When I was 8 months pregnant with my second child, nine years ago, I did what people always tell you NOT to do. I cut my hair on a whim. Short. And it was bad.
It was bad because I had long hair for basically my entire life and was really used to it, and it was also bad because I chose a time when my face was just a tad puffy (okay really REALLY puffy and a whole lot rounder than usual) and it was also bad because I cut my hair because I thought I should cut my hair even though I didn't really want to cut my hair. Because I was a mom now, and I should have "mom hair".
So what did "mom hair" mean? I'm still not totally sure, but I was sure at the time that somehow having long hair wasn't "mom like". In my head I had all of these ideas of what a mom should look like. What she should and shouldn't wear. What she should drive, and do, and act like. And since I was a mom now, I had to get in line.
I remembered seeing photos of my own mother when she was younger with long beautiful shiny, almost black hair, super straight and sleek and gorgeous. Then there were her after kids pictures, where she had a short pixie cut (which, admittedly, was still gorgeous on her because she has awesome cheekbones and it's a look I can't pull off) and I asked her, why did she cut her hair? And she told me that her mother had told her that "it was time", now that she had kids she should cut her long hair off.
I guess the idea that long hair was somehow not fit for mothers got stuck into my head, that people would say they cut their hair off because the baby pulled on it, or that they "didn't have time to do it anymore". I had actual friends who would tell me now that I was a mom in my late thirties I shouldn't have long hair anymore.
Looking back on it, I think that maybe by trying to look more "like a mom", I would feel more like a mom, or rather, feel more confidence as a mom, because at that time in my life, at that time as a mother, I was scared. Scared of having a newborn and a toddler, not knowing what that would feel like, scared I wasn't going to do a good job, scared of not being able to give my first child the same amount of attention he was used to, and just all around scared of doing it all over again. But this mom hair cut would be my armor, my official Mom Uniform. Even if I was scared I was doing a crappy job on the inside, I would at least look the part on the outside.
And yet, as I walked down the street after leaving the salon, I cried. I cried big huge hormonal pregnant lady tears as I looked at my reflection in the store windows I walked past because I didn't recognize myself. Yes I had the "Mom Haircut" I thought I wanted, that I thought I should have, but I realized how stupid it was to buy into the idea that moms should look a certain way in order to be good moms.
We have long hair and short hair and bleached hair and colored hair. We wear tight pants and loose pants and leggings and skirts. We wear high heels or no heels or flip flops or sneakers. We wear bikinis or one pieces or caftans or skip the suit altogether. We have tattoos or piercings or wear no makeup or gloss it up. Low cut, high cut, short cut, no cut. There's no one way to look the part. Because you can't tell love by how you look. The pulled together mom with her hair blown out and an Ann Taylor LOFT outfit and arm full of Alex and Ani bracelets still has her crappy mom days. The tatted up mom with the turquoise ponytail down her back still has her crappy mom days.
The thing is, no matter what style, I do have mom hair. Because I'm a mom of five children and I have hair. Long or short, it's mom hair on me. And on you. And it's beautiful, however you wear it.