A few weekends ago, the family spent a lazy Saturday inside. Nana played around the house in her pajamas, hair uncombed, happy and free. Around 4PM, we decided to make a run to the Wal-Mart. I threw on some leggings and shirt. Wood threw on a t-shirt and jeans. I didn’t really feel like getting out the lotions and potions, barrettes and bobbles to do Nana’s hair so I brushed her hair and threw it into a bushy ponytail on the top of her head. The ponytail was tangled, hair was falling out of the sides, it needed some moisture – basically a total hair failure.
I mean, we were just running to the store for a few things so that we could continue our lolly-gagging. Plus I was planning to wash it later that evening. Why go through all of that only to take it down in a couple of hours? All of that includes getting her to sit still (no easy feat), moisturizing, parting, combing, brushing, banding, twisting or braiding, barrettes, ribbons, and what not.
Well, a week or so ago, pictures surfaced of Blue Ivy – Beyonce and Jay-Z’s child with her hair looking out of order. So much so that someone took it upon themselves to create change.org petition calling for Beyonce to comb her child’s hair. Yes, really. I know. Bonkers.
So here’s my take to add to the fifty-leven think pieces on the subject. There has been quite a bit of churn on the interwebs with many saying that Blue Ivy’s hair looked fine, natural hair looks different and yadda yadda yadda. But from my perspective, Blue Ivy’s hair (on that day) was tangled, matted and in need of some moisture and attention. Basically it looked like a toddler’s hair after she got a good sleep and then was allowed to run around happy and free. Which is probably what happened.
And since they were getting off a plane and in transit to another destination, Beyonce, like me and like other mothers who’ve considered straightening combs when an afro is enuf, made a quick calculation – wrestle this child’s hair into compliance for public consumption or keep it moving.
Now the difference is that I only had to deal with Wood continually smoothing Nana’s hair and mumbling under his breath about Mommy not doing anything to the baby’s head and perhaps a few swift side-eyes from other shoppers. Beyonce had to deal with the whole entire world watching, commenting, and petitioning about a decision that she probably didn’t put that much thought into.
We are sooo hard on parents and perhaps mothers in particular. Every day, mothers are checking faces, combing hair, straightening clothes (hipster chic), cooking organic meals and well-balanced snacks, organizing extraordinary play dates, volunteering for PTA, attending every game/recital, crafting etsy-like stuff and posting on pinterest, giving choices, moderating tantrums, nurturing, loving, giving, and all while we are dancing backwards in heels. The worst part of this is that even while we complain about trying to measure up to impossible standards, we are still appraising other mothers, checking off where they fall short, smug in knowing that we are better.
Perhaps Blue Ivy’s hair is just one way folks could feel like at better than Beyonce in at least one thing – motherhood.