You don’t really know me. We probably won’t get to know each other well. Unlike other women, I don’t have a stylist that I know and trust intimately with my locks. And regardless of the outcome of your work, you likely won’t become that for me. Please don’t take it personally.
And please, don’t judge the state of my hair or the way I present myself. I admire your perfectly coifed hair and your expertly done makeup as you walk up to introduce yourself. You’re just so very beautiful. You know how to accentuate it. It makes me feel at ease as I entrust my own beauty to your hands. And it makes me feel inadequate.
You see, I’m a Mom. You noticed my rounding belly just as I noticed your beautiful face. But my motherhood story is longer than this pregnancy. It is also two little boys waiting to see my new look at home. It is a body that is on its fifth attempt at pregnancy, with varying results.
My priorities have shifted since becoming this mom-person you see reflected in the mirror. I remember the freedom with hairstyling that I felt after getting married. I was saving my long beautiful natural hair for wedding photos but revolted immediately by cutting it short and dying it blonde on my honeymoon. I went to the expensive salon in the city and found a hairstylist that I could frequent. I tried different shades of blonde and varying mid-length cuts. It sounds bland but felt exotic to this newlywed, new city dweller. I kept this up until my newlywed status turned into newly pregnant and my waitressing job turned into a serious office job. I looked at my roots and I considered the health of my unborn child and I went to a salon and dyed it back to my natural colour.
Since then, I can probably list my trips to the salon on one hand.
You see, our finances needed to change with a new life coming into the world. We needed to find a bigger place to live. We needed to get the right equipment. We needed to feed and clothe this little one. And “I’ll do it when we’re not so cash strapped” stopped even being said because parenthood and adulthood seemed to turn into one giant money pit.
Our luxuries now consist of trips to fast food restaurants with play structures. We stretch our budgets when our kids start to outgrow their clothes. We save our pennies for the furniture that we will need to make the transition from a family with two children to three. I don’t want to complain. These children, this family – my life is beautiful. But my wardrobe and my style may not be keeping up.
The last time I cut my hair was in October of 2012. To simplify the math, that was 1 year and 10 months ago. I’m sure by this point, the term “split ends” is an understatement.
I wish I could go see you more. I want to find a good local salon in our new neighbourhood with a stylist who will make me beautiful time and time again. I want to pay for your services and tip you well because I recognize the service you provide to people like me – people who need pampering. But in our family’s hierarchy of needs, my hair style just doesn’t make the cut.
I want you to know that this is all okay with me. I don’t need to get my hair done or pay someone to paint my nails. I don’t need fancy skin treatments and relaxing body massages. Buying a dinky car for my kids brings just as much joy to my face. And my body, this body that grows and shrinks and stretches, does not match the definition of beauty that I see reflected in you, but it is still a kind of beautiful. That ponytail full of split ends is part of my toolkit. It is a step to simplification, and I don’t really mind that. Because my life needs these simplification tools because it is so very full.
And then, every once in a while, perhaps after a year and ten months we see each other again. Maybe the stars have aligned or maybe I’ve just grown so sick of my pregnancy hair falling out in the shower or maybe I’ve been in a ponytail for one day too long or maybe my mother-in-law has come into town and offered to take a trip with me to the salon. On that day, when you come out to greet me with your beautiful hair and your gorgeous face, when you take in my pregnant belly and my unstyled hair and my very boring clothes, I hope you see my beauty. I hope you try to accentuate it. I hope that you know that even though I might not be back (for a very long time at least), you are a luxury for me during these moments. And I love you for it.
Laura O’Rourke is a blogger from Halifax, Nova Scotia. A working Mom, Laura has two young boys and one baby on the way. She writes about finding the beauty in the mess of motherhood on her blog, Mommy Miracles. Her blog has been listed on multiple Top 10 Canadian Blog lists. Laura runs an online book club for busy Moms called MomsReading. Connect with Laura on Twitter and Facebook.