Today I got a haircut. Back to my pixie, I have no idea why I ever think it’s a good idea to stray. I don’t have the patience, styling capabilities, or time for even a short bob anymore. Also, I have baby fine hair…as in as fine as a babies hair. It simply looks better short.
As I was looking at pictures of cute cuts on Pinterest for my stylist, I kept thinking, “I just don’t want Mom Hair.”
And then I started thinking about how insulting that is. I mean, I AM a mom. I’m proud of that. I love my daughter and I love being her mom. Becoming a mother had a profound impact on me that I am grateful for and humbled by, daily. It has influenced absolutely everything about who I am and how I view myself. It informs my work, my life, my way of thinking.
So why am I afraid of looking like one?
When you think about the things with the modifier “mom” to them, most of them are not flattering. Mom Hair. Mom Jeans. Mom Hips. Mom Shoes. Mom Car. They all conjure up images of painfully unstylish, unattractive, embarrassing, uncool, blahness. Not exactly offensive, but definitely on the border between ugly and boring. The implication is that mom’s morph into blobs of momness that suck out all style, personality, and individuality, in favor of shapeless hair, faces, bodies, and clothes. Even MILF, which is a term I loathe for a variety of reasons, is meant to show how weird it is for a mom to be attractive to anyone. After all, if there are MILF’s then there are non-MILF’s. And MILF is only really true of mom’s who don’t look like the “typical” mom (or like mom’s at all, given our beauty ideals), which is, again, insulting.
In general I don’t really worry about my fuckability. I’m cute, not sexy, and that’s something I’ve been ok with for a long time. I’m a lot more concerned with whether I come across as thoughtful or considerate than sexy. That’s not because I’m super enlightened or anything, and I find plenty of other people sexy. I just don’t put a lot of stock in for myself. It’s not one of my qualities.
However, I have a personal sense of style and way I like to present myself, I like makeup and clothing and playing with a variety of both. I absolutely care about how I look and pay attention to it, especially skincare. Vintage style dresses, cardigans, peter pan collars…or sometimes just clean lined black shirts and pants, are my fashion staples. I work from home so most of my wardrobe is comfortable and, because I am a mom, easy to wash. I truly wish the dinosaur and space dresses I find for my daughter came in adult sizes because I definitely have a somewhat kitschy, tacky, side, too. Life is short, I don’t see any reason to dress in any other way than what I like and enjoy.
That hasn’t really changed since becoming a mom. My size has, I’m much curvier and plumper post child. I have conflicting feelings about that, but my body is the way it is now because I grew a person.
The reality is: I have mom hips. My hips widened quite a lot for childbirth, at least 3–4 inches. That’s a permanent change in my bones from motherhood. I have mom hair because I’m a mom. It’s way easier (and cheaper) for me to have this pixie cut and wash and go than it would be trying to tame it with a million products when it’s longer. I don’t wear jeans but I have plenty of mom leggings. Comfortable shoes make a lot more sense while I chase a toddler and have dance parties in my living room than heels (which I have never been able to manage anyway).
I don’t think any of these things means that I have suddenly become some kind of non-person with no style or identity beyond Mom. Mom’s aren’t amorphous blobs and we have a variety of styles and personalities and lives. I’d like “Mom Hair” to mean “hair that is on a mom’s head”, which could be short or long, pink or gray or brown.
It would be kind of great if we could make Mom — Whatevers into something a lot more celebratory, instead of sounding like a sartorial death knell and a shorthand for bland and banal.
It would be great if we remembered that mom’s are people, not a derogatory aesthetic choice to avoid.