At Least I Don’t Wear Mom Jeans

Gamma rays

I’ve always bemoaned the lack of short (chin-length not cropped) hair images in magazines. I just like having something to reference when I’m getting a haircut (as I did the week before last in order to take off more brown as the gray starts appearing. No, I haven’t given up my experiment in geriatric coiffing yet).

But I just realized where short hair thrives: TV commercials featuring moms. Sensible, sexless (at least in comparison to luxurious cascading waves) and low maintenance. These ladies are nurturing but no nonsense.

Sometimes these moms can be carefree. But often they’re scolds like the uptight mommy in a high fructose corn syrup ad.

My hair currently looks like a mom who rents from Alamo and reads her teen daughter’s text messages.

So, I have mom hair. But I don’t think I would ever be any of these kinds of moms. I did have a few realizations while watching A Woman Under the Influence last weekend.

First, I realized that I really like Cassevetes films and then it struck me that as much as I’m anti-parent there is a mothering style I find oddly compelling, at least in cinema: the‘70s working class mom. It’s the only parenting style that seems inoffensive to me and by that I think I mean the accidental no rulebook style, kind of melancholy and winging it.

More Ellen Burstyn in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (I suppose TV show Alice, too) than That ‘70s Show’s PTA-ness that’s more a product of nostalgia than of the era. Bonnie Franklin’s Ann Romano in One Day at a Time might fit this mold. I keep thinking Shelly Duval in The Shining but I don’t think that’s quite right. In a more current vein, Sarah Connor might qualify as this type of mom, though she’s not quite carefree enough. You know, staving off Armageddon and all.

They shouldn’t be confused with “cool” moms. Lorelai on Gilmore Girls, Hilda on Ugly Betty, Nancy on Weeds. These are regular moms who might let their kids walk to the corner store or semi-freak out if their husband or boyfriend was giving the children sips of his beer but just for show. They might not baby the kids as much as they should because they’re busy, preoccupied or possibly have an under control addiction or mental problem. Family just happened with no foresight to the future.

Somewhere in the Regan era moms got all controlling and high strung and never stopped. From the child's perspective, I recall lot of ridiculous fear in the ‘80s like the war on drugs, obsessions with kidnapping, latchkey kids, nuclear threats and so on. I have no idea what drives the moms of the fertility-obsessed ‘00s.

7 thoughts on “At Least I Don’t Wear Mom Jeans

  1. I love Cassavetes films, too; I’ve seen WUtI several times (thank you IFC/Sundance).

    i guess i have a slacker/grunge mom ‘do–I refer to it most often as “wash and swear”. It’s straight as a board, won’t take a perm and is sprouting silver strands overnight here and there. My daughter, by stark contrast, has curly thick hair (when she was born a month early, my Jamaican OBGYN gently stroked the tiny waves/ringlets on her head and shot me a knowing glance). I still wonder if they gave me the right kid at L&D… Dad has thick wavy hair, but our kid is curly/unruly… maybe it was the mailman after all? Anyway, I think i fit in with the 70s w/c 00’s cool mom mode, although currently I’m concerned with her eating more vegetables….

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