Thursday, 23 August 2012

A Horrifying Moment of Startling Clarity

[Technical note - Despite where I live and how I actually talk, I'm going to use 'Mom' instead of 'Mum' in this post because in context, I think it makes more sense. Sorry to everyone reading in the UK. Yeah, both of you]. 

So I was on the internet a few days ago (okay, okay, it was Pinterest) and I came across an article that promised easy alternatives to the "mom hair" messy bun. And of course, I thought "What? A messy bun is not "mom hair!" A messy bun is what young, stylish people wear because of their busy schedules!" I mean, seriously. I wear a messy bun all the time. All my friends wear messy buns. 

(You can see where this is going, right?)

It's just that I think of myself as being a mom more in a technical sense than any kind of fundamental sense. It's my parents and their friends who are the real mothers and fathers, surely?  Quite often, I find myself doing something parental (lately: picking up poop off the floor with my hands) and thinking:  Shouldn't there be someone older around to do this kind of thing? And when it comes to making dinner, I think: How is it that this is my job every night? Why are all these people relying on me? Who made me the grownup?  Can't I just go to my bedroom and read?

I still think the moms are not me. The moms are the generation above me. This means that I think Mom Hair looks permed and short and somehow simultaneously both wispy and helmet-like, like this: 

(Found here)
But. But but but. The woman in this photograph will be a grandmother now, I suspect - this was filed under 1980s hair, and the 1980s were thirty years ago. THIRTY.  Obviously, my own mother is a grandmother. And now it's me that's the mother, not just technically but in every other way too.  Most of my friends are mothers. We are the moms now.  Ergo, the hair that my friends and I all have is mom hair. IT IS MOM HAIR. 

I HAVE MOM HAIR. 

 I knew that  was a mom. I just didn't realise properly that I belong properly to a whole group of us with trends and characteristics that were 'mom' characteristics. I suddenly realise that my children's generation are going to refer derisively to 'mom hair' and they are going to mean my  hair and they are going to think the same thoughts about me and my fabulously chic messy bun as I think about the hair helmeted woman above. 

And just like that, I went up a generation in my head. Ouch. 

How about you? Are you a mom in your head? The weird thing is, I sort of felt more 'mom-like' before I had kids, in a disenfranchised kind of way - the wanting of children took up so much of who I was that I felt like it defined me. And it was weird how nobody else could see that - either by looking at me or at my life. Whereas now maybe the reverse is true. 

I thought about my most recent trip to get my hair cut.  I really don't like what was done to me - my hair looks just a bit too wash'n'wear, as if it's I'm saying to the world "Hey, I really don't want to bother too much  with how I look". And then I scrape it back into a messy bun. And now, apparently, I have mom hair. 

I thought it this haircut was some kind of terrible mistake, but on reflection, I've realised that the stylist did it on purpose. ON PURPOSE!  She was a talker (I hate that) and I had nothing to say so I kept wittering on about my children (I bet she hated that) and I guess she thought 'well, this woman is clearly defined by her children, so let's make sure that everyone knows she's a mom before she even opens her mouth her hair is easy to manage'. I sort of thought we were the same age, but now I think about it I guess she was about twenty. (I'm not twenty). I looked at her and saw a young person - you know, like me. I guess she just looked at me and saw a mom. 

And then she cut me some mom hair. 

Clearly the Mom Hair has to go. So I guess that means I'm off to learn how to do a sideways braided french twist using only a hairpin and a few pieces of fusilli pasta. Before I go, though: I'm obviously having an existential crisis here, and doubting everything I thought I knew. When people said 'Mom Jean's I always thought I knew what they were talking about. High waist, maybe a bit of stonewashing, maybe a bit of elastic. But people, people - 



 Does this mean that now, my jeans are Mom Jeans too? 




48 comments:

  1. Just whatever you do- don't cut bangs. Believe me.

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    1. I loved bangs on you, M. But the maintenance must be a killer. I grew out bangs once when I was fifteen and swore never again. Every time I get tempted I think of spending two years with two-length hair again and resist.

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  2. I think that photo makes me feel A-OK about my ever so attractive messy bun hair, which is important because today I heard some grade school child on the radio saying you didn't have to like be all old and stuff to like like oldies music. And then the evil little thing started listing my favorite bands. I'm sorry - The Beatles are oldies music, not The Cure. And then she said she listened to those oldies The Cure with her mom. So I'm just going to look at that picture some more and then go admire the lack of polyester elastic waist trousers in my wardrobe because surely tracksuit bottoms are NOT mom wear. They are what all the other hip, fun girls who wish to breathe while seated wear, right?

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    1. no, no, not my music! NOT MY MUSIC!!!!!

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  3. I think you sucked this post straight out of my head. All of it. Going up a generation. Looking for the responsible adult in my house. The jeans. The hair. I recently announced I had to get a "fear-based haircut" because of the image I was putting out there. Not being twenty-anything anymore. There's no escape.

