My new book, “Brown Babies Pink Parents”, is officially six weeks old and I am thoroughly enjoying the feedback pouring into my inbox, especially about the chapter on hair. Every adoptive mother has a story to tell about learning to comb their daughter’s hair. Some are tremendously funny and others aren’t so much. The most frequently asked question I receive as the white mother of African American daughters has to be about the hair and I am so proud to say, “I did it!” It wasn’t easy to learn how to care for my children’s hair and my mission is now to pass along those hair lessons to other mothers. If nothing else, I want to say, “Don’t be afraid! Give it a try and then practice. You can do it!”
For this purpose, I have created the Ten Commandments of Black Hair Care for White Parents, as found in Chapter 8 of “Brown Babies Pink Parents.”
- Thou shalt not wash your child’s hair every day.
- Thou shalt not treat your child’s hair as your do your own.
- Thou shalt apply oil to your child’s scalp daily.
- Thou shalt comb hair on a regular basis despite tears, screams, and tantrums.
- Thou shalt commit yourself to learning the art of hair maintenance.
- Thou shalt seek professional help from a licensed stylist when in doubt.
- Thou shalt practice, practice, practice.
- Thou shalt avoid sandboxes.
- Though shalt not take every piece of advice offered to you regarding hair and skin.
- Though shalt not let younger children style their own hair.
I can’t imagine how you could go wrong if you follow these simple guidelines. The rest is gravy! Specific styles can be learned. The important thing is to open yourself to the experience of learning a new skill. I have a creative freedom with my children’s hair that I will never know with my own. When I was a little girl, there were 3 hair styles available to me —one pony tail, two pony tails, or French braids, which I now know originated in Africa, not France. Not so for my girls! My children’s hair can be shaped and sculpted into a multitude of styles, making me feel like a hair artist. Yes, learning a new skill can be intimidating, but only as long as you allow yourself to be intimidated. Isn’t your baby love worth it?