It always comes back to this

Well. It happened tonight.

The moment I knew would happen from the moment the doctor told me I was having a girl. Honestly, a moment that I’ve dreaded because how do you discuss such a delicate topic? How will I know that I’ve given her the right mix of advice, wisdom and counseling to know what’s right? How do I keep her from having some of the regrets I’ve experienced?

Now you’re wondering what happened. I’ll tell you.

Caroline looked at me after dinner and said, “I’ve really been thinking about it and I might want bangs.”

And then I got up and poured myself a glass of wine.

Actually, that’s not true. I topped off the glass of wine I was already drinking.

While my heart raced on the inside, I calmly asked, “Why do you think you might want bangs?”

“Oh, I don’t know. Some girls in my class have them and they look adorable.”

Yes. So do Reese Witherspoon and Taylor Swift. How many times have I fallen into that trap? Certainly if Reese Witherspoon’s professional hair stylist can make her bangs look perfect, then I should be able to create those same results with a $3.99 bottle of Tresemme’ mousse, a cheap round brush, and the coordination of a monkey after a bottle of tequila.

But instead of freaking out and going on and on about how a person who thinks that a legitimate hair-styling technique is to go to sleep wearing a Santa hat while her hair is still wet probably isn’t ready for the maintenance that bangs require, I just said, “You know? Summer might be a bad time to try bangs since we’re at the pool almost every day.”

C cocked her head and looked at me like she does when she’s deep in thought and said, “Well, I think maybe I’m ready. And I can always grow them back out if I don’t like them.”

Sure. Let’s go back to those days because it was so much fun to grow them out when you were five. I’m sure it will be even better now that you’re older and a little more emotional.

Anyway, we’ll see what happens.

And, honestly, it’s not Caroline’s fault. The continual internal debate over bangs versus no bangs is part of her genetic makeup. I have cut bangs and loved them for two weeks and I have cut bangs and regretted it immediately. I have spent months of my life attempting to blow dry my bangs into submission and years clipping them back with bobby pins as they grew out. Yet I continue to pin pictures of hairstyles on Pinterest that involve bangs and never fail to ask my hairdresser if I should do it all over again.


(I’m including this picture as a visual aid. I cannot look at it without thinking maybe this time will be the time that it will all come together for me. Dang, Reese, you do me so wrong.)

To my hairdresser’s credit she doesn’t roll her eyes and throw me out of her chair when I show her the above picture for the 164th time. She just quietly discourages me as she reminds me that I have an unfortunate cowlick that keeps my bangs from lying flat the way good bangs should and that it never ends well.

Which I guess means my bangs have a lot in common with this post.

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  1. says

    I just cut my bangs after a year of not having them. My long forehead just needs them though the humidity has reminded me lately why I enjoyed not having to take care of them.

  2. says

    oh my goodness, this is so timely! I just decided after YEARS of having bangs, to grow them out. I find they get in the way when i’m all hunched over trying to nurse our first baby. So i’m growing them out. But i keep seeing super cute pics of people with bangs. if only we could have it all, ha! if you figure it out, let me know :)

  3. Tara says

    So timely…I just got my hair cut & colored last week and at the last minute my stylist & I decided I needed side bangs. I don’t know why. I hate hair touching my face, it’s a sensory thing. But we did & the one & only day that they looked cute was the day she did my hair. Everyday since then I’ve been wearing them back with my sunglasses. So, I either need my head examined or a daily blowout by my stylist to keep my hair looking decent.

  4. says

    Bad bangs are a right of passage. I’ve had more than my fair share of horrifying experiences. Noteworthy: my first week in college, I was too broke for a real haircut, so I cut them to a miniscule length all by myself. They were an inch long, and will forever be immortalized on my Freshmen ID.

  5. traci says

    Noooooooooooo!!!!!!! Tell her if she does them in the summer then she will have a white forehead and the rest of her face will be tan and when she goes swimming and slicks her hair back she will look two toned and then her forehead will burn. Ask me how I know or better yet ask my then 10 year old daughter who decided she needed bangs so badly she accidentally cut her hair in a perfeclyt straight line just at her eyebrows.

  6. Christi says

    No, no, no, no, no!!!! Refuse the bangs!! My 11 year old INSISTED on bangs last summer. Worst.experience.ever.

