Recently I got a keratin treatment for my hair. If you don’t know what this is, keratin is a product that eliminates frizzy, curly hair and leaves it straight, shiny, and soft. In short, it’s a miracle in a bottle.
After I received the treatment, I washed my hair and what happened next shook me to my core. My hair was not just straight, it was PIN straight. I couldn’t curl it to save my life. So what did I do? What any normal woman would do when her hair goes awry. I cried.
You might be saying, “But Jennifer, isn’t straight hair what you wanted?” Yes, but not THAT straight. While both my children prefer my hair this way – it’s a much more popular style they tell me, I don’t think I look good in it. I need some wave, some curl and some volume. In short – I need my 80’s hair.
Ahh the 80s… Oops, I digress.
So what does a keratin treatment have to do with parenting – or more importantly, purposeful parenting? Funny you should ask.
I have spent years fighting with my hair and likely even longer fighting other challenges in my life. Tough jobs, crazy schedules, growing a small business, and just being a single mom.
The energy I have spent fighting and resisting these things is immeasurable. I thought I was doing the right thing – you know, persevering through and using my ‘think outside the box’ mentality to change the situation. Going from Plan A to B to, sometimes W all with the goal of bending the situation to my will – to what I wanted.
The result? Frustration, overwhelm and sheer exhaustion on a near-daily basis. Not how I want to live my life.
As I looked in the bathroom mirror after my treatment with a tear-stained face, I realized that this is the hand I’ve been dealt. My once crazy curly hair was now straight and I had to accept that. I had to deal with the situation and make the best of it. I could only do what I could do and trust that the rest would be handled.
In short, I had to surrender. I had to recognize that my now-straight hair was my reality and, more importantly, other challenges in my life were also my reality. I could fight them or I could accept them.
At first, this acceptance thing seemed like I was giving up. And my ‘never say die’ mentality was not about to do that! But then I realized that I was not giving up. I was delegating the situation to a power greater than myself whose Plan B is light years better than any Plan A I could ever have.
In the days following my keratin treatment meltdown, I was faced with many opportunities to abandon my Plan A’s. As I let each of them go, I felt a sense of relief, of freedom and I became re-energized. It was as if I crossed all of these challenges off of my to-do list. I trusted that they’d be taken care of and I didn’t need to spend one more minute worrying about them. Sheer bliss!
This hair-flattening situation taught me that I rely way too much on myself to fix things or to change situations. The lesson I had to learn was trust. Trusting that God has a better plan and I need to work from that plan, not my own. Not coincidentally, all of the inspirational and spiritual readings I had this week were on this topic. Take a look at the book of Job. This guy puts my measly challenges to shame.
Trust. Acceptance. Surrender.
These are tough lessons for this ‘never say die’ mom. But what I can tell you is that my Friday of this past week was oodles better than my Monday simply by letting go of my plans and believing that God’s plans for my week were better.
Now when I’m faced with the mountains of single motherhood, instead of putting on my climbing gear and readying myself to traverse the rocky terrain, I’m going to step back, see the mountain for what it is, do what I can do, and trust God to do the rest.
I may have many bad hair days ahead of me, but with God and a periodic keratin treatment, it’s all good.