I took Mr E to the park this morning for a play after school drop off. We are currently moving from 2 sleeps to 1 sleep and a morning play at the park is just the thing to push the guy a little longer in the morning so he doesn’t go to sleep too early in the day.
So this morning we were having a little play and doing our thing when a mum and her daughter came over to play in the same area as us. The mother was following her daughter and telling her to ‘come here’ as she had to do her hair for the party and that needed to happen now.
What unfolded next was pretty intense to say the least.
She grabbed the girl and sat her down on the ground while she pulled the brush out and started brushing. The little girl (maybe 4 years old) starting screaming like crazy. For the next few minutes the girl was screaming and crying and carrying on like she was being tortured while the mother tried to hold her there to brush her hair and put it up in a pony tail. Once she had done the best she could the mother walked away not to be seen for the next 15 minutes. A nanny then appeared out of nowhere to watch the girl and a younger 2 year old brother whom I did not see before this. The 4 year old continued to wail and cry and walk around the park crying for her mum who she could not find. This went on for at least another 15 minutes until the girl gave up on trying to find her mum.
Now I am not telling you this story to judge this mum because I know as a mother we have all been there. We have all been to that point where we are over it and the screaming and crying becomes too much to engage so we ignore it because that is all we can do.
As I sat there and watched this mother I wanted to go over, I wanted to say it’s ok, just let her have messy hair it doesn’t really matter. I guess it doesn’t really matter to me but clearly it mattered to the mother.
My husband grew up in a family that always had brushed hair, stain free clothes and shoes on. I grew up in a family that was often shoeless, had messy hair and was covered in filth lol.
This has always been a little tension for us with our kids as hubby feels the pressure to present our kids well and I don’t really care that much.
As parents we already have so many things we need to force our kids to do for their safety and wellbeing e.g stay off the road, clean their teeth, eat some fruit and vegies, get good quality sleep etc etc.
I have fought my husband harish on the issue of brushed hair, coordinated clothes and presentation over the years. As a grown up my hair is always done, shoes are on and I am generally well presented. There is so much pressure in society to look and dress to impress that it didn’t matter than my mum wasn’t stressed about it when I was a kid … I picked up on it as I got older.
I just want to say to all of the mums out there that it’s ok if your kids have messy hair because they don’t care. It is just us mums that care. I think we often care about that so much because we are afraid of what other people think and being judged for our unruly looking children. I guess I have always thought that if someone doesn’t want to be my friend because my daughter has messy hair and they are judging me and making me feel like a bad parent, then I probably don’t want to be their friend anyway.
I say this because my oldest child hated having her hair brushed and when I say hated I mean HATED. It was an issue for a while and the best way we managed it was I sat down with her one day and said you either have to let us brush your hair sometimes or we have to cut it short. I explained what would happen if we didn’t brush her hair semi-regularly. She decided she would prefer it short so we cut it.
She is now is grade 2 with a short bob and every morning before school she brushes her hair. She still hates doing it but she doesn’t want to go to school with messy hair. She has decided to keep it relatively short and it works for all of us.
We all battle with our kids everyday and parenting is a really tough gig. I would just encourage you to sit for a moment and think about the things that “really” matter and battle your kids over them and the things that don’t “really” matter to find another way.
If you see a mum walking around with messy haired shoe-less children wearing uncoordinated clothes … that would be me!! I know deep down in my heart that how my kids look does not make me a good or bad parent and since they don’t really care why should I if they are in no danger! (note they do wear shoes if their little feet may be in danger)