My wife sings in church, so there’s generally at least one Sunday out of the month where she leaves the house early to do the pre-service warm-up. On those mornings it’s just me and the girls, scrambling to get out the door on time. I’m pretty good at getting them fed and dressed. My wife usually leaves out a few clothing options for them, anyway, and they’re old enough that they like having some say in what they wear.
But I’ve never really done their hair. I should stop here and say that I’ve always brushed their hair after baths, so it’s not like I have an aversion to grooming my kids. Still, I’ve always sidestepped actually styling their hair, leaving it for my wife most mornings. On days where it was just me I would simply brush it, throw in a few barrettes, and call it a day.
But it struck me recently that maybe the reason I didn’t do it was because it was located in the realm of presumed girlish things, and that as a man I was unconsciously steering clear as a result. That bothered me, because I want my kids to see me embrace roles and actions that are stereotypically thought of as feminine.
So I’m learning how to do their hair. Which, to be honest, is challenging. My older kid has what we jokingly call “duck hair” – healthy, straight, liquid-repellent, and quite difficult to grasp. Just trying to do a simple ponytail poses a challenge. This Sunday I tried for about ten minutes before she said, “You’re not very good at this, are you, Daddy?” Which – yeah, I’m not. Not now, at any rate. But hopefully soon.