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The unbearable lightness of summer (after a haircut, of course)

It’s that time of the year once again. Sweat runs down the brow, the cheek is perennially damp, and drained of all energy, we want to just lie prone under a slowly rotating fan. The rain-tree outside is awash with pink blossoms and thirsty birds hop from railing to railing in search of a little water. Summer has truly arrived.

Today, before the stupor set in, we took M for a haircut. At a traditional, old-fashioned barberia, he sat astride a white enamel horse on a vintage barber’s chair. This old time barber shop is so typical – faded Formica tables, benches with crackling veneer and sticky linoleum seats, old mirrors looming from hastily painted green walls, a smattering of old photographs, grimy curtains and a gentle layer of dust here and there.

It’s not dirty enough for us to worry (yet).

M doesn’t like haircuts. He’ll sit through the sides and back patiently but when hair starts falling on his face, it’s all over. Today though, he was brave. His hair was longer than usual and as big copper lumps fell  on the white sheet around his shoulder, he looked around at the other patrons curiously. When strands began falling on his nose and eyelashes, he began fussing. I want to go home, I want to go home, he whined. He was distracted trying to reach out for the enamel horse’s mane. And by the time the barber was done with the dusting and the powder and the last minute snip-snips, M was a zillion pounds lighter and still cheerful. And he looked so much cooler (in more ways than one).

Looking at him, I thought of how we take the time to make sure our children are looked after, happy, taken care of. Busy parents often forget to do that for themselves. It’s been ages since I had a haircut, my mid-back hair now in a constant bun. In this weather, I hate the sensation of hair sticking to my nape. Ten years ago, my hair was down all the time. You’d have never caught me in a bun then.

Self-care shows up often on my to-do list. Sadly, that’s where it stays. My few M-free hours are gobbled up by groceries, paying bills, fighting politicians and their crazy schemes. And of course, meeting writing deadlines.

Who has the time for haircuts?

And yet, I know that making time for myself might be the best thing I do as a parent.  Time off will keep me off the slippery slope, from being this angry parent, from being constantly on edge. Just acknowledging that is a huge step, a reminder to get a life outside of this parenting circus. 

Time to schedule that morning off, I think.


Image via Snugglepup on Flickr


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