Last week The Tween announced that she would like to dye her hair. This came as no surprise; being a middle child, she likes to stand out. She is also an avid follower of fashion and for quite sometime now, the dip dye look has caught her eye. I knew it was only a matter of time before she would request it for herself.
Call me old-fashioned, but I think my daughter has beautiful hair, just as it is – chestnut brown, long and thick with beautifully natural curls. It doesn’t need enhancing. I said not before her 16th birthday (met with guffaws by The Teenager) and her father said 14. Apparently, we are both way out of touch with reality.
Having heard from The Tween that “everyone else is allowed to dye their hair in year 7” I wanted to know if that statement was in fact true. I decided to put it out to Twitter which is fast becoming my ‘go to’ of choice. One of the responses came from @ladylibertyhen who reminded me that I was in grave danger of receiving the “everyone else’s mum is super cool, super nice and super reasonable” thrown in my face, by way of emotional blackmail.
This reminded me of a story my mother tells regularly…the one where my sister, aged around 7, boldly announces: “I hate you, you’re a horrible mummy, everyone’s mummy is nicer than you!” Harsh? Yes. But as mothers, we are judged. All the time. Not only by society, other mothers and the old man down the street, but by our own offspring. The very people we are sacrificing pretty much everything for!
The truth is, I have realised over the years that such ‘perfect’ mothers do not exist. Only in our children’s heads and fairy tales. In fact, not even in fairy tales! Take a look at the evidence…..
Goldilocks – Her mother was pretty absent in the whole proceedings. She allowed her young daughter to roam freely into the woods, resulting in her breaking and entering into a perfect stranger’s home.
Jack (and the beanstalk) - His mother flipped her lid when she realised that Jack, flexing his entrepreneurial muscles, had squandered their last few pennies on some magic beans. Calling him all sorts, she threw him out on his ear.
Red Riding Hood – Her mother allowed her to walk alone in the deep, dark woods, to run an errand that she herself was too lazy to do. She even had a bottle of wine with her for goodness sake!
Aladdin – His mother allowed him to go off and work for his mean old uncle who she knew nothing about. Two words: Child. Labour.
Three Little Pigs – This mother takes the prize in my opinion. Deeming her sons too big to live under her roof any longer, she turfed them out to fend for themselves, giving them one piece of advice: “keep an eye out for the wolf”. Talk about
lambs pigs to the slaughter!
Hansel and Gretel - We know very little about this pair’s actual mother but the step-mother was a right piece of work. Finding the two children an absolute nuisance, she persuaded their father to leave them in the woods to fend for themselves, hoping that someone kind would take pity and give them a good home. The less said about their father, the better!
Snow White - Again, not the birth mother but for a step-mother, she had to be the meanest of the lot! Insanely jealous, ridiculously self-obsessed and basically a psychopathic murderer (or as good as).
Is this not proof that the perfect mother, the one who panders to every whim, allows hair dying at the tender of age of 12 and bed times to be decided on by the child, doesn’t exist – not now, not 40 years ago and not even in fairy tales?
So to my offspring and any other child who quite frankly, has got a pretty good thing going on, I have three words for you: Suck. It. Up. And no, you will not be dying your hair before you reach 14!
Do you ever get given the emotional blackmail to make you change your mind? What’s your child’s favourite line of persuasion? And what is an ok age for a child to dye their hair anyway?!