it.

Over time, their hair frizzed dramatically. It looked painfully dry and neglected to me. I felt strong condemnation when a friend offered to take my girls one by one and style their hair for me. I'll love her forever for reaching out in my time of need, but believed it was my personal responsibility to groom my daughters' hair. I imagined I was failing miserably.

As I rested and struggled to find foods my body would tolerate to support the pregnancy, I began to write about nappy hair. As I penned all the new things I'd learned I realized that my perspective was changing. I received frequent visits from my children. The visits from Mocha Girl Three (age 4) struck a chord.

One day, while lying in bed, crouched over my lap top, I looked up and noticed Mocha Girl Three's round head peaking around one of my double doors.

"Mind if I come in, Mommy?" she asked.

"Sure," I said. "But I'm writing."

"I won't bother you!" she promised.

I turned my focus back to my task, but caught frequent glimpses of my daughter walking around the room. She'd pick up objects, examine them and pretend they were characters having conversations. Sometimes she stood, sat or rolled about the floor. Periodically, Mocha Girl Three stuffed her first two fingers in her mouth and studied me earnestly. I could tell she was a little worried about me.

She never asked what I was writing about, but in my brief glimpses of her, I noticed a care free spirit that felt right. Her hair was tremendously fuzzy, but it seemed to fit. I began to ask myself why I expected her hair to be smooth all of the time? Mocha Girl Three has fine hair, which clumps together into noticeable coils when wet, but quickly dries up frizzy. No matter what style I give her, I can expect her hair to look fuzzy within a couple of hours. Pre-pregnancy, I fussed over her hair continually, but as I reclined in my bed it became less important.

This shift in perception extended to all my girls. I began to see their hair as an extension of their lifestyle. It seemed to me that fuzziness should be evident if they were doing all the things girls do. I began to challenge my prior expectation that they remain neatly primped all of the time. My major concern was the health of their hair. My eyes told me to expect their hair to be brittle and damaged, but when I touched their strands my fingers slid across smooth elasticity. I marveled that as long as I had a bottle of water and some conditioner, I could manipulate their hair without breakage. As a bonus, they were retaining so much length

I concluded that health wise, it was better for me to err on the side of leaving a style in for longer stretches than to over manipulate my daughters' hair for the sake of smoothness.

3 comments:

  1. You make some striking points, some of which I have never really considered myself. I only have one daughter, and her hair normally frizzes shortly after it has been done too. When she was a little younger (she's 4 now) I would fuss over it, doing everything I could to avoid the fuzz!

    Now I don't worry about it quite as much, but it is still in the back of my mind that people will think I am neglecting her hair, when really it's simply behaving just as it should.

    You've certainly given me something to think about!

    Thanks for sharing!

    ~Sianna

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  2. I love this post because I am not alone. I use to do the same with my two daughters 6 and 7. Always fussing about the crazy frizz. Then have my M-I-L in my ear saying, " I would do my gyrls hair every morning if any hairs were out of place."
    When she saw her grandkids hair looking frizzalicious and all she would have something smart to say. Then my husband would chime in. That led me to doing things that to this day I hate I did. Using chemicles on my oldest when she was only three. My M-I-L talked me into it.
    It was a horrible experience for her and me. while she got compliment on how nice it looked, I missed the thick, nappy, coils. Then her hair started breaking horribly and i ended up giving her her first BC at just 4.
    I havent put another chemical in her hair since.
    Your post that I've read so far (and I am on here everyday) have been so helpful to me on caring for my daughters not only outside, but on the inside too. Thank you so much!
    Seeing how you teach and instill so much in your daughters is so beautiful and I applaud you.

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  3. Thank you both for sharing!

    @blk_bty3 Your story struck a chord with me--I'm so glad you are determined to stick by your convictions. Isn't it a nightmare when we already feel insecure and have people heaping on that condemnation? I applaud YOU! Thanks for the encouragement, I really appreciate it.

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