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    1. when you get your fear based haircut, you WILL post pictures on your blog, right???

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  4. I had that same jean issue. I really thought button fly Levi's were so cool until about 5 years ago. Never mind that I had to find them at resale shops. Now I wear really snug fitting jeans that the chippies at Anthropologie tell me look right.

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  5. Reading this while wearing a messy ponytail/bun...I guess I'm one of them. My Gap jeans probably don't help either-at least from an article I read the other day.

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  6. Ha! You are in my head. The last two days I have spent on Pinterest looking for chic, non-mom styles of hair. I might have had success with the french braided side bangs yesterday. And then I might have pouted today when my toddler's horrid attitude and behaviour did not allow me to meet the standards I have in my head. Messy bun it was.

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  7. Wash and wear pixie cut here. And, I have Mom clothes - khaki capris (I live in a hot state!) and a polo...both right out of LL Bean. Sigh.

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  8. See I saw that on Pinterest and thought "do real Mums SERIOUSLY have time to do a messy bun? SERIOUSLY? I clearly need to step it up a notch" I go for the bohemian, earth mother look of long hair with maybe a head band or comb in it if I feel fancy. And breakfast cereal if I don't. I haven't been to a hairdresser in about thirteen years, but my oldest is only 8 so clearly it is because I am all crunchy and alternative and free thinking right? Not at all because I am cheep and don't put in an effort. Right?

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  9. Hee, hee! My current outfit is so pitiful I get bored just being in it. You have something there, dear Claudia. We are so "mom"! Blech. Will you write a post and just tell me what to do and wear so I can be cooler? YOU are the coolest.

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    1. "I get bored just being in it". Well put, E - oh BOY do I know that feeling. Hello, jeans. Hello, stripy shirt. Again.

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  10. Just when I thought I couldn't love you more you go and blog this.

    I pretty much wear exclusively dresses (moomoos) and long skirts because they feel like sweatpants without the elastic. Though my current hair kind of redeems me when I actually do it (average twice weekly) the other days it looks like I just don't give a shit (I really don't most days).

    All this to say if I were at a carnival and did the "Guess my age/weight" game they could accurately guess instead how many kids I have based on my particular over all style.

    Moms unite!

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    Replies
    1. your hair is way too cool to identify with the rest of us, surely? SURELY?

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  11. Love this post! I went back to work this month and at least half of my fellow teachers are under 25. They're all energetic and making plans to hit the bar after work. And as I declined their invites, I felt old.

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  12. This will tip you on your wig.
    My 14yo is a fashionista and she's scouring resales for... Get this... Mom Jeans!! Of the stonewashed high rise LEE variety. Ick. But that is the rage now. She also just ordered a pair from Urban Outfitters. They sell them, and apparently so does every other non mom store on the planet. And the jeans you posted. Mom Jeans.
    So mom jeans are cool and cool jeans are mom jeans.
    And you thought toddlerhood was tough?!?

    But if it makes you feel better, they're wholely unflattering. Even on a size 2 14yo.

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    1. yeah, that DOES make me feel better. I always thought those things gave a very, very weird frontal bulge. But maybe it's cool to have a high-zippered-tummy-bulge these days - WHO KNOWS???

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  13. I feel exactly the same way. I'm almost 40 but in my head I'm 25. Just a 25-year-old who gets tired easily.

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    1. yeah, one who wants to go to bed at 9.30.

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  14. YES!!! Rob and I were actually having this conversation the other day!!! In so many ways, the 80s don't seem like that long ago for me, but umm... it was like a whole other century. Seriously. We grew up in the 1900s. Our kids were born and are growing up in the 2000s.

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  15. In spring '09 I cut my waist-length hair to chin-length, and then about a year and a half later was in the position of needing to decide if I wanted to keep it short and get it cut again, or to let it grow back out. I dithered and wavered and it kept growing, and then we were expecting and that made the decision easy: I was NOT going to cut my hair because I was NOT going to have mom hair. I might cut it again someday, but not until it's clear that I'm not doing it because I have a kid.

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  16. Thanks, I had such a giggle at this post. At least you have an actual hairstyle...I just kind of ignore mine untill it starts snagging on things or giving me head aches from the sheer weight of it and then have it lopped off in any old way.

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    1. when you start hacking at it yourself with the nail scissors... I think it's time for an intervention.

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  17. OMG lol. This post made me laugh. Sigh... So true, so sad. :~/

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  18. I so hear you. A co-worker (who is 24) dyed a chunk of her hair bright pink and it looked really cute and pretty and appropriate. In that moment, I realized that if *I* had done that, it would have been entirely by accident. Ah, well. I still think messy buns are better than helmet head, though, and a million times easier.

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  19. Right after I read this, a younger girl (non-mom) that I work with came in my office. I asked her weekend plans, you know, so I could live vicariously through her. She said, "oh, my friend and I are going to see the All American Rejects," and brilliant me says, "Is that a movie?" Um no, apparently it's a band, she's going to a concert. WOW!! I think I'll just stick to cleaning out the garage this weekend!

