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.