Sunday, April 26, 2015
I am a hairstylist. I am a mother and a wife first, but also a hair stylist. I have noticed a growing trend among my friends, colleagues and clients. A very troubling trend. I will first begin by telling you the story of me, in a break room not long ago among friends and colleagues whom I greatly respect and admire for their many talents. I sat in the break room enjoying my afternoon coffee (Afternoon coffee i.e. that which so many mothers, non mothers, or individuals who are multitasking their lives away require to function on any level of success require) when a very young and thin, and oh so cute twenty something coworker of mine whom I shall not name entered the room. I will call her Suzie Q. I sat, one of only 2 mothers in a room full of young individuals who without children, freely spend their weekends soaking up social lives in the hip and trendy places I pretend to be familiar with while being secretly totally satisfied with my not so hip and trendy weekends binge watching shows on Netflix with my best friend/husband while sipping my ever so soothing wine on my ever so comfy couch. Suzie Q came into the room flawless and adorable as she so often does, and went directly to the mirror. She had just cut her hair into what appeared to be a very cute, very hip and trendy bob. Her blonde hair and small features took to the cut perfectly and every one began smothering her with the compliments myself included. I love a cute short cut. Then the words that slip off the tongue of so many slipped through her lips. It made me cringe, made me feel sad for a moment, and then completely annoyed me so I left the room. Yet her words still resonated within me. The words she spoke were innocent enough, she meant no harm, but harm it caused none the less. My once not so fragile feelings were hurt. I was annoyed. She looked at her coworkers and asked, "do you like my cut? I mean really like it?" The compliments continued to pour over her like rain in April. And then as if it mattered not that two moms sat in the room she uttered the words, a question I have learned to despise, a phrase I wish to abolish from all females who speak: "Are you sure I don't look like a mom?" Cringe, Puke, UGH, Why?? Why has this become OK? What the F*#k does this mean? What does a mom look like? Do I look like this 'mom' she speaks of? Probably. I likely do some days. If by "look like a mom" she meant, Looks tired, exhausted, uncoordinated, likely unfashionable, or not well put together, then OK, I can give her that. I have those days. We all have those days. In that moment, the worst thing to her that could happen was to look like a, well, ME! again I say, Puke, Cringe, Ugh, Why. Thanks, I thought. I now feel like shit. Before I pretend this is the first time I have heard this said, I will tell you truthfully and sadly, it is not. I hear mothers themselves, sitting in my stylist seat, begging me to make them look less like a mom. Several times a month I hear it said. Several times a month I hear other stylists say, "that's better, now you don't look so much like a mom." GRRRRRR!!! It makes me angry. Truth be told even I have drudged up those words when getting my own haircut, "please make me look less like a mom." It has become ingrained in our minds to try hard to avoid this motherly appearance at all cost. I myself have referred to my personal favorite haircut on me as my 'mombob.' But I own that 'mombob' and I love it! I beg of you mothers out there to love your momness as well. If you get a 'mombob' then you rock that bob like no other. I will never say these words again if I can help it. I ask, what does it mean when you say to me, "I don't want to look like a mom" Or when individuals say that in front of mothers though they are not a mom themselves? What are you saying? Do you not know how that can hurt someone? In my mind I truly wanted to look at her and say, "really? WTF? I am sitting right here! Can you not see me? Are mom's also invisibl? Thank you. I now feel like shit" But I gracefuly bit my tongue and pouted silently like my 5 year old when I take his candy. I wanted to say: STOP. Do you realize you are creating a society that inadvertently tells mothers they are not attractive and that mothers should strive inwardly to be the best mothers they can be while externally presenting themselves as something they are not? Is this OK? I think not. I don't know about you, but the younger me has done the party scene. I have clubbed and danced until my body collapsed at 5 am only to go to work 2 hours later at 7. I have binge drank and vomited outside the window of a moving truck. I have lived a professional life without children. I have lived responsibly and traveled. I have lived irresponsibly and stayed home. There is nothing yet I haven't done that those younger are currently doing. And I dread, for those who find motherhood so unattractive, the day that they will wake- possibly as mothers themselves and question and doubt themselves in every way. So much so that sometimes all you can do is cry because it hurts and because the pressure to be something you aren't hurts. The same way I and so many others have questioned ourselves. It does hurt, It is difficult, I feel unattractive on some days. I feel lonely some days. I miss my younger childless self some days and would be lying if I said I did not. However, most days I feel rewarded. Most days I am so busy I don't have time to miss the old me. I am more tired than I ever imagined I would be, I am busier and exhausted at times, but I wanted this. I love this. I am good at this. I love the little people in my life more than my own breath. I love them and my life with them more than any life I had with out them. And when I want, I still look and feel pretty damn amazing. Being a mother is a huge part of who I am and damnit I want to look like a mom and I want to look like this because it IS me. I want to tell you mothers that you are beautiful. You are succeeding everyday even when you feel you are not and you probably look damn good doing it. Do not go to your hairstylist and ask them to make you look like you are not a mom when you are a mom. Do not put on a shirt and ask your friend if it makes you look like a mom. Did you hear that? Don't do it. YOU ARE A MOM. Own it. Work it. Know it. Your body and your face and your heart tell a story that your younger body could not tell. Your younger self had no idea how much you were truly capable of. Your story is amazing. You are experiences. You are life and you have created life and you nurture life. You are sexy when you want to be and casual when you want to be. Find your confidence. Ask for great hair, ask for a new look. Change is great. Great hair is great for the soul. I do not deny that. But do not think that your motherhood is not an acceptable or beautiful thing. No one is walking through Target playing 'Spot The Mom.' So chin up. Stay strong and when you hear mothers apologizing for their appearance, or for their disheveled hair, or the yoga pants and pony tails they conveniently had to wear because they are a mom; give them a big hug, give them a genuine compliment, a pat on the back, or a high five. Tell them you understand, tell them they are unsung heroes, tell them they are f*#king beautiful because they are mothers. Love them then strive to be as beautiful and as strong and as amazing as they are everyday.