Forget the Mom Jeans, Let’s Talk Mom Hair

33 weeks/7 months

It’s a trend that’s stuck around longer than pogs, scrunchies, patterned pants, or Justin Bieber’s pre-pubescent innocence. It’s stood the test of time through each decade.

It’s the mom-cut.

Does the very word make visions of Kate Gosselin’s reserve mullet immediately dance in your head? McGruff and his crime fighting nephew Scruff need to take a bite out of the crime that is the mullet. Reverse or traditional.

The mom-cut, despite its negative connotation ain’t all a bad thing. It can go really right or really wrong in my book.

When I’m feeling particularly deep thoughts, my soul wrastles with the question: what is it about having a baby that makes many a mom shed her locks?

I’ve done it. My sister just did it. And my sister-in-law is about to do it. The shedding of motherly hair is a thing. I’ve found that many a mom dramatically cuts her locks within the first year of having a baby.

I’m neither pro nor con. Just an observer and a perpetrator, but I have a few theories about the phenomenon.

First, I vaguely remember people telling me my hair would fall out after having a baby.

I do not remember however, anyone telling me I’d feel like a Yeti shedding every inch of hair my head had managed to grow in the past twenty-seven years of life. If I washed, brushed, touched, moved, sneezed, or thought about my hair it fell out.

It drove me nuts crazy to regularly find strands of hair smooshed into my newly acquired nursing cleavage in all its leaking milk glory. It covered every inch of my bathroom floor and clogged up my drains.  The final straw was finding my hair in my daughter’s diaper. I do not want to know how it found its way there.

That postpartum hair is a force to be reckoned with. It’s everywhere. Basically, “hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and hide yo husband, cause yo hair is attacking errbody out here.”

I said to my hair, “Enough hair. Off of my head!”

And so I chopped.

Other hair cutting theories include practicality. Short hair can be easier. New babies or more babies usually means less time for primpin’ and primin’ and off with the hairs moms go. I get that. I tried that.

Maybe moms do it to counterbalance the gallons of milk that are now the ol’ chest. Boobs and loads of hair can be too much business and weight for some ladies to handle.

Perhaps it’s slightly symbolic. Motherhood is an amazingly crazy life change, and an easy outward reflection of that inward change is a new do. It’s as if the new cut sings Aladdin’s “A Whole New World” to each passerby as it bounces weightlessly off of a mother’s shoulders.

It’s a tricky one, to cut that hair or not. I admit, I experienced a brief bout of choppage regret as my short haired dreams went a little more Hilary Clinton circa 1994 instead of a more modern-day Michelle Williams chic. (No disrespect to the former First Lady, she’s just 40 years my senior, not exactly my target hair age group).

Please let it be known that neither short hair or long hair is superior. I’ve been a short hair wearer most of my life. I’m even coming to terms with the fact that long hair and I may never be friends; but I have made my husband swear not to let me cut my hair after this pregnancy on an “I need a change!” hormonal whim.

I fully endorse the shorties, but I think making the decision in the light of day, not during the sleepless delirium of a midnight feeding where the hundredth fallen hair grazing my arm makes me bawl in hysterics is probably the best choice. For this postpartum go round, I’m thinking I’ll work the topknot, or don a beanie or sombrero. If nothing else I can claim the current beauty trend to forgo hair washing for a week.

After my hormonal choppage regret rage simmered down, my hair grew on me (see what I did there?).  I realized, it’s just hair. Grow it out again, lady. Leave it short. Do whatever makes you and your tendrils of hair happy. To thine own hair self be true.

As one who has lived to tell the tale of the mom-cut rite of passage, I’ve often wondered if other mothers have felt the same siren call of the scissors as they whisper promises of ease, change, and fulfillment in one cut. Did you do the do? The mom-do? Any regrets?

Image: My chopped locks and the edible cheeks of my 6-month old daughter

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  1. by Ashley F

    On December 27, 2012 at 11:06 am

    I didn’t cut mine as short as yours, closer to shoulder length, with my first, but I did it because my first one would not stop pulling my hair!

  2. by Bekka Besich

    On December 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm

    Ah I forgot about the hair pulling! That was also part of my choppage reasoning.

  3. by Kelly

    On December 27, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    ‘yo hair is attacking errbody out here’- one of the funniest lines I have ever read and a very true statement. I am currently losing it by the bushel full but plan to keep it long this go round.