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    1. and as *I* was reading this comment, I was thinking 'hey, I haven't heard of that movie!'

      I guess it's the garage for me, too. And I don't even have a garage.

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  20. Well, I must say I disagree with first commenter about bangs--I have bangs and I heart them. They hide a lot, ha.
    BUT, it is HOT here, and that means my long hair goes up into a messy bun every time I'm outside with the kids, and then once I cross the threshold of whatever doorway I rip it back down so my hair cascades down my back...er...probably just looks really messy and disheveled but whatever, it's my lame attempt at trying.
    The funny thing is, I had really SHORT hair for many many years and in so many ways it would be easier--easier to go running, to get ready in the morning, etc. etc. but I refuse to cut it because that feels like Mom hair to me--short and sassy and quick to fix. It's so confusing!

    PS I don't feel like the Mom either. I just feel like I play one in my life.

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  21. Well, I've had the same hairstyle (and I use that word very loosely) forever. It looks 100 times better these days because of the Brazilian blowwave :)

    And those mom jeans look gooooooood - if only my thighs were that thin :)

    I had a moment the other day driving to/ from work - "I'm 38. WAIT. Thats nearly 40! AAAAARGHHHHH" and I actually stil feel about 27/ 28.

    But wait, I read a blog about a 27-year-old girl who was saying how it's time to grow up and stop wearing teenage clothes. Well, yes, I wear those same clothes. I will send you the link :)

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  22. Replies
    1. you can only see it AFTER i've used my twirly hairdryer. Not when it's in a messy bun, ok?

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  23. I've noticed that all the young folks come to the bakery down the street in their pajama pants, which means that I am young! Right?

    Also, I am pretty sure that using the phrase "young folks" puts me up a few generations. I am now eighty-five.

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  24. I went from single to married and a mom to a 10 year old. I still don't know how I got here or who put me in charge of this little life...am I not still 18? 22? And mom jeans...those are the ones that are awkwardly short, too light in colour, high waisted and tapered at the ankle. There are no other mom jeans, certainly not the ones I wear! Right?!

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    1. woah... THAT'S a lot of changes in one go.

      And yeah. Those are REAL mom jeans. It's the ankle taper I personally hate the most. And that alone stops me feeling comfortable in any of the styles that are actually in fashion now. I just keep thinking 'where are the bootcuts????'

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  25. Hahaha, LOVE this. I always think of myself as the same age when I'm talking with people in their 20s, and I'm more than twice that now. My mind just hasn't caught up yet.

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  26. As I was walking home from getting my hair cut this afternoon (and hating it) I was thinking of a blog post I long to write with a working title of something like "How come all my friends irl are frumpy?" But, my friends irl (who by the way are amazing) occasionally read my blog. So it is a non-starter. And, I actually know the answer... they are also ALL mothers of pre-schoolers/kindergartners. On the inside they are HOT.

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    1. Oh yeah... that is a much better way to look at it. All our husbands still think we are foxes, right? RIGHT, HONEY?

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  27. You crack me up. Love your Anthro references in your post because I am also waaay into that store. I remember, though, 12-15 years ago thinking that store is for older women (I was on my way to Urban Outfitters next door). Now it makes me feel somewhat young and hip(ish). None of this would be an issue back in the day when we all wore togas or kimonos year in and out, right?

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  28. This is hilarious. I can SO identify! I just found out that I'm middle aged! Middle aged is a person who is 10 years older than me, not me. But I guess I've been middle aged for a few years now and it just never dawned on me. I wrote a post on it because I was so shocked by it. And I think the messy bun is hip.

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  29. Just found this as I sit with my messy bun

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  30. I don't buy that the messy bun is mom hair. My 19-year-old college students wear messy buns with their cute trendy outfits and stunningly high heels. If that's any consolation!

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  31. Last week I had lunch with three colleagues, roughly 5, 10, and 15 years younger than myself. They were discussing a "30x30 challenge" in which for 30 days, you wear only 30 clothing items, combined in different ways. I looked at them blankly and said, "I'd have to work up to that."

    Then they started discussing actors who could be cast as Julian Gray in the movie version of Shades of Gray. I've heard of the book, but hadn't heard of any of the actors they mentioned.

    Then I thought of this blog post. And of my mom, in her late 70s, telling me that she still felt like her 25 year old self inside.

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  32. YEs, these are the jeans of now. Look familiar?:

    http://www.net-a-porter.com/product/313543

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  33. YEs, these are the jeans of now. Look familiar?:

    http://www.net-a-porter.com/product/313543

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  34. I often do my hair in a side french braid that is then pulled back into a messy bun. Does that make me confused??? Love this blog post and can totally relate! I have two little ones and recently realized that I unfortunately do not look the same age as the girls on see on the college campus near our house.

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Over to you!