How Learning To Do My Daughter’s Hair Helped Me Appreciate My Own

March 14, 2017  |  

As a kid, I hated Barbie dolls. I didn’t see the purpose in using plastic people (make that buxom plastic people) to create imaginary conversation, nor was I intrigued by all the hooplah over their varied ensembles and occupations. Cute, just not my thing.

Although I wasn’t that girl who desired a Barbie Dreamhouse, I did desire a certain kind of doll every Christmas. Dolls that had parents flocking to the nearest store in the late ’80s and early ’90s, like the Pretty Crimp ‘n Curl and Dolly Surprise. Such dolls had one thing in common: the focus was on the hair.

mother doing daughter's hair

As an only child, I enjoyed having friends over but was used to and liked being alone, so playing with one doll at a time made sense. I would sit contently by myself, coming up with new ways to style my doll’s hair. I’m not quite sure how my past obsession with the locks of dolls came about, but it would be a big help to me once I had daughters.

I’m natural and usually commit to the basics every week: wash, condition, oil and go. Sometimes I switch up the styles, but nothing too fancy as I usually don’t care to spend time figuring out how to perfect a new style. The less trouble, the better, right?

That’s probably why once I found out that I was pregnant with my eldest daughter, my first thought was “What am I going to do with all of that hair?” Needless to say, I had to get my mind right surrounding the amount of hair combing and weekly wash days that I would have in my future. And the “future” was sooner than I thought. I assumed that I would have a few years before I had to really do her hair (not just put a headband on her teeny, weeny ‘fro), but when she was about seven months old, hair sprouted fast. I found myself blow-drying her tresses!

Her hair journey started a lot earlier than expected and while I was fortunate that she had hair at all, I felt like I had to scramble to get my hairstyling game on point. During that time, I started to realize that I also needed to step my haircare levels up for my own strands.

From the time she was born, I put coconut oil on her hair and brushed it daily. Months later, I realized that the coconut oil wasn’t cutting it and I had to use actual styling products on her hair (products that I realized I could also use on my own hair) in order to manage and fashion it.

Since I keep my hair as low maintenance as possible, I initially found daily combing and styling her hair to be a chore. She got used to me washing it but loathed the detangling – as most girls do. This became even more involved after she turned one. I could tell that she might not understand the entire process or the reasoning behind it at such a young age, and therefore, wouldn’t be happy to sit through it. Still, she has tried to be a team sport for as long as she can.

It only took me a few weeks to really appreciate the time that it took to tackle her hair. Actually taking the time to comb through it daily has made washday go by faster – it’s been a win-win for everyone.

While doing her hair, I found myself more relaxed. I realized that I’m only focused on one task at hand and that’s doing her hair. For some reason, it’s helped me become more patient. Not really patient in general, but at least, more patient with her, and surprisingly, more patient with my own hair.

I would like to think that I have always paid attention to and kept my hair healthy, but actively looking for hair products for my daughter has really taught me to have fun with products and even various hairstyles when I take on my hair.

I no longer rush through styling her hair or mine and have a better appreciation for our curls in general. I look forward to doing her hair each day, even though it takes only 10 minutes. I’m intrigued by what these hands can come up with.

When I was pregnant for the second time and found out that I was expecting another girl, I embraced the idea that I would get to go on this hair journey with her, a far cry from how I felt the first time. I look forward to teaching both of my daughters how to take care of and appreciate their hair. I want them to greet their hair, daily, with pride, as opposed to looking at their crown as a burden.

I sure don’t, and I thank my daughter for it.

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