  4. by Kim

    On December 29, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    I made it a year and a half without cutting it, and then i started regularly having my darling toddlers get peanut butter and honey in it without my noticing. After I ruined a hairbrush I decided it was better to cut it off rather than fight to get every smidge of sticky of my unwillling to be washed babies.

  5. by Tragic Sandwich

    On December 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Mine’s been steadily getting shorter, although I haven’t gone shorter than chin-length. I’d actually really like to go with a crop, but I can’t do bangs–my forehead isn’t high enough. And my hair is really thick, which is actually a lot more limiting than you think it is. Also, until quite recently, my hair was Baguette’s only lovey, and I’ve been worried about traumatizing her.

  6. by Sheila P LO Monaco

    On December 29, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I had not done I had short hair before and I like it then now I think my face looks better with long hair .

  7. by casey

    On January 1, 2013 at 11:42 am

    I didn’t cut my hair. I had done it once in the past and I do not have the hair type or the face for short hair. My hair wasn’t falling out either. In fact my hair was nicer when I was pregnant. Some of the curl fell out though.

  8. by Katherine

    On January 1, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    I got a pixie haircut when my daughter was 11 months, but for me I had had long hair down to the waistband of my pants to chin length hair and lots of different styles in between for many years prior, that a pixie cut was the only thing I hadn’t done yet. It just happened to be after I had my daughter. I’ve been rocking my cut for a year now, and it makes me feel my age (22 on 23) but still look like a mommy without looking 30 years my age. All my friends keep saying that I look super good with the short hair, and my hubby loves it too. :-D

  9. by Rhonda

    On January 1, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    I cut my hair short before and let me tell you for a woman of color,that is hard to say.Right now its shoulder length just the way I like it,women of color in my opinion have a harder time with their hair so with grown children and babie(s)on the way hard for me to manage.

  10. by Karen

    On January 1, 2013 at 5:11 pm

    I have never understood why some people find shorter hair easier. I had short hair my entire life until I was in my mid-twenties and have had it very long since, except for a brief period when it was just above my shoulders. I prefer long hair for dealing with my kiddos (now 5 and almost 2) because with long hair I can wash it at night when I have private time and then just wash or braid or something the next morning. Maybe it is just because I have fine textured hair (a lot of it but fine) but if I wash at night I wake up with a bad cowlick/bedhead that has to be soaked to tame and if I don’t have the chance to wash first thing it looks greasy. Plus, I have never successfully had a “wash and go” short style, there was always some sort of drying/curling/styling involved for it to look nice instead of like a lazy kid.

  11. by Lori

    On January 1, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    I did the opposite -grew it out after my twins were born over 14 months ago. Like a previous commenter, short hair for me is all kinds of more work. I’ve had short to medium lengthed hair since my mid-teens. I’ve got a great face for short hair and used to think it was even easy to have short hair but short hair always requires a first thing in the morning shower and styling of some sort. And you can only do the style it was cut for. Long hair is SO MUCH easier. I now can shower at night after the twins go to bed. I have tons of options for styling it. And it isn’t mandatory that I wash it every day now so it’s even healthier. I’m still losing hair left and right but I have no desire to cut it off for that reason. Maybe when we are done having kids and out of baby stage and into the youngest is 8 stage, then I might consider shorthair again. To me, though, the wise mommy cut is long hair. Counter-intuitive but it’s true from my experience as mom.

  12. by Lauren

    On January 2, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    Sister-in-law cut complete. Verdict: I love it!

  13. by Bekka Besich

    On January 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

    All of the “long hair is easier” comments are really helping me keep my resolve not to cut it. Keep ‘em coming!

  14. by Leanne

    On February 7, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    What’s interesting is I’ve done the total opposite. I’ve had pixie cuts/bobs for the past decade or longer, and been a “tomboy” most of my life. I wanted a boy more than anything. Naturally, I’m having a girl. When I found this out, I decided quite seriously I must grow my hair out SUPER long like I’ve always wanted to try (it was super long last when I was 13, then I cut it off and never went back). I’ve made it to shoulder length…almost (7 months pregger). I also decided I would keep her hair really long. What’s even stranger is I designed her nursery extremely feminine and soft and I’ve even acquired some pieces of pink clothing for myself. It seems I am embracing a form of female I never have before. Maybe I was scared I couldn’t raise a girl. Or wait – I am terrified.