My daughter couldn’t contain herself today. At the last minute, we found a way to squeeze in a haircut for her. Why was she so gleeful? Well, I have to admit she hasn’t gotten her hair cut since LAST YEAR!
But it was more than that.
She was excited to get her haircut last year too, but it was for a different reason. Last year she pretty much wanted to reduce the painful combing sessions that she had to endure thanks to her long, curly hair.
This year she so looked forward to this moment because she wanted to look pretty, grown up, or cool, i.e., the typical desires most 7 year-old girls want to fulfill . She didn’t have to voice this. It was clear.
I have looked forward to these types of moments since her birth. I’m not so much referring to her getting a haircut, but to those girly experiences during which we can bond over. I too was excited for her to get a more mature haircut.
And, yet, I felt uncomfortable … no, more like conflicted. While I’ve lightly bemoaned my daughter’s tomboyishness, I’ve also secretly felt some relief that she’s not jumping into the realm of beauty so fast.
Serendipitously, as Laila and I were reading Ramona And Her Mother a little later in the day, we landed on the chapter when Ramona and her sister, Beezus, get haircuts. Beezus ends up hating her new do’ and admits through her tears:”I j-just wanted to look nice…I know th-that what I do is more important than how I look, but I just wanted to look nice.” Her mother responds:” Of course you do…no matter what we say, we all want to look nice.”
Ramona’s mother reminded me of something. It’s in our nature to want to look beautiful. We live our whole lives in our bodies and we know that we were given them to cultivate and love, rather than to ignore. I know that as a mother, not only can I not avoid this topic, but it’s my duty to prepare her for it. My daughter needs to know that beauty should be empowering and affirming versus a way to get attention or cover for her insecurities.
We can’t avoid our daughters’ desire and compulsion to look pretty. Like Ramona’s mother, we need to embrace them and show our young ones that their beauty is wonderful.