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It was 11:00 at night and instead of me being in the bed asleep I was up trying to braid my sleeping daughter’s hair for school the next day. My hands hurt, my back hurt and I  just couldn’t seem to get that braid to lay down right. I was at the point where I was willing to just say “forget it” and let my daughter go to school with half of her hair braided. I slammed down the comb and mumbled, “It’s time for you to start going to the hair salon once a week!”

All of a sudden I had a little more pep in my step as I hastily finished the last of the braids and quickly went to research salons that specialized in little girls’ hair. When I reached a certain age as a child, my mother became diligent in taking me to the salon so that my hair would be right. Just like me, she got tired of doing hair into the wee hours of the night so by the time I was seven, I had a standing beauty appointment.

The hair salon was like a new world to me. There were all of these strange smells and women who seemed to sleep at these machines to make their hair dry. The best part of the salon (minus the gossip between the little old ladies) was the Candy Lady who came and sold candy to all of the salon patrons young and old.

The next morning I began to research possible options, first trying the more economical option: asking people to come to my house and braid my daughters’ hair. My daughter is only 4-years-old and she’s natural, so I figured that I could possibly find someone good and cheap to braid her hair. Instead, I quickly became frustrated when I realized many refused to travel and to make matters worse, they charged just as much as the hair salon. There were some people who had good prices who wanted me to come to their house but after Googling where they lived, I figured the safest option would be for me to take her to an actual salon. After stalking a couple of friends of mine who had little girls, one referred me to a kids’ salon in my neighborhood that not only serviced small children but who specialized in everything for little girls. I was especially impressed that instead of calling the salon, I could make the appointment online!

I scheduled for a week out and before the appointment I decided it was time for me to have a conversation with my daughter about what to expect at the salon.  I went over all of the unwritten rules of the salon:

  • No crying.
  • Try not to ask for your stylist’s food. I promised her I would pack her a snack that was just for her.
  • I showed her what a dryer looks like and how she may have to sit under one for a little bit.
  • Don’t tell them about any of the embarrassing things that go on at our house such as: Mommy walks around in her bra and panties, your brother picks his nose or that sometimes Mommy doesn’t cook.

Needless to say, I think I made her more nervous than I was! After prepping her, a week later me and my daughter walked into the salon and almost immediately I knew I had made the right decision. The shop was clean and there were a ton of little girls my daughter’s age getting their hair done. The majority of the little girls had natural hair and I didn’t see any non age appropriate styles. Instead, I saw a lot of twist, braid and blow out styles. Knowing my daughter was nervous, I met her stylist and let my daughter explain how she wanted her hair. She settled on some flat twists in the front and individual twists in the back. Before I knew it, they had taken my daughter back to the game room and I was escorted to the reception area.

As I waited in the reception area, I noticed the look in other mom’s eyes when they found it was my daughter’s first time at the shop. They all nodded in sympathy when I told them about my frustrated mornings and evenings trying to make sure her hair was cute for the following day at school.  They all confessed that they had all did the same thing –tried to fix their daughter’s hair at home but due to either work or time restrictions realized they needed help. As I talked with the other parents, I felt better. While I could still do my daughter’s hair at home, it felt good that there was a place that was well-equipped to do it for me.

Two hours later, my daughter emerged with not only a fresh hairdo, but a wide smile. She felt like a big girl and I felt good because I just regained an hour of my day. When we got home I could see my husband was happy because now he didn’t have to panic on mornings I had to be at work early and he had to fix a style that was messed up during the night.

It takes a village to raise a child, and me letting go and allowing my daughter to go to the salon once a week took a lot of pressure off of me. No more waking up early (or going to bed late) to make sure my child’s hair was presentable at school.

Do you send your daughters to the hair salon or do you do their hair at home?

Franchesca Warren is the owner of an educational blog, The Educator’s Room. She lives in Atlanta, GA where she is a mother to three and wife to one wonderful husband. Please check out her book dealing with teacher burnout, Keep the Fire Burning: Avoiding Teacher Burnout.”

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