My (Wildly Unnatural) Hair Color Shouldn't Matter to Other Moms

mom with multicolored hair
Avital Norman Nathman

I'm a mom with a bright, bold, unnatural hair color. In all the years I've colored my hair, I've only gotten positive feedback. Kids squee over the candy-colored hues I choose, and other parents usually tell me how much they adore it. But, apparently my positive experiences are not the norm. Mel, an Australian mom of two who blogs at My Wandering Journey, recently wrote a viral Facebook post about being torn down in front of her kids by other mothers at school because of her (gorgeous) colorful hair.

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Mel's post details the mean-girl behavior she and her son experienced. Frankly, it's heartbreaking. Don't we moms go through enough? Do we really need to tear each other down over our hair color now as well?

Mel and her son overheard the other moms going on about Mel's purple, pink, and blue hair before one mother asked, "...What sort of example is she setting for her kids?" While Mel took it in stride, she immediately recognized the impact it had on her son:

What hurt the most was the sadness on my son's face. Cohen was so upset that they had been mean about me. I told him it didn't bother me. That it shouldn't upset him. I explained that people are entitled to their opinions but if they don't have anything nice to say, they should keep it to themselves. He just smiled and told me that he likes my colours. But really, he should never have had to hear someone being bullied, let alone a grown ass adult bullying his mum.

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Being that I'm a fellow mom who experiments with her hair color, my heart goes out to Mel and her son. These mothers were clearly not worried about what was best for her son, as they didn't bother to hide their hateful and hurtful words. 

Avital Norman Nathan
Avital Norman Nathman

Fortunately, my experience has been quite different. I've been coloring my hair for a long time, and I've only ever gotten positive comments from other people about it. Could they be saying nasty stuff behind my back? I guess so, but I have honestly only had positive reactions from both friends and strangers alike. To be honest, my hair usually produces more smiles than anything else.

But let's get real: What happened to this mom isn't actually about hair, is it? It's about judgment between moms and the idea that there are so-called ideals to check off if you want to be considered a "good mother." Apparently, good mothers don't dye their hair outrageous colors?

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When those mothers at school snarked about Mel's hair color, they weren't actually talking about the dye. They were conflating it with the idea that when you become a mom, you apparently have to shed off all sense of individualism and conform to a standard that society has set for you. 

Moms can't show a little cleavage. Moms shouldn't have tattoos or piercings. Moms should have natural-colored hair (I have to assume that some of these mothers have had a little help from Clairol, so some color must be okay). 

Avital Norman Nathan
Avital Norman Nathman

Pink or purple or silver hair isn't going to bring down society, whether it's on me or my child (and, yes, my 10-year-old has dyed bits of his hair before; the line to flay me starts to the left). If anything, those of us making bold choices are showing our children that it is totally okay to be different and to march to the beat of our own drums. After all, if everyone looked the same, the world would be a pretty boring place. Somebody has to be the Unicorn Frappe in a sea of venti lattes.

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At some point, we all stand out for something, whether it's our hair, the way we talk, or our style of clothing. Why not teach our children how to stand up for themselves and be proud of who they are and how they express that? I know it may come as a shock to some folks (especially those moms at Mel's school), but folks with colorful hair can be great parents. We can set bedtimes and adhere to them, we can help with homework, we can play Legos, we can read to our children, we can take them with us to go vote, we can discipline and reward them, and we can take them to church, a mosque, or a synagogue. 

The next time somebody's choice in hair color (or piercings, or tattoos) takes you by surprise, why not ask yourself why it makes you uncomfortable instead of foisting that discomfort onto them, and especially onto their children? Why not take a moment to celebrate these differences? Nobody is making you dye your hair a different color, so why not relax on demonizing those of us who do? 

After all, the real lesson here is not about hair color at all. It's about how we treat and talk to other people.

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