“I Can’t Cornrow” And Other Confessions Of A Black Mom Doing Black Girl Hair

December 27, 2012  |  

Like many little black girls in the 90s, my mom would braid my hair into box braids about every two months or so, effectively cutting down the amount of time she had to spend tending to my hair. It kept me and my sisters looking presentable and she would get a reprieve from the shrieking and crying we’d do as three “tender-headed” children.

Hair just wasn’t a big deal to my mother and as a result, it’s not that big a deal to me.

But now that I have a daughter myself, there’s incredible pressure to make sure my girl looks not just presentable, but impressive. I was used to seeing pigtails on little girls, a couple French braids here and there if you want to get fancy. But nowadays when I go out with my daughter I see little girls with elaborate updos, tiny two-strand twists, and cornrows making shapes, words and more.

There are a slew of blogs—from Beads, Braids and Beyond to Untrained Hair Mom to Chocolate Hair Vanilla Care—giving advice on how to care for black girl’s hair and I read them all. I love how much knowledge they have to share and I’m glad these resources are out here. But I’ve got a few confessions to make:

  1. I don’t know how to cornrow. I can do some mean two-strand twists, though.
  2. I don’t have the time nor the money to try out every new product with the “hot” ingredient of the moment (whoever is pushing this “argan oil” agenda is really raking in the dough).
  3. I don’t have the desire to make my daughter’s hair look “fancy.” It is what it is. As long as it’s healthy, I’m good.
  4. The detangling process makes me want to scream. My daughter’s thick, curly hair is beautiful, but it will tangle up on you if you even look at it wrong.
  5. I feel like the only one who isn’t concerned with battling frizz. My daughter’s hair will never be “sleek” unless we chemically straighten it. There will always be stray curly hairs that won’t be “tamed.” I’m cool with that.

Overall, I love my daughter’s hair. It’s strong and beautiful and responds well to my low-maintenance hair care routine. I could do more and “baby” it into growing longer, but her head full of hair is already bordering on Troy Polamalu status.

I’m a black mom who doesn’t care that much about hair. Am I alone?  

Words: Tara Pringle Jefferson

Tara Pringle Jefferson is the founder of TheYoungMommyLife.com and the author of Make It Happen: The Young Mommy Guide To Creating The Career You Crave. Follow her on Twitter or check out her blog for her insights on what it means to be a mom, wife, student, writer, and about three other labels she’s too tired to remember.

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