Friday, January 20, 2012

Hair Hair Hair: Part I

Black hair.

A topic of much debate and opinion.  

When does a mom's obsession with keeping her daughter's hair in tact become detrimental to the kid's childhood?  

What I mean is, Miss E loves to play dress up.  She puts three headbands on, or a conductor hat, or a tie (like her daddy wears to work).   She's always messing up her hair in the name of creative play.      Or if she's not messing it up, someone else is---be it an adult who casually fondles her locks or a little kid sitting next to her in dance class.     And any time and energy I have spent styling Miss E's hair is lost--just like that---in a nanosecond. 

I want my daughter to fit in with peers of her same race.    She'll already face some discrimination for having a white mom, but a white mom who can't care for her hair?     But what if it's not that I can't care for her hair, but that I choose to let her be free to be herself---even if that means she messes it up by wearing three headbands or does a few somersaults on the floor while playing with friends?  

What do you think?

One little girl in Miss E's preschool is biracial (AA/CA).  She has super short hair.  Her mom said that the little girl hates having her hair done, even combed, so the mom keeps it very short so it's manageable.   I admire this mom's decision.  

A recent article on one of my favorite websites, My Brown Baby, talks about how some black women would rather protect their hair than their health.    This is a topic that is very important to me.  Being a diabetic, I understand how crucial exercise is to the health of all people, brown ladies included.

Talk to me, readers.   What do you think?


There will be more hair posts coming this February!  


  1. I've had the same thoughts -- witch hats and rolling on the carpet are not always "good" for a head full of cornrows. The issue isn't only related to creative play, but also to swimming, winter play (which requires warm hats for us) and the dreaded sandbox! At the end of the day, I opt to allow freedom and fun to win out. My daughter and I love hair time and I work hard to make sure her hair is well-kept. But that doesn't trump activity and fun!


  2. I'm looking forward to your hair posts! I am pregnant with my first child who will be biracial, and I get asked often how I'm going to handle the hair "situation." My husband has the tightest, kinkiest hair I've ever seen (beautiful, but hard to manage). It's a priority for me that my child be active, so I hope to opt for well-kept and practical over high fashion. And I'm not comfortable at all with using relaxers on a child. But, we'll see!

  3. We are learning to embrace the fuzz at our house. I would love my daughters hair to be perfect all the time but I am realistic too and want her to have fun. I know that as she gets older it will get better. As long as it isn't damaging her hair I sigh and encourage her freedom.

  4. My daughter is 1 year old and has very thick, long, tightly coiled hair. It is totally awesome and takes a lot of dedication to manage. We also live in a predominatly AA community so I take a lot of pride in the compliments we receive, but now that we are entering the toddler phase I've had to adjust my expectations. I set time limits in hairstyles and learn to live with the messes and the frizzies. I am also embracing simple styles with staying power like poofs and zulu knots. Lastly I am learning to stand up for the afro! I had to realize that free-hair is not unstyled or uncared for.

  5. Hello! I'm an African American mom with twin boys, but I grew up watching my mom do 4 sets of black hair every morning. Very hard! I can't even imagine doing hair in the morning besides mine. I have twin boys who are 3. Although I long to have a girl one day!

    Hmmmm.. I found your blog via another blog friend from the blog "Our Little Hope". Some of what you say is true, very true. It's hard to keep little black girls hair to stay neat all the time. It sucked actually when I was small. I would say to others, "Don't touch my hair" LOL! growing up. Okay, so I would say, use gel, lots of hair lotions and braid her hair alot. That helps. You can also take her to a black hair dresser and ask her what she suggests. What do you black girlfriends say?

  6. Mea's hair is typically up in some sort of pony/braid at most all times. Partially just to keep it from getting to tangled, and partially just for ease.

    I really struggled with letting her ever leave the house without her hair done, but have recently started letting her go a little bit longer between hairsyling sessions. I have come up with a few styles that are easily maintained, and can be repaired quickly if she messes it up with hats, headbands, or other dress ups.

  7. I recently found a blog written by another adoptive mom - It's all about the whys, hows, etc. of taking care of our lil' ones hair. I have learned SO much since I found the blog! I feel much more confident about taking care of my DD's hair. I'd highly recommend checking it out!

  8. Styles such as braids and puffs are great for African American girls. It's manageable and mostly protects their hair in various environments while allowing it to grow. Their too young for gel so the "frizzy" is inevitable and completely normal. I really DO NOT like the idea of cutting a child's hair because of one's failure to understand their hair texture. I've seen this before and as black women, I found it to be very disapointing and hurtful. However, I've also seen adoptive parents that have taken time to educate themselves on growing black hair and how to style it. I admire that you've taken the time to learn your girls hair texture and the methods of growing their hair to long, thick, curly, beautiful lengths. You have a wonderful and positive website! :) and congrats on being in Essence Magazine.. great article! :)


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