  7. Cara says

    You need to instill in her the recognition that being able to NOT have bangs and still look lovely is a GIFT, a gift from The Lord.
    I have had bangs all my life (well from age 10 and on, and all the pictures before that feature an alarming amount of forehead and unfortunately thick eyebrow. Yes, singular)
    I NEED bangs, and my favorite hairstyles are all inner longings for free flowin hair with nary a bang in sight. I dream of allowing my forehead to see the light of day…
    The reason I’ve been able to embrace the necessary bang is due to the fact that I AM CANADIAN. There is no humidity here. None. The times I’ve visited climates with humidity my skin rejoiced at no longer feeling like beef jerky, but my bangs? No. Just, no. I destroy all pictures. Well, that’s not true, I’m the mom, and I’m never in the pictures anyhow.
    Anyhow, tell her if she wants bangs she will have to move to Canada, and likely wouldn’t survive the flash freeze.

  8. Jasmine says

    I am in your boat, I have a terrible cowlick that basically stands one side of my bangs straight up and off at an angle that no hairstylists would ever love. I always forget about it until after I cut bangs, but I kept a picture from my last bang fiasco to remind my self. I pull it out from time to time, if I had mice I might use it instead of traps as the picture is that frightening. I refer to it as my gut check!

  9. Melissa says

    Oh dear goodness, the timeliness of this post. Daughter is 14 decides she wants bangs. Being of similar curly hair persuasion, I caution her with the time-honored “but your bangs will be really curly when your hair is so much shorter in front.” but Moooooooom, I want them. Okay – you can have them, but you can’t complain when you don’t like them. She does, in fact, look adorable as we leave the hairdresser. Fast forward 4 weeks. Gym has begun in school, and we start off the August fall term with Swimming. After about 6 days of this, she says, and I quote, “I’m going to grow out my bangs. They just stick up everywhere and I look dumb all day.”
    Currently in pinning back the bangs with bobby pins mode.

  10. Colorado says

    Keep the scissors away from her! Oh, I’m pretty sure that Reese is wearing a wig in that photo 😉

  11. says


    The intro absolutely cracked me up. I have had the same “girl worries” since my daughter was born. She is only 3, but she already fights me every day on even putting a barrette in her hair. She has no bangs, as was the wisdom from my younger sister, who I defer to all things hair/make up/fashion-related. She told me this:

    “Do not give her bangs. Mom gave you bangs when you were 4, and you had the same hairstyle for the next 29 years. Don’t do it.”

    So I didn’t. And it was the right decision. But I fear the day when she brings it up herself, because she will fight me on it tooth and nail (and hair follicle) because that’s just who she is.

    And after 29 years, I finally did give up the bangs. Just not on purpose. Life got so busy after my 2nd baby was born, and I had to cancel a hair cut for something and didn’t reschedule it for like 3 months, and alas, it became bang grow out time. And finally — FINALLY! — the bangs were no more.

    But that picture of Reese is pretty darn cute…. Hmm…

  12. says

    I’m laughing because I feel your pain. I will forever be grateful for the stylist who talked me down from my temporary I-must-have-bangs-at-once insanity when I was 8 months pregnant with my first.

    Hope Caroline’s bang experience doesn’t end in tears.

  13. says

    Occasionally my almost 9-year-old will ask for bangs. All I have to do is show her the picture of the last time she had them (when she was 18 months old). They made her head look like a giant basketball. That keeps her quiet for about 6 months or so. And when that fails, I remind her that with bangs, we will have to go get them trimmed. A LOT. She hates to get her hair trimmed.

    Hoping I can keep her bang free until she’s out of the house! Then she can whine about her horrible bangs to her roommates in college like I always did!

  14. Kassi J says

    I completely understand the unfortunate cowlick situation, but combine that with a widow’s peak, and I have no choice but to choose the bangs. I have been doing the semi-side swept bangs (mind you, not as adorably as the celebrities) since before it was cool because I finally decided to give up the battle and let the cowlick do its thing. It always ended up winning the battle anyway, so why fight it?

  15. Susan says

    I think she would look DARLING! Let her try it. Of course I don’t have to live with the misery that would be Caroline growing them back out:)

  16. says

    I think celebrities wear wigs on the red carpet to drive us common folk crazy.

