My Bad

My Bad

One of the perks of writing — and I guess parenting — is that I get to be right so much of the time, or imagine that I am. School dropoff is time for the adults to share war stories, and these don’t tend to paint our little dears in a great light. They’re headed to class, unable to rebut our stories. They’ve got reading journals, we’ve got email. For now, the power is not equal.

But when I arrived with my sullen daughter at school today I had to admit, this morning’s brouhaha could have been avoided.

Yes, I was up a bit late getting school ready: Book report diorama, soccer outfits, PE-day shoes. I filled in a zillion tiny raffle tickets, generously purchased by grandparents and aunts, kicking in enough per kid so they’d qualify for the first-level prize.

Yes, my daughter woke up grumpy, and when she saw that with these raffle tickets she will only win a flashlight (and not the 20 other fabulous prizes for selling more and more and more tickets), she kind of lost it.

So I was justified to point out that as far as I could tell she’d sold exactly 6 tickets, to her aunt, while I sold (or bought) the rest of them. But I should have left it at that.

Instead, when she came downstairs, supposedly ready for school, I couldn’t stop myself.

“Can you finish brushing your hair sweetie?” I asked. My voice may not have been sweet.

“I did brush my hair. For 15 minutes!”

“Hm, then it just looks tangly on the sides? Can you test it with a brush? Here.”

“No! I brushed it! I brushed it!”

“Will you please try, or do you want me to try?”

This is a familiar battle, and while the goal of having my child reasonably groomed and not completely feral isn’t crazy, it’s also true that I have a hair thing, when it comes to my daughter. The boys with long hair are allowed to come to class looking like Grizzly Adams. On a bad hair day. Is it fair to impose a stricter level on her? My husband has had to intercede somewhat frequently on hair matters. He sees, when I cannot, how sometimes my need to present the world a perfect, cheerful face gets put onto our daughter. I know! I have agreed to chill a bit on this topic (though I never signed anything).

I’m supposed to let good enough be good enough. But this morning, I didn’t manage it.

Anyone could have predicted her meltdown, and while I’d love to chalk it up to my grumpy kids, this one’s on me. This was not a fight I needed to fight. Can I please learn this lesson already?

2016-05-17T14:14:19+00:00 May 17th, 2016|parenting|6 Comments


  1. Whitney May 17, 2016 at 2:25 pm - Reply

    I need to join you in Does-My-Daughter’s-Hair-Reflect-On-My-Own-Goodness therapy.

    • David May 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm - Reply

      This sounds fun. Drumming circle? 12-step group? I’m in.

  2. Tomasso Circosta May 17, 2016 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    Hmm Grizly Adsms? Somebody is showing their age:). Very sweet❤️

  3. Danielle Lehman May 17, 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

    As I walked my fourth grade daughter to school today, I was not as calm as you. I threatened to take her to get it cut if she didn’t start combing it properly. I agree with Whitney. Let’s start a support group!

  4. Mary May 17, 2016 at 5:14 pm - Reply

    My (now 20 y/o) daughter has super curly hair. When she was little, brushing her hair was a horribly dramatic event. Every time I’d announce that if she had to scream and cry every time we brushed her hair, we just needed to get it cut. It really didn’t help matters or fix anything. And she has never had short hair.

  5. Judi Stull May 18, 2016 at 2:51 am - Reply

    You’re in a large club, David. We ALL need to chill a little sometimes on the things that matter and things that don’t matter. My need to be ‘right’ came to a screeching halt one day when I realized that I had been more worried about what everyone else thought of my sons than what my sons thought of themselves. I caused too many hurt feelings and one day I realized it. Who was most important to me? My sons were. One of my sons wanted to appear ‘COOL’ and refused to wear a coat. Did it REALLY matter that he went to school not wearing a jacket when it was 50 degrees outside? Not really. I didn’t want people to think I was a bad parent or that we were too poor to afford a coat… yadda yadda yadda. We finally agreed to use the thermometer. If it was under 40, he had to wear a coat, if it was above 40 degrees, it was his choice. LOL We never had that fight again. I don’t know if there’s a similar hair decision that could be made, but taking the decision away from my personal opinion about it worked in many cases. The boys were able to govern themselves using the decision we made together at a non-stressed-out time. You’re doing a great job! Hang on! 🙂

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