I have always seen myself as a working mother. Always. Not once in all my childhood did I ever imagine becoming one of those women lucky enough to leave the hassles and demands of a job behind, so I could focus on the hassles and demands of raising kids and running a household.
For me, this weekend took on a whole new working-mother dynamic, after I took a train up to Boston to attend a financial services conference. I’ll return early in the week, and the trip isn’t arduous. It amounts to a day and a half, all told. But that’s two mornings and two evenings when Hubby will be a single parent, effectively. He can manage meal, bath and play times well, but he’ll have his hands full trying to maintain the pixie-cute styling that I give Baby when I dress her and style her hair. I decided to minimize the guesswork by laying out her clothes for the two mornings I’ll be gone and labeling each outfit ‘Monday’ or ‘Tuesday’. They will do whatever floats their boat, I’m sure, but at least I did my part to make it easier on them.
And then there is Baby’s hair. She started swim lessons a couple of weeks ago, and readers, I realized just how completely reckless and plain clueless other people can be with Black children’s hair. As if the incident with the office supplies wasn’t enough, we ran into another mishap after her first swim lesson. I trusted Hubby to change Baby after her swim lesson, spray her hair, brush it back and put in a simple headband or ponytail for the rest of the day. It didn’t work out. Somehow, her hair ended in THE BIGGEST afro I’ve ever seen on a child her size. Oh, don’t get it wrong: She loved it and rocked it. But when it came to taming that puff, I wished Hubby (and at least one of her teachers, all female) had taken more care.
This time I decided to canerow (you full-fledged Americans say ‘cornrow’) her hair as her protective style for several days. I did not have the time to put all of Baby’s hair in canerows. She did not have the patience to sit still for that process, either. So I just braided the top and sides, and styled the back with a chiny bump-out (or Bantu knot-out). I just pray Hubby follows my instructions on doing a conditioning rinse for Baby after her lesson, and I hope he can twist and secure Baby’s hair into chiny bumps the way I showed him.
So for two days I will be listening to sessions, conducting interviews and writing and emailing stories. It will be like riding a bicycle, because I’ve done all of that before. This time, though, I’ll be pedaling along on a tandem model with a kiddie sidecar.
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