We all know the famous new-Mom hair cut. Yep. That’s me with my oldest at her third birthday party. When she was born, I got myself a short, low-maintenance pixie cut that allowed me to reduce my preening time and increase my diaper changing time. I even went one step further than a simple cut and sacrificed my blonde locks for my natural brunette base, thus saving time and money in a colorist’s chair.
There are other forms of “Mom Hair.” Consider the perma-pony tail, a look that keeps tiny hands from pulling mommy’s hair and keeps Mommy’s hands away from a blow dryer. Then there’s the all-telling baseball cap with the “MacDonald’s Employee” pony tail sticking out the back. We all know that signals a long night with a screaming teether.
But there is more than convenience and efficiency in our Mom hair doos. Hair is our most obvious signal to the world of our internal state of mind. Hair can be linked to our moods and even our sexuality. When I look back at pictures of me in my short, dark crop, I shudder with memories of postpartum depression that went undiagnosed. After baby number two, with a little help from Zoloft, I stayed with long, blonde hair. Coincidence? I think not.
Hair is linked to a woman’s sexual attractiveness, and lack of attention to hair can also signal that sexual energy is being temporarily diverted to put the baby’s needs first. The onset of motherhood can bring a shift in identity as women move from being Barbie Dolls to Betty Crockers, all on the way to becoming a fully empowered woman. (Women without children encounter a similar phenomenon as they age and sexual attractiveness becomes less important than their ability to be creative, productive, and to nurture the world.)
It’s perfectly natural for women to care less about their looks while they do the rigorous work of caring for an infant. I am less concerned about a new Mom with her hair in a frayed knot, than the “Hot Mom” who’s wearing her baby as an accessory and ignoring the fact that the babe’s sunhat has been covering her eyes for twenty minutes. Putting baby first is nature’s way.
“Mom Hair” could signal depression if it also includes a lack of hygiene and a lack of desire to primp, ever, even one-in-a-while for the man of the house. So, look closely in the mirror today. What is your hair is saying about you?