I recently changed my hair. For years, I wore it in a super short pixie cut that was easy and convenient for my runner girl lifestyle. My husband loved it and it was easy, so it remained my signature style for roughly 15 years. Sure I would grow it out from time to time, but eventually I would get tired of the upkeep and go back to my simple short look. It was cute, fast and made me feel carefree. So what the hell was I thinking by letting it grow out to shoulder length this past year? Oh yeah, I turned 40 and decided it was time for a makeover. By simply allowing my hair to grow out to a longer length, I had to double everything related to it: my hair care budget, my number of products, my blow drying time and my morning prep time. UGH! I want to go back to bed just thinking about it.
So was it worth it? Sure, because my guys seem to like this look. My husband would go along with whatever 'do I choose, but it is the opinion of my boys that really gets my attention. My hair has a very thick wavy/curly hybrid and coarse texture to it. Although I occasionally wear it in it's naturally wild state, I also started straightening it most days and it's a lot of work. After washing my hair, it takes about one hour, start to finish, to completely beat my bushy wavy hair into submission. So imagine my disappointment when my baby boy walks in on me during one of my marathon hair straightening sessions and says "you look better with it curly". Huh? Did he just say that? Doesn't he realize that I do all this work in an attempt to look good? So much for that.
I instantly felt defeated. He waltzed his little 8-year-old self into my bathroom and made me feel like a chump with one simple statement. How does he do that? Why does his innocent declaration feel so monumental to me? He was not being mean or disrespectful. He just stated his opinion in a nonchalant, matter-of-fact way and walked out. My kids and I have both reached an interesting point in our development. I have finally come to a point in my life where B.S. is no longer tolerated and toxic people are quickly shown the door. I feel stronger because I don't spend valuable energy trying to get people who don't matter to like me. Although all the chinks in my armor are not completely gone yet, I finally feel good in my own skin. However, the little people who do matter most to me can walk into my bathroom on any random day and say they don't like my hair and I want to crumble. I don't consider myself to be especially vain, but his brutal honesty about my disheveled appearance has caused me to check myself in the mirror a time or two.
Why do I let his opinion rule me so much? Probably because I do want him to think highly of me. I do want him to feel okay standing next to me. When I show up to his school to meet his teacher and see his friends, I want to represent him well. I want him to look up to me with pride. But isn't that backwards? As the parent, shouldn't my opinion be law? Shouldn't he be on a mission to impress me? My two boys are very different. My oldest son, who is the miniature spitting image of my husband, gets all his personality traits from me. We like many of the same things (like running!) and miraculously he still chooses to hang around me without anyone having to offer bribes. He's a great kid who looks at me like I am Superwoman that gets everything right, but I get the feeling he tells me what I want to hear sometimes. My suspicion is that he will be the son to look after me when I am really old and unable to chew my own food. I know my glory time with him is limited because he will be too cool to hang with his old mom in about one year. My youngest son, however, just calls it like he sees it. He's not worried about protecting my feelings and self esteem. He just puts his opinion out there, regardless of the fall out. Not much bothers him either. Yeah he is still light years away from adulthood, but I do believe he will continue to have these personality traits later in life. He is like a little Teflon Don that couldn't care less that his socks don't match most days.
Maybe that is why I value his opinion so much. It's because these are the exact qualities that I want to have one day. I want my guys to like my cooking. I want them to miss me when I'm not around. I want them to brag on me behind my back. In order to achieve my own superhero status, I would have to let the minor failures bounce off me and move on without a care. When people ask for my opinion, I would give them the honesty they deserve instead of the politeness I try to manufacture. Crap, I can hear how ridiculous that sounds: When I mature, I want to be more like my 8-year old. Well, maybe not exactly like him. I still have better hygiene than him and slightly more money. Nevertheless, I admire him and look forward to the day when I can have the same nonchalant attitude about petty issues that don't matter in the larger scheme of my earthly existence. This chic is a long way off from achieving that kind of feat, but my hope is that I will feel content enough with myself in another 20 years or so to finally reach that superwoman status. That means there will be a lot of screw ups and mistakes made in the meantime, but hopefully no one will be paying attention just yet.