posted on my Facebook Page that I didn't think little girls
should be getting manicures and pedicures in salons.
Recently I had
been in a nail salon and there were a slew of young girls in there. Most of
them were whining, some of them were sitting happily with their mothers, a
couple were starring into iPhones, playing a game while their mother stole a
couple of quiet moments.
I glanced down
at my Us Weekly, acutely aware that the cover was embarrassing and the content
was even worse. It is, I confess, a guilty pleasure, and I could feel the seven
year-old next to me stealing glances at it. I sighed and felt annoyed. I had
hired a babysitter, taken the time off to get my nails done, and I felt as if I
were in a little girls’ daycare.
I hate starting
thoughts with, "When I was younger..." I know that it is a lazy way
to make people feel badly, but I had the thought:
was younger, going to the salon was a special experience and often a turning
point for young women becoming teens. Why are these mothers bringing four,
five, and six years-olds here? How is anything special? Earned? Appreciated?
And what about the chemicals? The importance placed on beauty?"
Some moms on my
Facebook page felt attacked by my assertion that little girls should not be
getting their nails done in salons. I get it. They do this special thing with
their daughters and were feeling good about it. They were having a nice
afternoon, sharing a moment, and I come along and pooh-poohed it. They felt
defensive; defensive of their hard work during the week, their decisions to do
the best they can, their decisions to have fun and connect to their girls.
I get it. I do.
I love making my girls happy.
But, that said,
it is my opinion that little girls should not regularly be in salons, getting manicures
and pedicures. Fully acknowledging that I don't think you are a bad mom if you do
this, allow me to offer some reasons why I think little
girls should stay out of the salons:
1) CONNECTION. When it comes to little girls, you
don't need strangers and salons to connect. Setting up a mini-salon at home,
giving each other hand and foot massages, picking from some colors at home,
chatting, listening to music, having a bit of tea, some snacks...this is more
connective for little girls. Why? Young children want and crave your undivided
When you spend
time with your child the brain releases oxytocin (the love chemical); this chemical
helps to bond you and your daughter closer together.
chemical helps your daughter feel physically and emotionally close to you,
which also affects her behaviors. Your daughter feels safe and wanted by
you, so her behavior becomes more relaxed, easier, calmer, more settled.
Her brain does
not release oxytocin with
the nail technician. Why? Your daughter is not attached to her, nor
does she want to be attached to her. Your young daughter wants you.
This brings me
to my second point:
2) SELF-CARE. I think mothers should have an hour to
themselves to get their nails done, for Pete's sake. I don't buy this,
"It's relaxing for me and fun for her!" bit. Fun for your daughter,
yes. Relaxing for you? No. Mothers deserve and need to sit alone, be taken of,
and have their darn feet rubbed! ALONE.
So, your child
wants to be with you? Of course she does. So, go do something with her and then
take care of yourself.
I am watching
mothers cram it all in, and it is not fair to these mothers. It is too much. If
you want your nails done, go get them done. If you feel guilty, ask yourself
why and begin there. If, though, you cannot allow yourself a moment of
relaxation, you have to take a look at that. And if you say, "I have no
time, I don't have help, I have to bring her," take a look at your excuses
and say, "Why am I okay with putting myself last?"
3) LITTLE GIRLS and BEAUTY. I don't think one manicure in a salon,
one make-up experience, (one of anything!) creates a parenting problem. My own
daughters have celebrated birthdays in salons, gotten their nails done for
wedding parties, prettied-up and modeled in the mirror. I don't think that that
experience forces them to grow up too fast, nor does it make them overly aware
of their bodies, ruins their self-esteem, etc. I do think that regular exposure
to this type to activity could lend itself to a lifestyle that grows children
up, too quickly.
being given expensive technology, clothing, watching movies and shows that are
developmentally inappropriate -- it is easy to allow our young daughters to
become in charge and take the "lead" when it comes to beauty and
appearance. Mothers are important role models when it comes to health and
beauty, and there is an unhealthy balance of equality
when everyone is sitting in the pedicure chairs. I think it is
our job to set the expectations and keep our eye on the larger picture. Again,
one manicure does not a brat make, but mothers need to be watchful of who is
leading the way and setting the beauty bar in the relationship.
4) EARNING THE REWARD. As unpopular as this may sound, my
daughters have not earned the treat of getting their nails done. My daughters
can learn that there are places that just belong to hard-working women. A place
where we can open our US Weekly, our novels, surf the net, close our eyes, and
let go. My young daughters should not be there. One day, they will.
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Meghan check out her personal website, like her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter!