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Haircuts & Headaches

August home times 003 My teenage sons are pouting this evening.  I just cut all of their hair.  One says it's too long, another wants it short one time and long the next.  My oldest son would just as soon let his hair grow down to the ground if I would let him. No matter how hard I try, I cannot please them anymore when I do their hair.

 In all of my years of mothering, I have always cut my children's hair with few exceptions, at least up to this point.  When they are working and driving, they are welcome to go and pay for any haircut they want. 

Our first child, Hailey, only required a straight-line perimeter cut, easy enough.  Then we had three little boys in a row, all born with a head-full of hair.  Initially, I took Trevor, my first son to the $6 place to get his hair cut, which then became the $8 place (due to inflation), plus tip and it was becoming the $12 place!  During this time, I also realized that my tolerance for my boy's hair growing over the ears was about 3 weeks time.  So, cutting one child's hair was costing about $16 per month.

This may not sound like a lot of money, but at the time, I had just left the workforce and we had become a one-income family.  That $16 could buy a lot of diapers for our young son.  So, I saved up for a Wahl hair cutter that came with an instructional video.  I had absolutely no hair-styling experience whatsoever, but after a few botched haircuts, I finally got the hang of it. 

Little did I know at the time, but I would have three more sons after Trevor.  Alas, I had become quite the pro with my little Wahl hair cutter, saving untold amounts of money in our very tight budget at the time.  All of my little sons knew to scoot right down to the basement when Mom said "It's haircut time".  I even have my own little hair apron, different size combs, the whole bit.  I learned a few different haircuts over the years and even 'mooched' information off of any hairdresser who would let me.

Fast forward a few years and I would find myself reading books about how to deal with black hair.  With the advent of three siblings from Ethiopia who joined our family last year, I have found myself having to rise to new levels of hair design - "box braiding".  I'm just a white girl from the burbs, I didn't even know what a "box braid" was, much less how to make one.  But the cheapskate in me became determined to learn when I discovered that having my new Ethiopian daughter's hair done would cost me north of $100.  I went to the library, checked out books, watched YouTube videos, until I could do it.

Now, every two weeks, Rahel and I sit down for a 3 hour appointment to braid her hair, sometimes broken into several sessions until we get it done.  It's not easy, being tied down to a couch with my daughter's hair in my hands, watching my other children push every limit.  They know I can't just jump up to deal with them.  But at least my daughter is grateful for her braids, much more than my sons are for their trims.

Just another day in the life of a mother of 9 kids.  I don't regret the time I've spent with my hands in my children's hair, someday I won't be able to do that anymore.  Other mothers, who have gone before, told me that once their son's started paying for their own haircuts, they've come home begging for Mama do cut it again. 

Can't wait.

Kelly also blogs at www.themorristribe.net

Original post to the Ohio Moms Blog.