I have learned a lot as a mother to three boys. Among these lessons are that perfume bottle caps are the perfect ball for my three-year-old to throw at my five-year-old, who is using my Louis Vuitton purse as a racquet. My beautifully organized closet quickly becomes a boxing ring or a soccer goal, and my hangers act as hockey sticks. In the midst of the screaming and the flying objects, I manage to get dressed and wash my face. I look at myself in the mirror and thank my lucky stars that my short blonde hair doesn't need gel or mousse. As a matter of fact, I'm thankful my hair doesn't require any attention at all.
Short hair for a busy mom is a blessing. I'm not talking super short and ultra-chic. I love that look -- Halle Berry's perfectly mussed 'do comes to mind -- but I'm talking about an easy hairdo that only requires my hands and a rearview mirror. I'm can't afford to waste too much time on styling or primping. People often say they "would like to be brave enough to cut their hair like mine." I wouldn't necessarily call myself brave, but I will take their compliment and run.
How did I have the courage to go short? It was the summer of 1994, and my cousin (and best friend) Irina and I were off to another sleep-away camp adventure. She and I spent most summers away from our families on various adventures. This particular season our parents had agreed on a summer school-ish camp in Connecticut. We bid our parents farewell and, much to our dismay, sat down in a classroom and started school. (This was not your typical tent-and-kumbaya experience). One of the extracurricular trips offered was a day trip to New York City. We couldn't wait to get off campus, so both Irina and I signed up and boarded the bus. I was 15 and trying as hard as I could to be cool, stylish and independent. I remember wearing jean overalls (what was I thinking?!?) and having my hair pulled back in a banana clip (it was too hot for long hair).
In a bold move to declare myself a risk-taker and a free thinker, I found myself at a corner beauty salon which welcomed walk-ins. At the time, I had long, blonde straight hair. I sat with a random stylist who had a seat open and asked that he cut my hair. I vividly recall telling him I wanted a new look. I insisted he "cut my hair short." Maybe it was the energy from the city or the summer heat that got to me, but I walked out of the salon with a very short hairdo. He cut off at least five inches. I know I felt gutsy and brave though I don't remember if I loved the cut. I did, however, love seeing everyone's reaction to my new look. I was proud and very pleased to not have to blowdry or style my hair in a hot dorm room.
Seventeen years later, I still have a slightly different style of that same summer haircut. I now live in Florida, where heat and humidity are constantly at war with any attempt at a beauty routine. My hectic household doesn't afford me much time to blowout my locks, so the impulsive "chop it off" haircut serves my purposes just fine.
Hubert de Givenchy was once quoted in an interview in Vogue saying: "Hairstyle is the final tip-off whether or not a woman really knows herself." I couldn't agree more. What may have been considered a rash decision to cut my hair is one that still speaks directly to my pragmatic persona and active lifestyle. I'm content (and have no choice) but to only spend a total of 35 minutes a week on my hair. My days seem too short as is, and the quality time I have with my family is too frenzied and chaotic to allow anything more than using my baby boy's Johnson & Johnson shampoo. No need for conditioner or any special products. I'm halfway out the door and in the car before I drag my fingers through my hair. The kids know the routine: The windows are down to blowdry and style mommy's hair.
Click through the gallery to see my hair over the years. It goes from short to shorter, but you'll never see me with long hair again.