For many women, their children are like a business card. This should not be understood as something wrong or negative. It is natural enough for women to want to show who they are, simply by showing off their children. Men also do this, but the trend is not as clear. For example, you can see it on Facebook, where female profile pictures often also contain one or more children. Men also upload photos of their children, but not as a profile picture.
That makes sense too. Caring for our children is a great life project for all parents, and the decisions we make about them and the goals we have for our life with them, create a picture of who we are. You can see it in the mood, the clothes, the self-esteem, you can hear it in the language, the tone, and the noise level.
But it can become too much of a project that things are getting out of sync.
Let me be specific: the reality, or self-programming, may arise that all possible conditions MUST be in order. For example, many believe that children should have their hair combed every morning (maybe even every night) and that the girls should have elastic bands and straps in. Perhaps you are even (unfortunately for a good reason) afraid of what educators and school teachers would think if you didn’t do it.
Often, it is a sad automatic pilot who runs with the women and destroys many a good morning mood between the parent and the child.
Often it is not an expression of deep value, something the mother finds very important, but rather a rule of memory, an ambition that has become a prison.
Most people know it. The scene where the children don’t want to put on clothes, don’t want to have combed their hair, don’t want to have brushed teeth, do not want anything. And then you end up standing there morning after morning with the hairbrush and deciding over a more or less screaming child.
The older the child gets, the harder it is to come up with a sensible answer to the question, “Why do I have to my hair combed, Mom?”
And then we haven’t even started talking about washing hair. Oh, what a horror, what child torture, what crazy noise level – and what incredible opportunities for investment in shampoo with Shrek and Fiona and Hello Kitty and Spiderman and the whole gendarmerie, with gum scent and soap bubble efforts. Even Spray-Shampoo – where you can wash hair completely without water – exists. People make a lot of money on this requirement for shiny glossy, well-styled children’s hair.
I have done it myself. I have three children with hair (and one baby almost without), they all have long hair, and the two big ones have quite a lot of it. I’ve brushed and brushed and brushed – don’t dare think about how many hours have gone by. Until a year ago, I brushed my hair pretty consistently every single day.
At a concert one day, while I was galloping high pregnant with number four, I saw the light: I saw some really lovely kids lounging around and enjoying the music, happy living harmonious children with light in their eyes and rhythm in their bodies.
And they had a chaotic, messy hair that was neither cut, set, brushed nor washed. It was just messy. There were some dreads, it fell into his eyes that had clearly been a bit – maybe chocolate ice cream, maybe the pasta – in some of the lures.
To me, these kids and the fact that they had NOT had their hair done a expression of joy and excess. How important is it to have nice rat tails?
So I’ve let go of it now, up to a certain limit.
Of course, hair can get too clammy, and needs to be washed. But I have let go of the regular rule that hair should be styled daily. They don’t even get a rat tail when we go to a wedding.
This is not just about hair, nor is it just about letting go of daily struggles on the hairbrush – nor about prioritizing time on children’s care in the form of hairstyle and hair washing.
It is about something that is far more important: It is about joy, and it is about respect.
Respect – About one of the most important relationships in your life
See, what’s at stake here is actually the relationship between you and your child – a relationship that is basically far more important than the relationship between your big social scene and your child’s ‘look’. The less ‘must’ and ‘I decide over you’ there is, the less a percentage of your time spent going with it, the more you can see your child’s personality unfold and the more fun you can have together, The more time you have to talk about what’s going on in your life, the more you can sing – and yes, fill yourself with whatever is valuable and meaningful to you.
The meta-layer on children’s hair styling is basically something that you are not good enough as you are when you turn the quilt aside; that social norms mean that you have to spend a lot of time and money polishing the surface so that the world can accept you. And here, I think it is needed to fight hard. Self-esteem is a gift, and it is precisely the unconditional love of the parents to be cherished. Give your child room to be himself, and don’t send a daily morning message to your child saying that you have to polish the facade before you can walk out the door.
There is always a middle way
You can actually change your style and ask the children – it is their hair, after all: whether they want it cut, washed and styled. And respect their response without tampering with it. Or you can cut down to once a week instead of once a day.
My message is just this: children with chaotic hair who are their own, often have parents who have time to hear what they say, parents who have the surplus to hold on to completely different core values and who dare to know their children more than they use them as a business card.
Parents who dare not to care about judgments based on looks, because they have made a choice that other matters are much more important.
It’s no secret that I’ve been very close to dying of cancer. I struggled for half a year to survive the treatment of a disease that had devoured my bone marrow health and, thus, my immune system – I had bone marrow cancer. The disease is now ‘at rest,’ and I hope to die from something else before it possibly wants a more active life. The path through this course of illness has made it very clear to me what is essential (to me, and to us) – and this connection is
1. The hours we have together, every minute, are significant, unique.
2. I want to get to know my children, they are some wonderful people all four, and I welcome every detail of their personalities and enjoy their development and development.
3. Respect. It is important for me to teach my children respect for their own and others’ integrity. If I decide too much and too illogical about them, I do not have this respect myself, and it is much worse than a little messy hair.
Thanks for reading