If all else fails, you can blame Mom

By Lori Clinch

Everyone knows that raising a family is not cheap. Even with hand-me-downs, clothing is expensive. New sneakers will put you in the poor house and health insurance costs more than the monthly mortgage.

If a person took the time to tally what it takes to feed four hungry mouths, along with an overzealous Lab, she would really put herself into a tailspin.

I have always been one to cut corners where I could. I clipped coupons, purchased generic food and when push came to shove, I washed and reused disposable silverware.

One day, after taking all four of our sons to the salon, watching them wreak havoc on the barber’s chairs before being presented with a pricey bill, I decided that I could really cut corners by doing cutting their locks myself.

I ordered up a slick little video, enjoyed a quick demonstration and then patted myself on the back for finding a way to save a chunk of change along with my sanity.

I must admit that I made a blunder or two along the way. I failed to do a good “fade,” I made a mistake when I mistook a request for “short bangs” for “no bangs,” and I occasionally sent my little charges off to school with a slightly askew hairline.

Most likely, my worst blunder was in my early hair-cutting stages when I put the wrong guide comb on the clipper and darn near shaved the back of one of their heads clean with the first swipe. In doing so, I gave the poor lad a reverse mullet.

Not my most shining moment.

If I hadn’t laughed myself sick, the blunder might have gone smoother, but what is one to do?

There was forgiveness, but the mistake certainly was never forgotten.

After that, they dubbed me the Kitchen Butcher. Yet I persevered because we had enough money left over at the end of the month to buy name-brand green beans.

My haircuts weren’t stellar, but I must say I was not the worst stylist around the house. No sir, that little guy presented himself on the day he found a pair of scissors and hacked into his own curly locks.

“Look mommy,” our kindergartner said as he proudly appeared at my side. “I cut my own hair! Do you want me to cut yours next?”

I looked down at the little guy and saw that he had not only hacked into his bangs, but had extended his styling skills to the top of his head and heaven help me if my little 5-year-old didn’t look like a before photo for a hair restoration commercial.

Worse yet, we hadn’t much time before he had to be in school and there was no time to fix it. Even if I had the time, there was nothing in my instructional video for fixing it!

I called his teacher right away to forewarn her, in hopes of doing a little damage control. I then tried to play it down to my little guy as I drove him to school, telling him there are more important things than appearances and the world is full of people with different hairdos and this cut might even be in style in a decade or two.

Knowing that sometimes kids can be cruel, I spent the afternoon worried sick about him. I was concerned the other kids might laugh at him, call him “Butch” and make him feel bad about his unsightly hairstyle.

The afternoon passed as slowly as molasses in January and the hands of time all but stood still. I tried to think about other things, gave a shout out to the good Lord above and wrung my hands with worry.

I realized my anxiety was all for naught the second my little guy appeared. He skipped out of school with his little backpack in tow and carried with him nary a care in the world.

“Did everything go OK today?” I asked as we pulled out of the school parking lot.

“You bet!” he replied enthusiastically.

“Did anyone say anything about your haircut?”

“Yep!” he replied. Then without missing a beat he added, “But it was OK, Mom. I just told them all that you were the one that cut my hair.”

Lori Clinch is the mother of four sons and the author of the book “Are We There Yet?” You can reach her by sending an email to loriclinch2010@gmail.com.