Saturday, July 24, 2010

Vanity, Thy Name is Glam-O-Mommy

A major part of my feeling of self-worth lives and dies by the state of my hair.

If my hair looks good, there's almost nothing that can ruin my day. If my hair looks bad, well, the day is only going to go downhill from there.

Lately, I've been having LOTS of bad hair days. This is partially because about seven months ago I let my stylist of 17 years convince me to change the way he does my highlights. For about five years or so, I've sported chunky double blonde highlights set off with double lowlights. This makes me look very blonde, which makes me very happy. (I was born a blonde, so I'm always trying to return my hair to its natural state LOL.) He really thought I should go back to thin blonde highlights and few lowlights, with more of my regular (I refuse to call the dirty dishwater color that grows in my natural color) color coming through.

When I decided to try it his way, I instantly regretted it. Not only did I look less blonde, my roots became visible much more quickly than normal. For seven months, I've been trying to get him to switch my highlights back to the chunky double highlight/double lowlight look I love...the look that feels like me.

Then, July happened. Let's take stock of my July, shall we? Hurricane Alex hit the first week, which meant I worked extra long days at work and missed out on time with my kid, which makes me unhappy. By the time that was over, I had a horrible cold, which dragged on through the next week and caused me to miss some work. Then, just as I was getting over that, my husband had emergency surgery and was in the hospital for three days, and then was still down for the count recovering all this last week. This meant that I again missed work, putting me behind on a big project, plus I was extra stressed taking care of both my dear husband and my daughter without his help, PLUS I missed my normal highlight appointment, meaning my already scraggly, rootsy hair had to stay that way for an extra week.

So, I've felt kind of like Crap Walking all month, but especially the last two weeks. And when my parents offered to keep my daughter yesterday (hubby's not allowed to lift her for FOUR MORE WEEKS-GAH), so I could go get my hair and nails done and do a little personal pampering, I jumped at the chance! When I called my stylist to make my hair appointment, I was all, "Look, dude...I am not letting you talk me out of this again...I WANT my chunky double highlights and lowlights back! I want my MOJO back!"

Two points here:
  • I said "dude" to my stylist because he is a 6"4" straight guy (strange for a stylist, I know) who has curly 80s rocker hair all the way down to his waist. I'm not even exaggerating this description. He once got mad at me when I told him I had DREAMED he had cut his hair short like Sammy Hagar did when he was in Van Halen. Last night, he was going to see the Scorpions in concert here in San Antonio. Because I've been going to him for 17 years, I can call him dude and be completely honest with him about what I want. I realized yesterday he is one of the few people I can talk to this honestly LOL, and it's very refreshing. :)
  • The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines "mojo" as (1) a magic spell, hex, or charm or (2) magical power. I truly believe my hair is the font of all my mojo and has magical powers. But only when the highlights are RIGHT!
So yesterday was a fabulous day for me. I got a mani/pedi for the first time in at least a month. My stylist willingly obliged me and did my highlights the way I like them, which has made me SO happy. (In his appointment book, next to my name, he had written, "Wants mojo back!" LOL) Then, I got a massage and a facial and capped off the day with dinner with all of the people I love: my sweet parents, my dear husband, and my darling daughter.

Am I vain? YES. But I was thinking about it this morning and I realized I'm a lot LESS VAIN than I used to be.

As a mom, there are lots of situations you find yourself in where you just can't take the time to care about your personal appearance or how you look to other people.

This morning, for example, I took my daughter to a different pool because our swim class was cancelled. I would've preferred to carry my daughter about in the water and practice some of our swim class activities, like back floating, kicking, going underwater briefly, etc. This could all be done in the four- to -five-feet deep section of the pool, so that my poochy mom belly and flabby thighs would be nicely covered up by the water as they are in swim class. My daughter preferred to sit in the shallow two inches of water at the entry end and splash, which meant that is exactly where I sat with her, poochy belly and flabby thighs out above the water for the world to see. :) She was happy as a clam, and I was happy she was happy. This is a far cry from the pre-baby me that only ventured in a pool to cool off, never got my hair or face wet, and inclined on a lounge chair with one leg cocked up at a precise angle to make my belly look as flat as possible LOL.

(OK, technically, I am working out twice a week to try and tighten the belly and thighs up before our Jamaica trip; however, realistically I know that I will spend very little time in Jamaica lounging on a chair under a palm tree like I did on my last visit and most of my time carrying her or chasing after her and looking crazily disheveled and wet like I did at the pool today. A girl can dream though.)

