A Hair Raising Experince

As a mom, I find myself constantly on that balance beam between time for me and time for my family.

On one hand, if I don’t put on my own oxygen mask first, how will I draw enough life giving breath to be of service to anyone else?

At the same time, it’s become more and more apparent to me that the purpose of life is not living and focusing on myself. The purpose is to be there for others. This doesn’t mean I can’t set boundaries, but it does mean that in losing myself, I find myself.

I’m not surprised that my new quandary has infiltrated the one area of time I have each day for myself – the gym. On one hand, I despise rising at 530 to be at the YMCA by 630. On the other hand, when I do it, I find that am more ready to face my babies at 745 for the great walk to school.

Lately, they’ve wanted to join me. “No way you greedy little leeches”  “Okay, why not,” I find myself saying. After all, how much longer will they want to hang out with their mom – a stinky, sweaty one at that?

This morning, however, proved to be the most ridiculous series of events in the history of my mother/son relationship.After not being able to find his shoes, locate a sweater, or eat a piece of fruit (my suggestion to avoid him passing out on a treadmill going faster than Rosie, Judy Jetson’s maid) my son and I launched into full-blown war over his hair.

You see, he started out like this:


But he’s since morphed into this:

older boy

And while I’m not saying that having his hair parted down the middle in hesher/oily locks is a bad look FOR 1984 I have recently been the wee bit concerned that his style was not lending itself to his efforts to become, in his own words, “more popular.” I mean, it’s not like he plays guitar, does theatre or is donating to Locks of Love. His only intention, as of now, is to “see what happens,” attract birds to nest, or subconsciously work towards being the tween stand-in for Kenny G’s “My Teenage Musical Self in C-Minor.”

Note to self for future: Having this conversation at 6:45am when your gas tank and patience is low is not one of the brightest moves on the planet. Our conversation went like this.

Me: Stink, I love you, but I’m really wanting you to get your hair shaped up.

Stink: Why? It’s fine.

Me: Actually, no, it’s not.

Stink: Actually, yes, it is.

Me: I’m not asking you to cut it. I’m asking you shape it.

Stink: I’m not asking you to stop talking about it, I’m asking you to STOP TALKING ABOUT IT.

Me: No! I’m the Mom!

Stink: Yes! I’m the Dom!

Me: I hate to tell you this, but you don’t get to do whatever you want. You’re 12.

Stink: Mooooooom, you are the only one who ever complains about my hair!

Me: I’m the only one who is direct enough to tell you!

Stink: It’s your opinion!

Me: It’s a fact! You look like you need a special aid to ride the short bus!!!!!

Stink: I don’t know what that means, but I think it’s an insult, and I don’t like it!

Me: Then you can stay in the car while I work out!

Stink: We will!

Me: We?

Stink: Me and my hair!

And so they did. My boys. Stink and his hair. His droopy, parted down the side, no style, IT LOOKS FINE, hair.

While I walked and fumed on that treadmill, I was a mix of emotions. On one hand, I was furious and angry at my entitled man-child for not doing everything I wanted him to do not being more neat and tidy about his appearance. On the other hand, I was so proud of him for bucking up to me. I try not to care about what others think, but years of people pleasing has made this a tough chain to break. Stink not only never had to loosen the shackle, the chains were never there in the first place. He was, and continues to be, a force to be reckoned with.

As I walked back to the car, I mentally tried to justify tying him up at the hairdressers and cutting his hair against his will, but a small still voice whispered again and again in my head. “Many folk are shiny and happy on the outside, but not so shiny and happy on the inside.”

“What’s more important, Andrea?” I asked myself. “Who does your son want to be – not who do YOU want him to be?”

Being a mom isn’t easy. I am constantly having to protect his right to be an individual in the world, but desperately wanting him to fit in. Sometimes, at the end of the day, only one thing is certain. I might have less “me time” these mornings, but there’s something to be said for knowing what’s happening with my kid, even when it’s messy. Even when there’s yelling. And even when we have bad hair days.

I’ll give you the result of our feud on my next post.

Meanwhile, let’s have a little contest. Who can give his hair a name? The winner will get something special mailed to their doorstep. I promise it won’t be a hairball or a used comb.

7 thoughts on “A Hair Raising Experince”

  1. I have to say that his hair looks EXACTLY like my 16 year old’s did at that age. Exactly. Now mine still wears his longish, but it is shaped and trimmed at the salon and he puts product in it. The product only started being put on by him this year, in the tenth grade. Some kids are late bloomers in the grooming department….especially around here. I happen to think Stink has fab hair. A bit retro but fab.

  2. He’ll come around, sooner than you think, and then your bathroom will look like a hair products graveyard (I mean, how much gel does a kid need?) Until then, you call call him Sir Locks-a-Lot!

  3. Okay, I love all your ideas, but I’m going with Mom Meets Blog. Sir Locks a Lot it is! Mom, write me offline and I’ll send you the prize!

  4. i was talking with my sister the other day, and she was bemoaning the fact that she spent so much time forcing me out of velvet skirts and trying to make me look like a normal popular kid. She saw a young girl wearing a velvet skirt and ballet slippers crossing the road and instantly recognized her as one of my peeps.

    Stink’s opinions about what will make him popular are not so far off, because he isn’t a standard box. And the truth is, it’s not about being popular, it’s about being the coolest version of yourself. If Stink was to meet another Stink (but the fully accomplished and kick-ass version), what would that kid be like?

    It’s the Napolean Dynamite issue. If you aren’t a standard box, you will find yourself happier with your non-standard peeps. AND YET ALSO, if you are true and accomplished within the confines of your true self, everyone else can admire that, even if they aren’t ever going to be part of your world.

    With my Stink-like kid, we just have a lot of groups over. I’ve started up a wacky writing group and the kids are seeing him in a flattering light, and digging his idiosyncrasies. It’s the solution for now. It’s all about self-confidence for legitimate reasons, and understanding that the reasons people don’t like some things about you is because they aren’t your audience.

    On the other hand, I think that has to go with an understanding of where you need self improvement too. For instance, if you can’t pull off jokes within your own group, then you need to work on your comedic timing. As for Stink’s hair, maybe show him the coolest version of what kind of hairstyles he would like.

    1. @Jemy – Great great insight. Thank you!!!!!!! You are dead on about the Napolean Dynamite issue, too! Ha ha ha!

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