Picture (not so) Perfect
A few days ago I took my five-year-old to get a haircut. A simple enough sounding event. Go in, get your hair cut, pay, leave. But of course, nothing with children is ever THAT simple, especially with my one-year-old in tow.
I had been planning to let his hair grow. I have always loved to let his hair grow long until I make a spur of the moment decision to get scissor happy during bath time. Plus, lately when I have brought up the idea of a haircut, he has been telling me he likes his hair long and does not want to cut it. However, I was looking at him across the room this morning as he stood 4 centimeters from the TV (because what even is Trolls if you can’t see every pixel that makes up Lady Glitter Sparkle?) and noticed my son had an undeniable mullet starting to form. Nope. Hair cut it is.
It didn’t take much convincing on my part, I just uttered the words fire truck chair and he was sold. So sold in fact, it was now the new and ONLY topic of discussion as we prepped to leave. We arrive, park, and I get everyone out, only to realize I have left my wallet on the kitchen counter. I spend so much time making sure everyone has their coat, shoes, cup and the 12 unnecessary belongings we must bring everywhere, while simultaneously answering nonstop questions, that I often forget basic things for myself, such as my wallet, or my sanity, or sometimes (a lot of times) both!
I realize that there is no way to make this hair cut happen without money, so I accept the fact I will either have to drive back home and get it or forgo the haircut. Anyone with kids knows loading and unloading multiple children from a car in general, let alone within one minute, is low on the list of enjoyable moments for either party involved. But…the mullet. So, if you have read blog post #4, you’ll know what comes next! FIND A WAY!
I load the confused and highly displeased toddler in first followed by his big brother who’s STILL talking about the fire truck seat. First stop – the donuts we managed to avoid on the way here. Car time just doubled in length which has the backseat crew in a frenzy and I could use a coffee or seven at this point, and well, we all know it would be a sick joke if I went through the Dunkin’ drive through and didn’t leave with donuts in my possession. So, 6 munchkins and 15 minutes later, we are back to where we started, this time with wallet in hand, and ready for round two.
We walk into a nearly empty salon. The beloved fire truck seat is vacant, praise the Lord, and someone comes over right away to get started on his hair. I am thankful for a smooth start after my forgetfulness set us back 15 minutes and we are now cutting it close to pre-school drop off. Not that I haven’t already claimed being 5-10 minutes late as my style, but, why add to it?
If only I had known what the next 20 minutes would hold, I might not have even gone back for the wallet, to be honest. It starts off like an Instagram picture. Seemingly perfect. Sitting in the ever-so-longed-for fire truck seat. An adorable monster print cape. All smiles. Then the comb comes out and within one minute that picture perfect moment is long gone.
It starts with a deceivingly “cute” whimper that quickly turns to an obnoxious whine and tear filled eyes. I try to distract him with questions like “What’s on your cape??? Are those monsters? Does the fire truck have a bell? Can you ring the bell?” But he could care less about his cape and the fire truck all together at this point. He wants no part of this haircut anymore. Unfortunately for him, she hasn’t even started cutting yet.
The only thing going in my favor at the moment was the fact that my one-year-old was not trying to get down and destroy everything in sight. Of course, not two minutes later he is over being held and wants to explore this new territory. If your wondering why I didn’t bring the stroller in, join the club. We all have regrets. Fair enough though, my arms are tired now and he’ll be back attached to my legs and begging to be picked up soon enough. He’s down for no more than 3 minutes, before he makes eye contact with the pieces of hair on the floor under Drew’s chair. You know, the freshly clipped pieces he just watched her cut. But for whatever reason, these pieces of hair on the floor are not the same as when they are still attached to his brother’s head, and therefore terrifying. This child screamed for a good 4 minutes about the hair clippings.
So, I have one child sitting in this fire truck chair, carrying on about the comb and scissors, wiping his tears on his hair covered cape, causing the hairs to stick to and irritate his face, which in turn makes for more wiping which is only adding more hair and frustration, and another who is losing it over the hair clippings. The lady cutting his hair did an awesome job despite the shrill screams, the whining and the intermittent tear wiping that of course had to be done at the exact moments she needed his head still and straight.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and it couldn’t be more true. Behind every picture is a story. Whether it be 1,000 words of perfect moments, rainbows and butterflies or a serious bus load of chaos and questioning why you even left the house today, isn’t always detectable though. If there is one thing you remember from this post may it be this — life is not as perfect as a picture can make it seem. It’s super easy to crop the messiness of life out with a good filter and the perfect caption, but at the end of the day, you’re still living the reality behind it.
Nobody wants to caption a picture with “My kids drove me crazy and sucked the patience out of me today”. Nobody wants to share with the world the moments they wish there was a nearby rock they could crawl under. So instead, we channel the exact opposite emotion into that picture caption to make the rest of the world think we were more successful in our attempts at life than we really feel we were. I love a picture perfect moment, don’t get me wrong, this is not to say that these moments are unachievable by any means, but I’m also the first to admit to the struggles and the chaos and the frustration that comes with parenting. It’s the lack of balance of the two and the skewed perception that a perfect looking social media profile insinuates a perfect life outside of it, that has us judging and comparing ourselves and trying to portray perfection to others constantly.
If everyone showed a little more of their reality, or even just stopped trying so hard to falsely portray perfection, I bet we’d all be a little less judgmental, of ourselves and of others, and a lot more sympathetic and united.
Oh, and as far as future hair cuts go, let’s just say, the fire truck chair has lost almost all of its appeal and if I ever forget my wallet again it’s sure as hell a sign that the universe is trying to protect me from unforeseen struggles.