There’s an aspect of this parenting thing where I’m struggling. I would say failing, but that’s such a loaded word. The issue: hair care for girls, or my daughters to be more precise.
This is a very specific issue that any father with daughters will no doubt relate to. Men’s hair is very different to girl’s. This presents a particular issue if, like me, you only have daughters and didn’t grow up with sisters*.
I have spent my life going to barbers. Compared to many women, my hair is short and easy to style.
How am I to react when one of my children asks for a “fish tail plait”? This is the very situation I found myself in yesterday.
I’ll tell you how I reacted. I looked up fish tail plait on the internet and had a mild panic when presented with the instructions. I therefore did the sensible thing and asked my wife to do it.
I figured it would be like attempting a DIY task that was just slightly beyond my capabilities. Sure, I could complete the task, but it would have looked dreadful. Better to get a professional on board (in this case, Mrs Adams).
Interestingly, this is the one and only area of family life where Mrs Adams’ Scottish accent has caused complications. I used to listen in disbelief as she spoke about “plates” being in hair. After hearing this once too often I asked what on earth she was going on about. It transpired she was referring to plaits and suddenly everything made sense again.
Sure, over the years I have learned a great deal about girl’s hair. I can spot a poor quality shampoo from 100 metres away. I have learned of the importance of conditioner, something that isn’t essential for us men. I’ve learned about the importance of a good hair brush, split ends and how to spot a good hair salon.
Where I fall down is anything beyond the basics. As my kids’ main carer, I am used to getting them ready and shoving out the door early in the morning in time for the school run.
This means hair is washed and conditioned and tied into a pony tail. It is not the time to ask me for highlights, fish tails, perms or to ask about the possibility of growing out your fringe.
Helen is now eight years old. A simple pony tail simply won’t suffice any longer. As the photo above shows, she’s getting into all sorts of crazy stuff, including hair dyes and colourful highlights.
The other day I discovered a bowl of multi-coloured chalks in the bathroom. Suspiciously, Helen had strange blue streaks in her hair. You guessed it: somehow or other, she’d developed a method of colouring her hair with chalk. Yes, that’s correct: Chalk.
I have to give Helen credit, it looked pretty good. Even so, I was more than a little worried this would damage her hair and so being the summer holidays, Mrs Adams and I agreed she could have some highlighting pens and spray-in colours.
Being the summer holidays, mummy has been around more than usual. Compared to me, she is considerably better at dealing with Helen and Izzy’s hair simply because she has more experience.
I have come to realise I have much more to learn. In fact, I was delighted to see haircare for dads was on the agenda for this year’s Dad Network Live. For personal reasons I was unable to attend at the last minute but I would have been all over that session if I could have gone.
As my kids’ taste in hairstyles becomes more complex, I can see I have a lot to learn. If I had sons, it would be much easier but I don’t, so I’m on a steep, steep learning curve. I hope to see you at the top!
*I do have a sister, but we didn’t grow up in the same household. That wouldn’t require a blog post to explain, more an entire blog.