Some moms look fabulous. You know who you are. I have a friend with a one year old who looks so well put together every time I see her that it makes my insides fume with jealousy. Her hair is the hottest new shade and it is blown out to perfection. I always look at her and wonder how she does it. Then I remember that she’s a hairstylist. Oh, yeah. It’s her job to look that good so her clients don’t run away after one look at her (like mine would) and she has access to all the best people and products all the time. But what about those of us who aren’t surrounded by beauty products, only toys and diapers? Recently I bit the bullet, got a babysitter, and went in for my once a year appointment. It was a huge reminder of why I need put my guilt aside and give myself permission to get pampered.
A History of Hair
Let me start by giving you a background on my hair. It is thick. It is curly. It is frizzy. And I have a ton of it. Did you watch Beyoncé in the Super Bowl this year? Yeah, that’s my hair. While Beyoncé has the sass and the team of hairstylists to help her pull it off, I barely get 10 minutes in the morning to do my hair before my little one starts getting into things.
About 10 years ago my wonderful aunt introduced me to a process called “Japanese Thermal Straightening”. She generously paid for my first appointment and it changed my life. My hair became stick straight….permanently. I could wash it….still straight. I could let it air dry….still straight. It was amazing! I became a more confident person and for the first time in my life, I felt pretty. A year later, I met my husband, and 6 years later we were married. Let me tell you, I believe in this product.
Why it is so difficult
There is a catch, though. Number 1: it is expensive. (We are talking $500 for touch ups) Number 2: When your hair grows out, it comes out curly. So, every 4-6 months you need a touch up. Just like with hair color. And that takes about 4-5 hours. Yes I said it. 4-5 HOURS. (At least, on my thick hair)
When I was pregnant I was worried about the chemicals they use. The company claims it is fine to use on pregnant or breast feeding women, but I didn’t want the risk. So, for about a year and a half I went without it, and literally half my hair was curly, and the other half was straight. Not a good look. I felt frumpy and unattractive and no amount of flat ironing would work. After a year, I finally got myself into the salon, while my wonderful hubby and sister watched the baby. I was nervous and guilt-ridden, but afterwards I felt amazing.
Time went on, my hair grew out again, and the budget got tight. I felt guilty spending my time in a hair salon when I could be taking care of our little one. I felt guilty spending a significant amount of money on my hair. So, I waited and waited until another year went by, and my hair was half curly and half straight.
I started to think maybe I should just grow it out curly and see what it looks like. But I started having nightmares about my curly hair (yes, this is a deep seeded psychological thing for me!). I didn’t know what to do.
A Gift….or was it?
Then my mom and sister took me to Los Angeles for my Grandma’s 95th birthday party (Yeah, Grandma!) and while we were there my mom said she made an appointment for me to get my hair done and she and my sister would watch the two-year-old.
I was excited, but also nervous. It’s a long process and they weren’t used to having a toddler around for 5 hours to entertain and chase after (I guess my mom had experience but that was a long time ago!). Not to mention, it was going to cut it close with nap time, and I was still the only person who could get my little one to nap (more on that in another post). They reassured me everything would be fine and drove me, kicking and screaming and full of guilt, to the salon.
It was kind of nice at first, I had to just sit while they put the relaxer on my hair. I read, played on the computer, did a little work, and tried to relax. But, time started to tick away, and the ladies (I have so much hair they needed 2 ladies to work on it) were going at a slower pace then I was used to. It started taking longer and longer and nap time was quickly approaching. I started to get really antsy, and snap at the ladies. I wondered why it would now take them 6 hours instead of 5 like it usually does, and I barked at them and told them I had a toddler waiting for me who needed a nap (like they cared!). My anxiety grew and coupled with the fact I had barely eaten anything, I became a temper-fueled two-year-old myself.
Then my mom called and decided to bring my little one by to say hi. I was relieved and excited to see her and she was so cute as she came running towards me! I had two women flat ironing my hair and we still had about 45 minutes to go. I took one look at my toddler and knew she was exhausted and ready for a nap.
After flat ironing they had to put on a gel called a “neutralizer” and the women asked if my mom could hold my little one while they applied it. That did not go over so well. My toddler fell to the floor kicking and screaming in the middle of the salon while I watched, gel dripping off my head, in agony. My mom couldn’t calm her and she flopped and screamed while my anxiety and mommy guilt grew and grew. Finally, I couldn’t take it anymore (seriously it only lasted 2 minutes before I caved) and I picked her up and carried her outside (still with gel on my head).
What had I done? How could I be so selfish? Why did I put her through this? These were all thoughts going through my head as I felt like the worst mom in the world. I held her until she calmed down, but then it was time to wash out the gel. Oh no!! Once again I had to hand her to my mom and once again she threw a full blown hysterical temper tantrum on the floor of the posh LA salon. This time I was stuck, and my mom finally picked her up and put her on my lap while they washed my hair. Then I carried her back to the seat, gave in, and nursed her under my robe until she fell asleep. (Don’t I look tired??)
It took 6 hours to do my hair. The first two were filled with nerves that my little one was alright (did I even mention my mom showed my two year old the beginning of “Finding Nemo” with the barracuda attack? Yeah, right after they dropped me off at the salon. They said she was so upset and I don’t blame her!). The second two were filled with anxiety that it was taking so long. And the last two were filled with toddler temper tantrums.
No wonder I never, ever want to get my hair done. This once relaxing ritual has turned into a stress fueled, guilt-ridden spectacle.
But, I have to say, that once my hair was done, it looked amazing. I felt pretty, my confidence was up, and I felt like I could be a better mother and wife. I could go to story-time with confidence. I could go on a date night not feeling frumpy. I felt like myself again. And, because of that, I had no reason to be guilty in the first place. If getting my hair done makes me feel better about myself, I can channel that to all aspects of my life. When you feel good, you do good. And my toddler has forgotten all about that day (please, oh, please!).
Give yourself permission
So, moms, while trying to coordinate a babysitter, find time, or find the money to take care of yourself, remember that you are important too. Get your hair done, go to the nail salon, get a facial or a massage. Give yourself permission to get pampered! The way you feel about yourself has a direct impact on your whole family. If you feel confident, relaxed, and good about yourself, it will demonstrate self-love to your own kids. Your husband or partner will see that you are happier and more confident, which can only do good things for your relationship.
While it’s not easy to bite the bullet and get pampered, tell yourself it’s important for your whole family. They will thank you, and you will thank yourself.
Do you have a crazy hair story? Share it in the comments below! And, don’t forget to share this with other moms who may need some encouragement to get pampered!