    I have fallen into the bang pitfall many times and regretted it after I wash my hair on day three after my cut (yes I wait three days because I know it will never look the same when I style if myself). Thankfully my eight year old twins have not asked for bangs yet. When they do, I have pictures of myself with bangs to show them and I think that might scare them enough not to get them.

  17. says

    I’m sorry, but the “coordination of a monkey after a bottle of tequila” sent me straight to youtube to find this video for you of drunk monkeys in St. Kitts! Tell me you’ve seen it! (It becomes quite hilarious after the 2 minute mark).

    And I think bad bangs are a rite of passage…something to look back and laugh about in her less dramatic twenties! But you will need tequila to walk that road until then!

  18. says

    Unfortunately, bangs is a lesson we all must learn on our own, sometimes multiple times throughout life. I’m not pro-bang for myself, ever ever ever (still healing from the 80’s), but if Caroline wants bangs, it might be better to do it now and get it over with. That way they can grow through the summer, and you can pin them back with a barrette or bobby pin once school starts up again. Also, if she learns this lesson now, it may be enough to protect her from having a horrible Senior picture or something. OR, it’s possible that they could be super-seriously-cute, and she could have them for the rest of her life! Fingers crossed.

  19. Carrie D says

    Oh my word, this is hilarious. I guess the reason I find this so funny is that I had this conversation with my 10 yr old just 2 mos ago. I tried so hard to talk her out of it…it’s a big commitment, you’ll have to fix them yourself, what about when we go to the lake, yadda yadda yadda. I lost. She got them and loved them for all of 2 weeks. They have grown out some and we now have a hormonal sheepdog living in her room. Maybe we’ll get the side bangs going by the time school starts in the fall.

  20. Laura says

    “…a person who thinks that a legitimate hair-styling technique is to go to sleep wearing a Santa hat while her hair is still wet…” is totally my 11 yo daughter! Hers is a pink sparkly number. Gotta have that bling! Thanks for bringing out my “snort” laugh today.

  21. Mary says

    This is an incredible post, and it basically reflects the story of my life. May I just add though that I also fall into the trap of thinking my hair will look adorable as a trendy bob. I always think chopping my hair off will make me look Reese Witherspoon does with her short hair, AND IT NEVER DOES, AND I NEVER DO. Life as a woman in the south trying to make cute hair happen can just be so hard. Thanks for making me laugh today!

  22. says

    It’s funny what the universal problems turn out to be. :) I just got my bangs cut longer than I have had them for the last – oh, I won’t say because that will tell my age – years. I like them better with my changing hair, but I still haven’t learned how to blow dry them yet.

  23. says

    I have a cowlick but I also have what my sister-in-law would call a “fivehead”, so I keep bangs. My dear mom always said a high forehead was a sign of intelligence. Good one, mom!

  24. says

    Ah . . . the great bang dilemma. You’d think that God would have completely solved that matter for me years ago when the hair I finally got at almost THREE years old was curly. I’ve spent years agonizing and throwing an arm protectively across my forehead in an attempt at keeping my then current hairdresser from chopping the bangs that shrink like an all-cotton shirt in a hot dryer.

    If Caroline’s persistence wears you down, just think of all the cute hair accoutrement you can purchase in attempting to grow those babies back out. Clips, headbands and barrettes, oh my! Or, better yet, check into clip in bangs at your local salon. Bangs for a bit, and voila! No lengthy commitment. Ha!

  25. Marie M.C. says

    Bangs? No bangs? No idea for Caroline. I had bangs for twenty years and loved them. But, I will say the picture of you and Caroline at her school Mother’s day tea was so sweet — and the both of you look lovely — without bangs.

  26. says

    Oh so true!! I get bangs and grow them out, get them and grow them out. They usually don’t look that bad, but then I forget how difficult it is to get them out of my face when I don’t want to wash my hair, just my face…

  27. says

    I, too go back and forth on bangs. Not because I find them difficult to manage or anything like that. Because I am just too lazy to go get them trimmed! And my hair grows really fast. Currently, I’ve been rocking the side bang, which really works for my hair because I have a cowlick that is actually hidden by bangs. But last night I realized they are just about longer than my face and either 1) I’m going to have to find a hair cut place in my new town or 2) I’m going to have to plan a trip to my old lady (8 hours away) very soon.

