Photo: What ya’ll know ’bout some split pea soup? It’s pretty much the greatest of all soups. Only The Husband and I seem to like it, and that’s ok with me!
When they announced last night that there wouldn’t be any school today and I was like, “we better get every single inch of snow they are advertising!” Well, we did. So, it’s me and two little boys are here trying their best not to drive me crazy. Thanks to the good space heaters we bought during the Great Heat Crisis, I actually can get the playroom warm on days like this. They are in there now, screaming and carrying on.
Ursa Major asked me if we could have a spa day today because there isn’t any school. I’ve been frowning at their hair for the last few days: both heads of hair are winter-dry and uncombed and ridiculous. “Like ain’t nobody love you,” I mumble whenever I see them. I think we’ve all leaned on the excuse that because the boys are boys, somehow they don’t have to participate in the daily maintenance of being beautiful and taking care of themselves. Grooming is girly, as they say. It’s not, but they think that way.
Lord knows The Husband and I are plenty guilty. Maintenance is annoying and we have found very low-maintenance ways of being ourselves. The Husband’s fashionable manbun and bushy beard are not his way of keeping up with a trend, but a lazy way of riding the cultural wave while having to do absolutely nothing. My locs, which actually require a lot of effort, are still relatively low-maintenance in comparison to the relaxer days, or even the “naturalista” days with heat or minifros or whatever I was supposed to be doing. I don’t wear makeup unless absolutely necessary, and then it’s the minimum. We’ve set the boys up to not care, I guess. But still, it drives me nuts.
But that’s why Spa Days are awesome. I get to slather avacado oil in the boys’ hair and then deep condition with “the good conditioner,” at the boys call it. Creme of Nature has this honey line that is awesome and I usually reserve it for me, but on Spa Day, they get to use it. I practically paint them with lotion after the shower, cover their hair with leave-in conditioner. Last Spa Day, we painted toes. This time, I let them use my clay detox mask (Olay makes these sticks now, so no messy fingers!). Now they are clean and they have actual curl in their hair! It’s a miracle!
“And don’t you just feel nice?” I asked after it was all over.
“Oh yes,” Major said, nodding.
“I do feel nice,” Minor said, as if this was a great surprise.
“And tomorrow, we can pop your curls!” I said with delight.
“That’s going to be nice!” Major sang.
We’ll actually see if it’s nice tomorrow. I suspect that I’m going to have to chase both boys down and have to fight with them to get to that hair. There will be tears and growling. They’ll both declare that they want Daddy to cut their hair off. “But your curls deserve a chance to be in the world!” I’ll say. “It hurts and I hate this,” they will say. I know this probably isn’t the parenting hill that I should choose to die on, but it makes me sincerely sad that this little thing is so much work.
I didn’t come into motherhood with a mission of being particularly progressive. Between the internet and the suburbs, I’ve met many women who have been aggressive about their progressive philosophy about boyhood. “My boys will play with dolls!” “I’m only buying books with female protagonists!” “We’re going to use only positive language about girls in my house!” I’ve been able to hold my beer and remain quiet, or shrug away from such conversations. Motherhood as competition in any fashion is exhausting. I decided not to push an agenda on my boys, but rather put up some hard barriers (girls are not things, they are not unequal, they are not here for torment) and some fun invitations (do you want to have sparkles on your toes because sparkles on your toes is awesome?). I’ve also tried to surround them with men who do good things and be with boys are who also doing good things. I’ve really tried to respect boyhood for what it is: a time to experiment and experience, a time to feel all the feelings and test every boundary. We’ve seemed to have found a groove that is balanced: somewhere between too “traditional” and too “progressive.” I’m real good with that.
When it comes to the maintenance of personal grooming, I think I’ve become relaxed about it because they boys are so adorable. Dress ’em up nice and they are fine. The hair is unnoticeable. But where I have encouraged them to make a mark with their wardrobes, and I’ve invested in making sure they wear clothes that make them feel great, I should probably do the same with all of it. Ultimately, what I really want is for my boys to boldly embrace how beautiful they are. Head-to-toe, inside and out.
Anyway, I’ve gotta get back to it. Last week was rough, and this one might be, too. I’ll explain more on Friday. In the meantime, there is plenty of work to do!
Until Wednesday, take care.