I was planning on getting my haircut this weekend, but I’m starting to think it’s just not worth it. Getting a haircut requires making an appointment and, because my husband often works weekends, it also means means finding a babysitter. And that always leads to a chicken-and-egg type dilemma: Do I make the appointment first and hope I can find a babysitter for the specific time and day of the appointment, or do I first find out when the babysitter can make it, and then try to schedule the appointment for that specific day and time period?
When you’re a mom, things you used to take for granted as a single person–like the ability to go for a haircut whenever you wanted–become fraught with endless complications. You can’t just leave the house and savor the two or three hours you will finally have to sit, all alone, and read trashy tabloids while someone tries to transform the rat’s nest on your head into something approximating this. You have to arrange for a babysitter, devise extensive flow charts, and map out detailed schedules on which child should be doing what at what precise minute.
And on the off chance the babysitter can make it, or your husband is free to watch the kids, and you do get your hair done and it looks really great, what happens next? Four days later–after you’ve held out as long as possible on washing it because the stylist made it look so fabulous–it’s back in the ponytail. Because, really, who has the time or the energy to make one’s hair look great when there are breakfasts to be made, lunches to be packed, teeth to be brushed, diapers to be changed, meltdowns to be defused, etc.? (It’s exhausting just to think about.)
That’s probably why I, and just about every mom I know, has a ponytail. Maybe that look is not the most fashionable (especially when you’re still relying on that embarrassing 1980s standby, the scrunchy), but it sure makes life a heck of a lot easier. When I was pregnant with my first child, I got hooked on the TV show, “What Not to Wear.” The women who were selected by the show for wardrobe makeovers often fit a profile: tired, busy moms who, caught up in attending to their children’s needs, had neglected their own–even if those “needs” classified as a decent pair of pants and a haircut. At the time, I thought to myself, “that will never be me.” How naive I was!
Now, I’m not only lucky if I can get my hair cut and styled every six months or so, but I’m lucky if I even get to wash it once a month (okay, so I’m exaggerating a bit here, but not much). And I wonder when I’ll ever get a chance to go to the mall, so I can buy something to wear other than the same pair of jeans I wear almost every day. Or when I’ll be able to read the New York Times cover to cover again, curl up uninterrupted with a good book, or finally watch all those movies on my Netflix list.
Sometimes, I think it will never happen. Sometimes I think I’ll forever be a scrunchy- and milk-stained-jeans-wearing basket case, desperately longing for a moment of sanity. But I know that someday things will settle down, maybe in ten or twelve years when my kids are more self-sufficient and would rather be with their friends than with me. And then I’ll be longing for those moments when it was all cuteness and smiles and hugs (and a few temper tantrums, too, of course).
I’ll happily stick with the ponytail for a few more years.