Fighting Perfectionism :: What I Learned When My Daughter Gave Herself a Hair Cut

Fighting perfectionism. What I learned when my daughter gave herself a hair cut. A photograph of a pair of scissors.

I have been a dance mom for the last four years, and during those years one statement I have repeated many times is, “We don’t get hair cuts until after recital.” This is due to the fact that my daughters have to wear perfectly slicked back high buns. It’s a multi-step process that includes gel, hairspray and many many bobby pins. The process is more difficult if your daughter has shorter or layered hair. Normally, the week after recital I take my girls to get their summer haircuts, but until then no matter how stringy it looks, we do not do haircuts. 

The Hair Cut

A girl with her hair shorter around her face.

I am telling you this to help you understand why my heart dropped when I heard my husband say, “Did you cut your hair?” My youngest daughter responded in confidence, “It is just a little trim.” I yelled, “What? What did you do?” as I walked around the corner to see that Morgan had taken it upon herself to update her look just two weeks before her dance recital. 

I’m no child expert, but I believe experimenting with scissors and hair is normal. My oldest daughter had spiked bangs when she was younger and while I did not personally cut my own hair as a child you should have seen my poor Barbies. And I will spare you the horror of the damage I did when I found my mother’s razor – let’s just say it evolved my eyebrows. I mean, I could have walked into something much worse.

Now let me be honest, that positive this could have been worse spin on the situation did not come to the forefront of my mind until after I had a bit of a meltdown. The new hairdo was not “a little trim”. My sweet girl gave herself a style made popular {and should always remain} in the 80s. Yes, she gave herself a full-on mullet. From the front, she had a bob that ended below her ear on one side and above her ear on the other. She must have had difficulty reaching the back of her hair since a few locks still hung to the middle of her back. 

Pacifying My Perfectionism

It’s hard to admit, but it took me a few days to realize that my freaking out about her uneven haircut was affecting my daughter negatively.  And each time I asked, “What are we going to do about your hair?” I was throwing some pretty serious shame her way.  

You see, Morgan cut her hair for a reason. She shared with her sister that my constant asking of her to push her hair out of her face had become irritating, so she decided to solve the problem. I took note that she really was hearing me when I repeated “push your hair back” millions of times and that her problem-solving skills are on point. 

In the days that followed her haircut, I attempted to pacify my own perfectionism by putting her hair up with the help of many cute clips. This only lasted a few days then Morgan began to refuse to have her hair up, she wanted to show off her new haircut. She loved it and saw nothing wrong with her new style. 

When people would notice her hairstyle, Morgan would proudly say, “I cut it myself” to which most would respond, “well, you did a really good job”. And honestly, she really did a pretty decent job given she cut her hair with blunt tip school scissors and didn’t even look into a mirror.  

It’s Just Hair

A girl with hair short around her face and side of her head and long in the back.

After a long self debate I decided to just go with her new style and as I write this {a month after scissor-gate took place} I still have not corrected Morgan’s haircut.  She is happy with her new look, she solved a problem, and she is proud of how well it turned out. So I decided if other mothers allow their children to have pink or blue hair during their summer break I will silence my perfectionism to allow for my daughter’s mullet. In the end, it is just hair, right? And it will grow back {or we will get a back-to-school haircut}, so if she is not embarrassed by her hair then I shouldn’t be either. 

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Fighting perfectionism. What I learned when my daughter gave herself a hair cut. A photograph of a pair of scissors. Logo: Houston moms blog.


  1. I couldn’t be that patient. My youngest son took a pair of kitchen shears and hacked chunks of hair off the side of his head. When I saw it, I was surprised he did it as my husband gives him his haircuts and he likes the way he cuts his hair and he even lets him know when he wants one. Hubby saw the results and said let’s go downstairs and I will fix this for you. He agreed that would be a good idea. He informed me that he would have to cut it shorter than usual to get it evened out. I told him to do what you need to. And I told my older son that being hubby was doing his brother’s hair, he might as well get his haircut as well as he was due. I never cut my own hair when I was a chil, but my younger sister cut her bangs once.


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