When you become a parent/caregiver, you change a lot of external things about yourself. You might buy a minivan. You might move to the suburbs. You probably get way more excited about new Cat & Jack fashions from Target. And for a lot of women, we trade in our lovely long hair for something much more practical, easier to take care of, and requires fewer cuts. Basically we get the mom cut.
When you think of the mom cut, a lot of people immediately recall Kate Gosselin’s weird spiky/long/streaked cut from the 2000s. Her hair was like the Cheesecake Factory of styles: it had everything you could ever want, but nothing was particularly good about it. The mom cut gets a bad rap because of Kate Gosselin. But the mom cut is neither good nor bad. It is simply a reflection of how we feel about ourselves while parenting. At least it was for me.
I’ve had one variation or another of the mom cut over the past 3 years and looking back, it sort of symbolized my parenting journey. The first cut happened when my son turned about a month old. I was growing antsy and felt cooped up nearly 4 weeks of being in the house with him non-stop during a cold winter. It was a hard transition from being commitment free to being someone’s constant caregiver. I felt tired, defeated, disconnected from my soul, and just worn out. My hair looked how I felt. So I decided to take my first trip to the grocery store, and I also stopped to get a haircut.
“Don’t give me a mom cut,” I told the stylist. She politely smiled but said “OK. What IS the mom cut? I just give haircuts whether people have kids or not.” Oh, that’s deep wisdom right there. She gave me a nice layered bob with some swoopy bangs. It was short, easy to manage, and made me feel refreshed despite my newborn-baby-bag eyes.
I kept that for about a year and a half and trimmed it here and there. The more I styled it and tried new things, the more I realized that my mom cut was actually pretty awesome. I felt more free than I had in years to try new things with my hair. But as my son grew, he did the thing that babies do: he would grab my hair a lot and try to put it in his mouth. It seemed like my mom cut needed to get even mommier.
My next move was to go super short. Nearly full pixie. I became obsessed with finding cute mom cut pixies. My Google search brought my to a lot of Michelle Williams, Sharon Stone, and Kris Kardashian. Sometimes there would be a Halle Berry, but Halle is just in a league by herself, so it’s usually Michelle and Sharon. I walked into Beauty Brands one day and said “go super short! I’m ready.” The eager stylist said OK, and she chopped, chopped, and chopped. The end result was drastic, but I felt so cool. I felt “edgy.” Have you ever actually felt “edgy?” My son was not even two at the time, and he kept staring at me because it was such a big change to my face. It was my sassy version of the mom cut.
As the sassy version grew, I realized I was not very good at keeping up with it. Much like real life, I could pull off sass for a short time but could not maintain it. My hair, much like my spirit, had turned back into a basic mom cut: tired, non-maintained, and I wasn’t paying attention to it. It was time for some mom cut maintenance.
Instead of a big splash, I decided to keep things more manageable with a basic mom cut: short, longish swoopy bangs and no color. I told myself if I could commit to styling my mom cut at least three times a week for the next three months, I could then invest in something more stylish.
So far it hasn’t gone how I hoped, but I’m pretty happy with my mom cut overall. My son has stopped pulling my hair, it’s super easy to dry, and when I’m in a store it’s fun to throw back my shoulders, walk up to the counter and say, in my best mom voice, “Can I please speak to your manager?”
Here’s to finding the right mom cut that works for your momming.