5/5/2011: This is a repost from 2 years ago, I’m bumping it!
I was thinking of something meaningful to write for a Mother’s Day post besides the generic “Happy Mother’s Day”.
So, I decided to think about mothers and hair. In what ways can I connect the two?
For African Americans girls especially, the process of grooming the hair usually heavily involves the mother. I am not saying that other races do not have some sort of bonding process when doing hair care, but most do not require the time and meticulous handling of kinky hair.
Whether it consists of greasing the scalp before the little one goes to bed, plaiting the hair up with barrettes on the ends in the morning before school, sitting at the kitchen table for hours dodging one’s ears away from the hotcomb, and yes, even taking one to the salon for one’s very first relaxer…mom is usually the one in charge of all this.
She makes the decisions and performs the tasks that shape the way we ultimately feel about our hair and what we consider to be beautiful.
Although we might look down on some of the practices that our mothers and foremothers swore by when we were little, the fact that they took so much time to nurture and groom us, and by proxy, our confidence in ourselves, the fact that this was time spent together on a regular basis…Well, I’m sure it sticks out in a lot of our minds.
Even now I’m sure some of you are verbally and mentally struggling with your mothers, who won’t understand why you’re “trying to do that to your hair” or think that you “would so nice with straight hair”. And though these words and statements may frustrate us and drive us to near madness in their repetitiveness, they are meant with good intentions and from the heart. (Though please avoid the creamy crack!)
I sometimes see a lot of resentment from newly naturals against their mothers’ decision to relax them at an early age. Really, I think we are too hard on them sometimes. I doubt there was ever any malicious or lazy intent in any mother’s mind when choosing to relax their daughter’s hair. Do I think it’s wrong to relax a child’s hair? Yes I do. Am I mad at my mother for relaxing my hair? No I’m not.
For one thing, what good would it do me? I was a child, I actually remembering wanting a relaxer, and it was considered the best thing do at the time. I am sure that I do things now for my son that will be proven harmful/wrong/undesirable many years from now.
Now that I’ve learned some important information, I have gathered the courage to stop relaxing and form my own ideas of what is beautiful. I am my own woman. Even still, dealing with my natural texture and fighting to figure out what works and what doesn’t offers me a new appreciation for the care and time my mother put into my hair.
That’s it. Happy Mother’s Day ya’ll.
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