about that “mom hair”…..


Photo by Wendy Laurel

Yesterday I came across a New York Times article titled, “Mom Hair: It Exists. Now What To Do About It.”

If you don’t have time to read the entire piece, allow me to give you the gist: apparently moms are cutting their hair after having a baby, and it makes them look bad.

Here’s an excerpt:

Indeed, Mr. Maciques recommends that new mothers wait about a year before they make any drastic changes. “By then, you’ll know what you’ve got,” he said. “It’s not just your hair that’s changing. Your body is, too. You might not be at the weight you really want to be yet. And the truth is, long hair can be a little bit of a distraction. When you go short, you are more exposed. There’s less, literally, to hide behind.”

Let me get this straight. According to this MAN, women are supposed to maintain long hair after having a baby to serve as a “distraction” from their postpartum bodies?


Here’s a thought. Hey new moms: wear your hair however the hell you want to. Your body carried a human being; it stretched and changed and transformed into an actual home for an actual child. You do not need to distract the world from that feat with mermaid hair or anything else.

You are a warrior.
You are beautiful.

The male hairstylist continues: “Ideally, you’d start planning while you’re still pregnant,” he said.

Because yes, when I am pregnant, and struggling with insomnia, heartburn, incessant peeing, back pain, leg pain, and the myriad of emotional and hormonal internal battles, let me assure you: I am totally thinking about my hair.

Oh wait. I’m not. Do you know what I’m thinking about when I’m pregnant? I’m wondering if my baby is okay in there. I’m thinking about childbirth, and how much it’s going to hurt, and how my lady parts are going to be affected. I’m thinking about adding a child to our family, and what that means for my marriage and my career and my home and my heart and my soul. I’m thinking about breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. And snacks. I’m thinking about sleep, and college funds, and baby toes, and the next eighteen years (and beyond) of holy work and sacrificial love I am going to pour into this child. I am thinking about how grateful I am for this baby, and how terrified I am, and how wonderfully hard this is all going to be.

Do you know what I’m not thinking about when I’m pregnant? Taking care of my hair once the baby comes.

Call me crazy, but when I get home from the hospital, I’m a little more concerned with taking care of the baby. 

And while I’m taking care of that baby, and not sleeping, and adjusting to my new porn star sized boobs, I can assure you, male hair stylist, that if and when I feel like styling my hair/coloring my hair/cutting my hair, I am going to do what makes me feel good about myself. Because my pants still don’t fit right, and my boobs are leaking, and I’m working on 4.5 hours of interrupted sleep—so pardon me while I disregard your generalized opinions and choose a hairstyle that makes me feel confident.

New mommas, listen carefully: you do you. You cut your hair short, wear it long, tie it back, throw it up, straighten it, curl it, color it, highlight it, make dreadlocks, tease it up, slick it down, get bangs, cut layers, add extensions, wash it, don’t wash it; I don’t give a crap.

Your beauty and identity cannot, are not, and will never be defined by a stupid haircut.

And as for you, Mr. Maciques, I certainly hope male pattern baldness doesn’t accost you later in life, lest you lose any self-worth along with your luscious locks.

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18 Responses to about that “mom hair”…..

  1. Laura L Good says:

    Go Ashlee! Stick it to ’em! Loved this post!

  2. Shay says:

    Yesssss. This needs to be on HuffPost.

  3. Serenity Melnick says:


  4. Audrey says:

    Haha! Preach! I read this article yesterday, and I could not believe what I was reading! It was so rude! I don’t even have kids yet and I was offended.

  5. Natalie says:

    Wow. Is this guy serious??? Love, love, love your retort!! It’s so spot on. Thanks for this 🙂

  6. Ruthie says:

    just as bad as things like this “There are no excuses for imperfect eyebrows or nails. Ever” – or this is possibly worse since supposedly this is a mom’s company http://www.chichiactive.com/pages/about-us

  7. The porn star boobs—yes! Those offered PLENTY of distraction.

  8. Allison says:

    I love you! This is awesome.

  9. Becky says:

    That last line! MIC DROP! Amazing.

