The Mom Cut Phenomenon

At a time when I bartended at a club, ate pizza regularly, was broken hearted over an actor, and shaved my legs often, I was informed of the “mom cut.”  It was a period of my life where freedom ruled and children were not even close to being on my radar.  During this time, I had beautiful long hair and a stylist named EJ.  A few years my senior, he warned me that all moms cut their hair.  He concluded that this happened because of the hair loss that occurs postpartum and the frustrating baby hairs that start to take over.  “I would never,” I would reassure him as I flipped my long locks from side to side and made model face in the mirror.  I was not going to be a mom that got a family car, gained any weight, stopped dressing cute, or cut their hair.  In 2009, I couldn’t even imagine.

Cut to now, 2016.  I am 31.  I have a Prius parked in the driveway.  I am wearing a milk-stained shirt, bigger pants and I have a new short hair cut.  The car and weight gain seem unavoidable but what happens to women psychologically that makes them feel the need to cut their hair?  

I have been pondering this decision ever since I cut nearly 12 inches of hair a few weeks ago.  At the time, it felt like a way to separate myself from my past and dispose of the old energy.  It was a physical demonstration to showcase my new identity.  Cutting my hair was a sort of spiritual purging and a way to demonstrate how selfless I have become.  It was a way to show the world that I am spending less time on me and more time on my baby.  You know, just in case my super relaxed appearance and lack of makeup didn't make that obvious. 

I have asked a few mommy friends about the mom cut phenomenon and it seems like there is an even split between moms who cut their hair because of hair loss and moms who just don’t want to deal anymore.  My hair wasn't damaged, it was really healthy actually and I had also spent a lot of money on getting it to be the perfect blonde.  So, I wasn’t responding to a dramatic postpartum hair loss and I didn’t chop it off because it didn’t look good.  One day, a light bulb went off and I heard a voice that told me to cut my hair short, so I did.  It was impulsive, I can admit that.  When my hair was long, it was often a toy for my nursing baby and I did think having short hair would be easier.   I also wanted to feel put together and this seemed like a really easy way to do it.  It was one part of my appearance that I could control and one aspect of me that would always look chic.  WRONG.  Prior to my haircut, I was mostly a topknot girl and now, my hair is too short to put up.  Additionally, I still don't shower often so it's not like I have clean short hair.  The only thing that is worse than greasy long hair, is greasy hair that is stuck to your neck.  There isn't enough dry shampoo in the world to fix this.  My dreams of being a french inspired mom with the perfect bob have crumbled.  I am an American mom with dirty hair that is too short for an up do. 

A friend of mine told me once that only waifs look good with short hair.  Now, while I don’t necessarily agree that you have to be rail-thin to rock a bob, having additional baby weight is not helping anyone look thin.  Long hair does a really good job at making your head look larger and if your head looks larger, your butt naturally looks smaller by comparison.  Let’s call this the head to ass ratio.  With my new bob, my head look smaller so my ass looks larger.  The H : A ratio isn’t working for me.  I basically just purchased pants that are way too small because now I have to shrink to have a ratio that I am comfortable with.  I should have looked in a full length mirror while I was thinking about cutting my hair.  Moms, get a full length mirror, it will save you.

I know what you are thinking…How could EJ, a man that you have so much history with, a man that you trust, let you cut your hair postpartum?  At a time when your weight is up, you’re feeling out of control and your sense of identity is uncertain.  How could he take advantage of this very vulnerable time in your life?   Well, EJ would have never gone through with this.  EJ denied every single request for a hair change over the 6 years that I saw him.  He did the exact same highlights and gave me the same hair cut year after year.  And you know what?  It looked good.  At the time, I resented him for not fulfilling my requests but sometimes, we are our own worst enemies.  Let’s also be honest, women are constantly on this quest to change (mess up their hair).  Well, in this situation I had no EJ.  I had a new stylist that I actually really like.  Unfortunately we don't have the time investment and she didn't know me well enough to tell me no.  She actually denied my first request and gave me a really cute trim a few months back, but I needed her to stay strong for one more go because I am sure I would have gotten over it.  I guess I needed someone to save me from myself, even if I am a mom.