When I entered the waters of motherhood 19 years ago, nobody told me that being a hairstylist would one day be among my job qualifications. Lucky for my girls, I am pretty much inept in the realm of beauty skills, which leads to an abundance of frustrating moments now that they are teenagers. They count their lucky stars every day that their mother provides zero help when it comes to cute hair.
My lack of skills goes back many years. As a child, I thought I was the epitome of glamorous when I sported my own headband design made out of a knotted ribbon with plastic animal barrettes clipped between the knots. It looked ridiculous, but I thought it was the most stylish thing I had ever seen.
As a teenager, I relied on my older sister to help me with my hair. She was good with her hands, creating beautiful braids and curls. I, on the other hand, was good at wearing my thick wavy locks down. I grew up in the days of home perms, after all, and waves were as easy as 1-2-3. Wash, scrunch, and go was my motto. Attempts at any other style usually resulted in a tangled mess, so I stuck with the tried and true.
My hairstyling skills have not improved over time, despite the death of the home perm. A couple of years ago, I finally gave up on my long hair because I HATED spending time on it, which meant I wore a ponytail every single day. Now, my short and sassy style takes less than 10 minutes to do, and I could not be happier.
But my girls still insist on having long locks. Apparently, they do not want the same hairstyle as their mother. I cannot imagine why because it is the answer to my beauty prayers, but they tell me long hair is the way to go when you are a teenager.
That would all be well and good if I was actually capable of styling hair up to high teenage standards. But I am not. My hands are clumsy and helpless when hair is on the line, so things get a little sticky. My morning conversation with my daughter (at least one, if not both of them) usually goes something like this:
Daughter: “Mom, will you do my hair?”
Me: “How do you want it done?”
Daughter: “In a high ponytail.”
Me: “I have been trying to do high ponytails for years, and I can still never get them right. I don’t know what is so hard about that style, but it never turns out well. Can I do a regular ponytail instead?”
Daughter: “But, Mom, I want a high ponytail.”
Me: “OK, I will try, but if it doesn’t work out, you are on your own.”
I then attempt to smooth her hair into a high ponytail. When I am done, it is anything but smooth. There are lumps and bumps everywhere, hair falling out of the rubber band and, to top it all off, the disheveled ponytail is not even in the middle of her head. I attempt to do it again, but the results are not much better.
Me: “OK, that is the best I can do.”
Daughter: (Looking critically at her head) “But what about the bump right here?”
Me: “I can try to smooth it out with a barrette.”
(I put two barrettes on either side of her head, doing my best to smooth the bumps. It looks slightly better.)
Daughter: “Does it look OK?”
Me: “Looks great! Amazing! Stellar!”
Daughter: (Scowling) “Are you sure it doesn’t look bad?”
Me: “I’m sure!”
Daughter: “I don’t believe you. It looks weird.”
Me: “If you don’t like it, you are welcome to do it on your own.”
Daughter: “I CAN’T DO IT! I NEED YOU TO HELP ME!! MOM!!!!”
Me: “This ponytail represents my best work, which I know is not great. If you don’t like the way it looks, please wear your hair down until you learn how to do the perfect high ponytail on your own.”
Daughter: “MOM!!!! WHY ARE YOU ALWAYS MAD AT ME?!? I NEED YOUR HELP!!”
Me: “I am not the one mad here, and I am obviously not being helpful. I’m sorry.”
Daughter: “WHATEVER!!!” (Stomps off)
Me: “I love you!”
Daughter: (Frustrated screaming)
Repeat tomorrow. And the next day. And the one after that. Ad nauseum.
Drama is the only language my children know how to speak. Using it to make mornings into a World War III production over hair is not working out so well, though. Heaven, help me!
What happened to the days when my sweet little girls did not care if their ponytails were perfect? I think they have vanished now that having “weird” hair is no longer socially acceptable. Apparently, however, that is the only hair variety in my beauty wheelhouse, so I am the mom of a teenage girl’s dreams.
Since I cannot win in this situation, I suppose I will keep praying for patience. Also, I will play Youtube hair tutorials in my daughters’ room while they sleep, hoping for a little learning by osmosis. And, if all else fails, maybe I will invest in some flawlessly-styled wigs for days when hair tension is running high.
Above all, I will incessantly remind my two girls how lucky they are to have me as their mother. While I am not the best hairstylist on the planet, I can make a mean crème brûlée. It is a well-known fact that dessert can compensate for subpar hair. They may look weird, but at least they do it with a satisfied belly, so all three of us are essentially #winning.
Please remind me of that when I am at my wit’s end after we go through this hairstyling routine again tomorrow.
Can you relate? Please tell me there are other moms out there who are not so good at doing hair…
Kira| A Better Life Lived says
So I have a toddler son and cannot relate to this on the mom side. I was, however, the teenage daughter in the late nineties of a mom who thought the epitome of hairstyles was feathering. She also had no idea what to do with my thick, course, long hair that was less like human hair and more like a horse’s mane (we literally tried horse shampoo at one point called “mane and tail”).
I can assure you I eventually made peace with my hair and never held it against my mother. Just count down the days until they hit that point. And good luck!
Oh, the feathering! I remember those days! I’m glad you eventually made peace with your hair and your relationship with your mom is none the worse for wear. I will pray for that day to come quickly! 🙂
As you know, I have 5 daughters, each with her own head of thick curly to wavy hair. I have spent hours on you tube learning how to do their hair to meet their standards. My skills are much better than they used to be, but still have many days just like the ones you described! Just add in hiding behind the couch ripping out the hair band, and our scenes could be the very same. After many years of this I have finally decided my girls will do their own hair starting in 6th grade. If i have time in the mornings, and the patience, I might’ve add, I will do their hair if they ask sweetly and keep a “you get what you get attitude.” So take comfort in knowing you’d be having the same drama even if you knew a bit more about styling hair! I’m banking on my girls growing out of it and not being scarred for life!
That is comforting! We all have our moments for sure! I love the idea of having them do their own hair starting in the 6th grade. That is fantastic! Thanks for sharing your story!
Last year my 14-year old was late to school almost EVERY SINGLE DAY because of hair or makeup issues. She is doing way better this year since she wants to get a driver’s permit. We have made an agreement that she must have a B+ average or no permit. She can do it – I’m not setting an unreasonable standard. Anyhow, part of that grade comes from attendance.
My daughter also thinks that my duty in life is to find the time to learn how to style her hair into amazing designs. I have told her repeatedly that if she doesn’t like my best offering, she needs to do it herself. After all, the girls in the YouTube videos are doing their own hair. This produces an “I can’t!” I think that this year she is beginning to realize that I am serious when I say that I have done my best and I have no intention of trying to become a hair stylist for her. She has only been late to school one day so far this year. However, some mornings are still full of her yelling, me trying not to raise my voice, and her accepting the second or third try I make on her latest hairstyle choice. (Just yesterday she chose two upside-down Dutch braids that end at the top of her head and become two messy buns. I think it looks sort of like a teddy bear, she thinks it looks fabulous.)
Thanks for posting this experience – I thought I was the only one going through this sort of drama. 🙂
Good to know I’m not alone. Thanks for sharing. 🙂
Wish we lived close. I will do your daughter’s hair if you make my kids food… sounds like my dinners are about the equivilant of your braids. 🙂
Sounds good to me!