“As a dad, there are many things I have no idea about. Doing my daughter’s hair isn’t one of them.”
There are loads of things I have no idea about. Raising a daughter pretty much tops that list! But dads just do, don’t they? Parents just figure it out. And in the last four years, I’ve been doing a lot of “figuring out” of things.
I don’t really know why I care so much about doing my daughter’s hair, but I do. I’m definitely not a hairdresser, I don’t have sisters, I never grew up around this sort of thing, and the time spent on my own hair is minimal. But for some reason, I want to do a decent job of hers.
I remember she arrived home from nursery one day (at around the age of two), with a fairly good braid as you can see. One of the staff had done it and I thought, “I’m not having that!” – not because “how dare they?” but more, “how dare they do a better job than me!”
I’m the parent, right? I should provide my daughter, and now also my son, with the very best I have to give, right? That doesn’t mean that I push myself to breaking points, but it does mean that as a dad, I simply try to do my best. Sometimes that’s a lot, other times it’s not as much, but it’s always my best.
So I thought, well, why can’t I do her hair? Why shouldn’t it be me who does that? So I did. And believe me, there were tears!
Being a primary school teacher for the last 15 years has taught me a few things about learning, and one of those things is that to get really good at anything, you need to be prepared to invest time. To get reasonably OK at something, you still need time. Even to blag something takes effort. So I started from scratch. Ponytails, bunches, a plait.
What no one told me, is that by simply giving her my time and my best effort (whatever that currently is), the relationship between us would become stronger. She’s present, patient, tolerant of my mistakes; she encourages me, and then, when it all goes wrong, she’s forgiving and still gives me a cuddle. I can’t ask for more, really.
My wife has also had to develop her patience with me – especially when we need to get somewhere and I’ve just pulled it all out to start again. She’s also a critical friend, who also reminds me from time to time not to run before I can walk. “Stick to the plaits for now,” she’ll say.
Yeah, alright… for now.
I don’t do her hair every day; it’s mostly on the weekends. And now I find myself missing it when I can’t. That’s just the thing: I enjoy it, for lots of different reasons.
Maybe it’s because no one expects me to be any good at it, that I work hard at it…
I’m new to the social media world, too, so showing the world what I’ve learnt is daunting. I don’t have many tips, but all anyone needs when starting out is a comb, a few elastics, a bit of courage and self-belief. When you’re looking to learn, there’s a lot to be found online. I’m self-taught through online tutorials mostly, and the ‘hair community’ has been nothing but supportive.
Maybe it’s because no one expects me to be any good at it, that I work hard at it. That’s a shame, really. I hope that changes because even though I hear dads say to their children, “You can do it!” all the time, there may need to be more people saying the same thing to us.
The only standard that counts for me, is her. Her smile, and the time we have before she decides that she no longer wants me to do her hair. That’s a day I’ll never look forward to.
Giving time for my wife, my daughter and my son and giving them all my best is something I’m still learning. And maybe after all this, one day, I’ll have more of an ‘idea’ about a lot more than just doing her hair.
Steve Crooks is a dad of two. You can find him (and his daughter’s hairstyles) on Instagram here.