I have good friends who are moms to daughters. Like Mama Tutu & Wema, Mama Renee, Mama Tasha & Jessie, Mama Michelle, Amanda & Neema, Mama Faith & Hope, Mama Tash, Mama Kwavi, Zainabu & Nyambura, Mama Shani, Mama Charlotte & Alexia, Mama Natalie…
What do these friends of mine have in common? That I have all heard them talk (repeatedly) about their little girls’ hairs.
This post was inspired by Mama Ella who writes her blog the green calabash when she tweeted this: “So mother’s of boys –with a quick brush of hair you’re out of the house, huh? Must be nice.”
When I saw her tweet, I smiled. I smiled because she was quite right. Very on-point. Kitty’s hair is just a few hairs, so I don’t even bother combing it. Once I dress him, we’re out of the house in a flash.
But I guess not so for moms with baby girls.
I always hear my friends wonder what to do with their girls’ hair –what hairstyle to put and all. Our African hair is absolutely beautiful, but admittedly sometimes quite stressful to manage. Especially when you’ve just unbraided it and it tangles and you have to wash it. Combing it is the equivalent of pulling out a tooth!
Now imagine washing, untangling and combing your little girls’ hair and you’ll be lucky if both of you are not in tears at the end of it all. Mama Renee tells me that many are the time she gets so stressed about her daughter’s hair that she just wants to sleep and wake up when it’s all grown, smooth and silky. Many are the times she’s been tempted to cut it altogether. Many are the times she holds her chin in her hands shaking her head about it.
These are just some of the questions I’ve heard my friends with daughters ask:
1. Will I manage to untangle the hair and straighten it without the comb or blow-drier breaking?
2. Should I unbraid and wash her hair at home or should I just take her to the salon and let them do everything?
3. How much time will they take at the salon?
4. Will I find a good hairdresser who understands my girls’ hair and won’t cause her too much pain and handle her roughly?
5. Will my little girl cry if I leave her at the salon alone while I rush for some other errands? Will she be able to sit still? Will she cry? And if she cries, what will happen then? Will the salonists let her cry herself sore or will they comfort her? Should I leave her with some snacks?
6. Or should I work on her hair at night when she’s in a deep slumber?
7. Which color of braids is in fashion this time? Is it purple, pink, white or blue?
8. Should you put ribbons, beads, rubber bands or colorful headbands on her hair? Which are the ones that will cut her hair?
9. Or should I braid those cute school girl lines or matuta’s instead?
10. Or should I just perm the hair? Is she too young to have chemicals on her hair? Are there side effects? Will the chemicals cook her brain cells?
11. Or should I just put baby dreadlocks on her? Are they allowed at school? In church?
12. How much maintenance will be required for the hairstyle, and will I need to keep revisiting the salon or touching it up at home or will it last for a month?
13. Or do I just cut the hair altogether?
The questions are endless. Pretty much I guess the same story my mum had when my sister and I were little girls.
But you know what? I always look at little girls hairs and I feel jealous. Because they always look so pretty and adorable with their cute ribbons and colorful bands and jolly attitude as they walk with a spring in their step in their flowered little dresses. But I’m made to understand that getting them to look like that –there are lots of tears that have been shed in the process –both by the girl and the mom.