Other situations I've faced as a mom where all vanity and caring-what-other-people-think-of-me went out the window:
  • Infertility treatment. Everyone and their brother got a look at my hoo-ha during this time--the first part of my journey as a  mother.
  • Giving birth. Everyone and their brother got a look at my hoo-ha, I threw up twice in front of a room full of people, and continually felt stuff other people could see gushing from me for several hours. BUT I got the epidural, which made all of that go out the window and was A-MAZ-ING, and my beautiful daughter came out healthy and loudly a mere eight hours after the whole thing began. AWESOME.
  • Explosive diapers. My daughter has gifted me with several of these, most memorably as we descended into the San Antonio International Airport. You know, on the descent. Where you cannot leave your seat. Where my husband and I belatedly wrapped my daughter and her RIVER of poop in her changing pad and I ran off the plane (not really, even the threat of poop doesn't stop the idiots in front of you from taking forever to get their damn suitcases out of the overhead bins) to the bemused stares of the surrounding passengers and had to inform the flight attendants to check seat 24B for poop on the way out. Where I then had to strip my daughter completely naked, wipe all the poop off of her and myself and change her into another outfit to the bemused stares of the surrounding female passengers, who had all come to the bathroom directly off of our flight and seemed to be enjoying my Poopapalooza.
  • Vomit. The first time my daughter ever threw up, I tried to catch it in my hands to save the couch. Take it from me...that doesn't work. It leaves you with a couch still covered in vomit and HANDS covered in vomit...hands that need to pick up your baby who is freaked out and covered in vomit. Luckily, this was at home. I've also worn another kid's vomit on my pants back to work after feeding my daughter her bottle at school. Word of advice: identify the stealth vomiters in your baby's day school class early and do not sit near them while feeding your own baby. It's bad enough to wear your own kid's vomit...worse to wear some other kid's!
  • Insane crying, part I. This has really only happened to me twice in public. Once was at my daughter's first swim class, where she cried hysterically from the beginning to the end of the lesson, all the while clinging to my neck and face and HAIR and almost exposing my boobs to the assembled parents watching their older children's lessons. I just kept going and tried to keep my boobs covered and my hair out of my eyes and now she loves swimming.
  • Insane crying, part II. The other time was worse. My daughter really is generally a good traveler, explosive poopy diaper aside (that was the airlines' fault, we had experienced several flight delays, but the kind where you are on the jetway and they won't let you get up from your seat and people don't like it if you change a diaper right on the seat, so you try to wait the situation out, thinking, "We'll be there soon."). Counting each leg of a trip as its own flight, she has been on 14 flights in under two years. The explosive diaper was one bad experience. The only other, insane crying one, I also blame partially on the airlines. She and I had already had a flight delay, so we were taking off on our last flight of the day into San Antonio later at night than I'd expected. My daughter was overtired from being out of town, meeting new relatives, being spoiled by my parents who were at our destination, and napping erratically despite my best efforts to keep her on a schedule. As the plane took off and the lights were turned out for our 40-minute flight, she fell asleep, which was awesome...for 25 minutes. Then, the flight attendants abruptly turned on the lights and made an announcement, which jolted my daughter into having a night terror. This is a bout of insane crying where the baby isn't actually awake or consolable. They last 10-15 minutes and there is really nothing you can do to calm the baby down. She had had a few of these night terror episodes at home before, usually when she skipped a nap and was overtired, so I recognized that was what was happening right away. I knew nothing would console her, she just had to get through it, but I tried everything to do so anyway, all the while with her screaming, trying to climb out of her seat and up my body, and clawing at my hair. Yes, I was that parent unable to calm down their child on a plane. Yes, I got RUDE comments from people in the surrounding rows, although I got several supportive comments from parents who had been there themselves. I got a little more sympathy when a flight attendant asked me my daughter's age and I told her she was 18 months old. Because my 18-month-old was as big and TALL as many three-year-olds, so most people just thought she was being a Terrible Toddler. "She's just a baby then!" the flight attendant exclaimed, which shut some of the people up. Yes, she is indeed a baby, I said. And she's having a night terror episode because she was overtired, our flight was delayed till late, and the lights and announcement jarred her from a sound SLEEP! The capper to this episode was discovering as I finally deplaned with my finally calm baby that I had gritted my teeth so hard trying to calm her down that I had CHIPPED the top of one of my lower teeth. We met my husband at baggage claim and I promptly burst into tears. Not glam.
So there you have it. I am admittedly vain, but becoming less so all the time. I mean, I did live without nails and accepting bad hair days way beyond my pre-baby tolerance for that type of thing (ZERO TOLERANCE). This is just one of the ways my daughter is making me a better person. I'm growing. I have less time for vanity and more acceptance of imperfection. I've also become amazingly more patient, but that's a subject for another post. :)

This is what my daughter has looked like on 12 out of 14 flights.

 This is how we normally look when we travel--poop and night terrors aside.


  1. I generally try to trust my hair stylist's advice. That said, there's nothing quite like a woman's intuition - especially when it comes to her own body. You're the person who has to wake up and wear your hair every day. Best you own it and love it! Glad you're more comfortable with your locks!

  2. Nilsa, every single person I've come in contact with at work today has complimented me on my hair LOL, so I consider that vindication. Sometimes you just know what works for you. I did call my stylist today to tell him I was getting lots of compliments and to thank him again for letting me go back to my favorite style! He took it very well...after 17 years he knows we're good. He once accidentally made me a redhead after I requested to try a more "strawberry blonde" color. I wanted the emphasis on the blonde; he put the emphasis on the strawberry. I looked like Gillian Anderson from the X-Files, which looks great on her, not so much on me with my coloring. He fixed it two days later and I still kept coming back, so we've got a lot of trust between us! As a soon-to-be mom, I hope you weren't too horrified by the vomit, poop, and crying sections of the post. :)