  10. I read this article too yesterday and had many of the same thoughts!! Ridiculous.

  11. Jen says:

    Well girls, I’m a mom of 4, and I have to say I know way too many women who were the inadvertent victims of the post-birth-shearing. I’ve listened to them cry and done my best to console them for that moment of insanity that led to a bad, impulse haircut. I also know some who went short with great success and looked fabulous, but I have to say that even many of these women regretted making their decision because they’d done it for convenience, not because they actually wanted to cut their hair. Surely, at least a few of you can understand how easy it is to feel ugly and undesirable in those first weeks after giving birth, and let’s face it, reminding yourself of your well-deserved warrior stripes can only do so much for your self esteem. Maybe I’m just more shallow than the rest of you, but I admit that I most definitely cared about my postpartum hair – probably because there were days when I felt like it was all I had going for me. I’m even going to go so far as to admit that when I saw the title of this post I was hoping it was full of wise words of wisdom that might make a few new mothers remember that it’s good to keep caring about yourself while you’re in the trenches of diapers and sleep deprivation. Maybe the message could have been delivered better, but sometimes I think we need to realize that there are lots of moms out there who need to hear that every moment doesn’t need to feel like slogging through the trenches, and it’s important to remember that you’re still a woman, and you’ll feel better if you take a few minutes every day to look good. And – shallow alert – I admit I kept my hair long after birth because it did make me feel sexier. And that was a conscious decision.

    • Ashlee says:

      Jen, I don’t think you’re shallow for keeping your hair long after birth! If that makes you feel good about yourself, you do you sister. I absolutely believe it’s important to care for yourself after having kids, in whatever shape self-care takes for you. For me: it’s doing a face mask every Sunday night, buying myself $3 flowers from Trader Joes once a week, and getting a monthly pedicure with my girlfriend. I also get my hair done every six weeks (although that wasn’t the case right after I had my first baby).

      At the heart of it, I think new moms are under enough stress and pressure – between sleep deprivation, their changing body, adjusting to a new identity, learning how to balance motherhood with marriage and friendships and work – the last thing they need to be told is that their hair looks bad. I have such a soft heart for new moms, and I believe they need to be encouraged and uplifted as much as possible, not made fun of or shamed for getting a certain haircut. I thought that article was extremely condescending, and the fact that it was directed towards new moms reeeeeeeally riled me up 🙁

      I think new moms should cut their hair and style their hair however they want to. I have a LOT of mom friends who cut their hair shoulder-length after having kids, and are totally rocking that look. I hate to think that any of them would read an article like this and second-guess their decision based on a bunch of sweeping generalizations.

  12. Tina says:

    Did you read the same NYT article you referenced? The stylist talked about dealing with the shedding that often happens. The planning ahead comment was about hair color which many women don’t want to do during pregnancy and he suggested choosing an option that looks like an on-purpose ombré since you won’t be going to the salon. It was a lot of helpful tips.

    I Agree with you that moms should do exactly what they want to do with their hair, body, time, money and everything else. But i think you villianized him unnecessarily. Some women still care how their hair looks and may be dismayed at the shedding along with all the other changes they are facing. The article is for them. Everyone doesn’t want to get a functional haircut, lose all sense of fashion and get a mini-van just because they procreated.

    • Ashlee says:

      Hi Tina! I did read the article – I found it to be condescending in tone, sexist in nature, and overall demeaning and unsympathetic towards new moms. I think new moms have enough on their plates (sleep deprivation, changing body, adjusting to their new identity, etc) without being told that their hair looks crappy. After the birth of my first baby, my hair fell out by the handfuls, which is why I ended up cutting it shorter. It was more practical, and honestly, I felt way more confidant than I did with my long hair that was falling out everywhere. Had I read this article back when I was a new mom who had just cut my hair, I think it would have made me feel awful.

      I don’t think any publication (esp one as big as the NY Times) should suggest that moms need to look a certain way or adhere to a certain specified standard of beauty when some women feel better and more confident with shorter hair. And for a man to imply that women shouldn’t cut their hair drastically until one year postpartum so they can use their hair as a distraction from their bodies…..that will never sit right with me.

  13. Ashli says:

    HaHa. Yes, yes, yes all of this. By the way the last line is the best!


  14. Pingback: « Mom Hair », ou comment culpabiliser les femmes à cause de leurs cheveux | Sans Compromis

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