There's no denying that times have changed since our parents were kids, and even since we were kids. There used to be a time when a mom with anything other than a "normal" hair color was not considered "mom-material," and maybe there are still people who think that way. But you know what, dear reader? There are so many reasons why dying my hair makes me a badass mom, so "mom-material" or not, my hair color is here to stay (until I change it again, that is).
In some ways we're totally beyond the stage in our society where interestingly dyed hair means you're not compatible with motherhood. On the other hand, however, we're far from accepting the complexities of all sorts of human expression in mothers. Oh well. Even if some of society isn't ready for moms to be real, well-rounded, more-than-just-a-mom people, I certainly am. I bet there are more than a few moms out there who would agree, too.
I believe that when individuals live in line with their true core self, including various external expressions of that self, the world is a more harmonious place. Instead of suffocating under unrealistic expectations of "normal," children should be exposed to the diverse tapestry of humanity, regardless of whether or not that humanity is connected to a never-dyed brunette head of hair or a shockingly blue and white striped mohawk. Being a badass doesn't require dyed hair, but it certainly doesn't hurt, either. Allow me to share, dear reader, the reasons why dying my hair makes me a badass mom:
Because It Teaches My Kids About Bodily Autonomy
When my kids see that I can change my hair color in whatever way feels most authentic or fun to me, regardless of what others think, they are learning that a person is in charge of their own body. Period.
Consent is not only mandatory, it's badass.
Because It Encourages Creativity
Think about this. If your totally stable, gainfully employed, passionate mama dyed her hair purple once in a while, how much more likely would you be to take creative risks? If you're anything like me, you are totally and completely pro-creative risks.
Because It Changes The Professional Paradigm
One of my own mother's objections to my occasional forays into rainbow colored hair is that it won't "look professional." That, dear reader, is part of what I see as the problem. I am a highly educated, licensed professional with several complex specialties. My hair color should be beside the point. Unfortunately, it still is not in many corporate environments.
It may seem like a small thing, but I wholeheartedly reject the notion that in order to be "professional" we have to squelch our authentic self-expression that hurts no one at all.
I don't know about you, but I'd much rather see all of Wall Street, corporate America, and insurance company execs walking around with purple and green hair than have them continue to commit (legal and "professional") atrocious acts that inflict massive suffering on the population.
Shifting the paradigm of professionalism to be more inclusive? Badass.
Because It Brings Up Conversations About Privilege
It's not lost on me that several of the reasons I can get away with dying my hair splashily have to do with my privilege as a white woman in the United States. I work primarily from home and am a self-employed psychotherapist, so the only boss I have to answer to is me. Yes, I worked hard to get here. Yes, having this type of freedom (to dye my hair purple, for example) was important to me. But — and that's a big but — I know that a piece of how I got here has to do with being afforded certain passes because of my skin and the appearance of a hetero- and cisnormative family.
Confronting this country's dynamics of privilege and oppression while making sure my kids are doing the same? Totally essential. (Writer's note: I refuse to call this badass because everyone should be doing it.)
Because It Shows My Kids That Adults Can Have Fun
When he started crying, I asked my then 4 year old what he thought was so bad about growing up. His answer? "I don't want to be an adult, because then I never get to play anymore!"
Sure, I still have to do boring "adulting" things like — working, paying the bills, and vacuuming — but I love to show my kids that the fun doesn't stop when you become an adult. There are certain whimsical things that you never, ever have to grow out of.
Because Women Don't Owe Anyone Beauty
We have a nasty habit in this culture of equating a woman's worth with the amount of socially acceptable beauty she possesses. We're all inundated with the unspoken ideals we're supposed to live up to daily, namely: cisgender, able-bodied, white, thin, heterosexual, young, feminine, often blonde beauty. Dying my hair is one small way I can teach my kids that just because I'm perceived as a woman, doesn't mean I owe traditional standards of beauty to anyone. My worth is not determined by what other people think of my physical looks, and neither is anyone else's.
Because Moms Are Self-Expressive Humans, Too
Yes, even as a mom, I'm still a human badass being showing my kids that being yourself, even if it's a bit more colorful than is mainstream, is totally OK.