    I think I like option 2 the best…

  28. Stephanie Zapata says

    I so hear you on the hair issue…my daughter didn’t want bangs but she wanted her hair SHORT…not oh that’s cute short, but up to her chin SHORT! I kept reminding her that she has REALLY thick hair and a strange wave in only one section of the back of her head that would add about 10-15 minutes to MY morning routine where I yield a flat iron to her unruly hair. She’s in 1st grade, mind you, so as far as I’m concerned her hair should take 5 minutes TOPS. We compromised and she cut it right to her shoulders. I still have to whip out the flat iron every other day to tame her crazy wave but she’s happy and therefore I’m happy. Maybe there’s a compromise of layers or face framing “bangs”? Or there’s always the almighty Mama VETO? But, I definitely agree NO BANGS for summer in Texas!!

  29. says

    That pic of Reese should really be banned from the Internet, because it is ALWAYS my downfall in going for The Big Bang, too.

  30. says

    Well I am now in the bobby pin phase of bangs and have been for several months. I have now forbidden my 8 year-old daughter from getting bangs. I would say bangs and I are not on good terms.

  31. says

    I remember being that age and asking my mom the same thing. I wanted bangs because Stacie (Fergie) from Kids Incorporated had them and I thought I needed to look just like her. But they are a lot of maintenance and the humid weather never allowed them to look like anything except a sweaty plastered mess stuck to my forehead.

  32. Lydia says

    I succumbed to the bangs about 2 years ago and have loved them the majority of the time. I tend to do more a side swept style than the straight down, almost in your eyes style that Taylor Swift has going on. While I’m fortunate to have 2 boys and don’t have to deal with the bangs drama from anyone else in my house, I have to share their reaction when I got my bangs. I picked them up from school that day and they both just stared at me. Finally the youngest says, “Your hair looks…wet or something.” The oldest says “You look so weird. Like you’re not even my mom. I miss the way you used to look with regular hair.” Somehow I stuck with the bangs after all that.

  33. says

    Oh man I completely know. I had perfect, straight bangs as a child so maybe there’s hope for Caroline? These days I do my hair every morning and say “I hate my bangs” then I look at every picture of myself with a big forehead and think “I really need bangs.” I keep the bobby pin companies in business. Also, I think it’s so funny that she used the word “adorable.”

  34. Angela says

    Oh, my! Love your post, as always!!! Well, here is my Big Bang Theory…perhaps let Caroline try the ‘in between look’? Or maybe you’d say the indecisive look — somewhat of a bang and somewhat grown out? This would be that perfect long bang length. Past your nose. Just above the top lip. Still a bang, but enough to get some volume as it’s swept over to the side…?Your topic makes me laugh b/c we all can think of moments in our Bang Lives! Currently, I JUST realized that my bangs are probably getting too long for my face so, hence. The scissors are coming out. Or possibly my razor. As in the one I use to shave my legs. (Hey, haven’t you all heard of the razor cut??) (Seriously, a nice razor can cut a nice choppy long bang look.) Anyway, I know you’ll steer her in the right direction and she’ll be as beautiful as always!!

  35. Amanda says

    I finally settled this debate once and for all about 5 years ago. The answer, for me, is NO. NO, NO, NO. They just do not work on me. There’s freedom in the relenting. :)

  36. Cara says

    When we found out we were having a girl, my husband said “We are not doing the bangs-starting-at-the-middle-of-her-head look like you had for years as a kid.” Agreed. She has never had bangs. She’s almost 5 and hasn’t asked for them even when her friends have gotten them – which by the way looks ridiculous on little kids because in order to not have to cut small children’s hair frequently my friends cut their kids’ bangs to be about an inch long at first. I’m a terrible person for having to try so hard not to laugh every time they get a haircut.
    I had bangs until my senior year of high school. Grew them out then and didn’t get them again until 3 months ago (which is 12 years since high school). They’re side swept and I love them but she cut them too short at first, so they were straight across my forehead for a week which I actually liked – it had just been so long since I had had them!

  37. Carrie M says

    My hairdresser has a knack for begin able to talk me out of heavy bangs. However, this last time she recommended I go buy some “clip in” bangs to get them out of my system. Ken Paves brand is carried at Ulta and they are $25. TOTALLY WORTH IT! I can try them out and fool even my closest of friends, and then take them out. So so so fun! I feel like a different person. You should try them!!!

  38. Jennifer says

    I have loved Amy Grant too since I was a kid!!! Would love to hear her new music!!