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Meredith Lopez

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Hair Baby, Hair Mama

Posted: 09/16/09 12:11 PM ET

Long before the Juban Princeling was born I wanted to color my hair candy apple, fire truck, maraschino cherry, candy cane red. Unfortunately, I spent most of my pre-baby adult life working in conservative offices, where hair colors that did not occur in nature were frowned upon.

With the birth of the Princeling and my decision to be a SAHM (stay-at-home mom, for those of you not up on your acronyms), that all changed.

Let me preface this with a little tidbit about my relationship with my hair and my hairdresser, Awesome. I've largely had a love-hate relationship with my hair most of my life. I was born a natural blond and began coloring my hair red when I was 15. I inherited my mother's Scandinavian super-fine hair along with my father's Semitic frizz, and I have a LOT of hair. My hair is like an enormous bowl of angel hair pasta: thin strands, but tons and tons of it. Which makes it very heavy, which means the natural waves in my hair tend to go Jewfro.

I've spent the last 18 years going every shade of red known to humanity, from light strawberry blond to dark auburn to bright coppery orange. But I kept my hair long and straight because otherwise, Jewfro.

When I met Awesome 3 years ago it was love at first sight. She is self-employed and therefore I pay a fraction of what other New York women pay to get my hair done. It's my once-every-six-weeks indulgence, the one thing I do that's just for me. My appointments with her I call my hairapy. I've recommended her to everyone I know. She did my sister-in-law's wedding hair. I book my appointments with her months in advance. (I am currently booked with her through the rest of 2009.) Her dream for me, in turn, was to show up one day and say, "Awesome, I trust you," and thus let her cut my hair beyond just a standard straight-across trim.

I finally did it.

On the same day that she gave me candy apple red streaks -- on top of my coppery orange base color -- she also cut my hair shorter in the back and layered in the front.

On humid or muggy days my hair still Jewfros out, only now when it does, I resemble Animal, the psychotic drummer from the Muppets.

The Princeling thinks Mommy's new hair looks like a toy, and he grabs it more than ever.

Everyone loves my cool, funky new mom-'do. I love it, too.

Which is unfortunate, as the husband and I have taken a long, hard look at our current financial situation and it seems I have to go back to work full time, at least until we pay off the rest of our credit card debt.

Just when I've finally gotten to a place with my hair that I'm truly, deeply happy with, I'm now worried no one will hire me. Funky mom hair is fine at the Park Slope playgroups -- in fact, it's welcome there. But my employable skill set is pretty much limited to office jobs, and well, I'm fairly certain I won't be hired as an office manager or administrator with hair that looks like Yahoo Serious mated with Rainbow Brite.

Now, when I was asked to keep this blog on HuffPo, I was told I should write about "parenting in the age of Obama." I'm not really a political person by nature. I have my beliefs and, when I'm among friends, I express them. Yes, I'm liberal, but I respect that we live in a free democracy where not everyone is going to agree with me on every single issue. My own husband doesn't agree with me on every single point. One of my very best friends, Tia, who just spent a week staying with us, is a staunch, hard-headed, conservative. She leans so far to the right she practically limps. But that's fine, and our 21-year friendship prevails in spite of our differing views on the government's role in health care.

I say all of this because I don't want anyone thinking I'm pointing fingers here.

Husband and I timed our baby-having to coincide with him starting his new job. Unfortunately it also wound up coinciding with last year's economic downturn.

It also coincided with our nesting instincts run amok when we moved into a bigger apartment.

We know that our credit card debt is our own fault, and we take full responsibility for that. However, we had planned to have it paid off in a year. But Husband's company, like so many others, has had to make salary cuts. Deep salary cuts. Salary cuts that make it hard for us to pay off things like massive credit card debt, on top of student loans.

Without turning into Puritans, we've cut our day-to-day expenses as much as possible. If it means doing without a nightly bottle of wine, then we'll live. If it means no vacations this year, we will survive. If it means I have to wait a while longer to get the iPhone I've been craving, well, that's what my sister-in-law Daria refers to as a "first-world problem," and I'll be OK.

But it's not our daily expenses that are killing us, it's our bills. They just won't go away, no matter how much we wish them to do so!

And so, Mama and her hair have to go out and pound the pavements and look for some meaningful employment. The husband says that if I don't get hired with this hair, then it's not the job for me. Easy for him to say; the craziest he ever gets with his hair is going all weekend without shaving. (Since he's Cuban, 48 hours of not shaving leaves him looking like Grizzly Adams.) Also, he loves my new hair because it helps him confirm our place in the community as proper, 100% Park Slope parents, with the funky hair'ed, be-tattoo'ed stay-at-home mom who does cool creative stuff (like writing) and the working-but-involved dad who wears Converse on weekends and pushes the stroller to brunch at Dizzy's or Sette. (That's another thing we've cut down on, brunch. Though, let me just say here that Sette really has the best brunch in town, with an awesome deal: two courses and unlimited brunch cocktails and coffee for $18 per person. And they make this awesome cocktail called an Amore which is champagne with pomegranate juice, which is so good it's like what angels would drink if they drank brunch cocktails.)

So until we're at the point where it's either go back to "normal" hair or else the Princeling will starve in the streets, the hair stays. Take that, corporate America!

***
A few shameless plugs, while I have your attention:

I also write now for Associated Content. Most of it is non-baby-related!
http://www.associatedcontent.com/user/603701/meredith_lopez.html

My brother, Mr. Funny, has a very funny movie up on You Tube. It's safe for work, but does contain a certain famous gold bikini:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EKXVuAp7xFo

 

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