When All They Can Talk About is Their Kids—and You Don’t Have Any

The beauty salon is a dangerous place for childless women, not just because of the sharp instruments and the danger of a horrible haircut or a tragic dye job. Been there, but that’s not what I’m talking about today.

Since the stylist I had for years cut my hair so short just before my father’s funeral that I felt bald, I have been seeking the right person. It has been a journey. In this journey, I have repeatedly found myself in the land of MOMS. Yes, capital letter MOMS.

There was the Vietnamese woman who wielded her scissors like a chainsaw while talking at her teenage daughter in Vietnamese. There was the heavyset woman whose kid was hanging around for lack of a babysitter and required a lot of attention. Okay, stuff happens. I understand. But their focus was on their children, not on my hair.

The stylist I dumped most recently was late because of a ride situation with her kid. Okay. Things happen. Then she kept leaving me mid-cut to text with her husband about her kid. Not so okay. She barely paid attention to me. But I liked my haircut, so I went back.

The next time, she spent the whole haircut talking with a co-worker about their kids and their baseball teams. All I got to say was, “Just a trim, not too short.” Yeah, I’m just another old lady getting her graying hair cut, but I’m a person. This time, my haircut wasn’t that great, and she applied so much “product” I couldn’t even get a comb through it.

Moving on, I tried the salon next to Safeway. I think I may have found my person. I love my hair. But I will probably lose her in a few months because she is hugely pregnant with her second child. As she cut my hair, her belly bumped up against me. I didn’t mind. It was soft and somehow comforting, and I thought it would be really fun if I felt the baby move. I didn’t. I asked about her children. One at home, one in the oven. Naturally, she asked about mine. “I never had any,” I said. In the awkward silence that followed, I quickly changed the subject.

Some types of work are dominated by young mothers. Managing hair is one of them. The stylists can arrange their schedules around their children’s needs and hang out with other young mothers doing the same. It requires some training but not a four-degree or 60-hour work weeks. That’s all good, but we have nothing to talk about.

I have also encountered the mom-centric talk with the hygienists at the dentist’s office. Mine is super-involved with her kids soccer team. I usually hang out with people closer to my own age. If they are moms, their children are grown up and usually living somewhere else. Yes, they sometimes get busy with the grandchildren, but most of the time we are living similar lives. The beauty salon is a different world.

How about you? Have you experienced places in your day-to-day life where you find yourself surrounded by moms or dads talking about parenting and making you feel left out? Where? How did you feel? Did you try to fit in? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

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5 thoughts on “When All They Can Talk About is Their Kids—and You Don’t Have Any

  1. Yes ! My husband’s workplace is a university setting. His coworkers are mostly men and all are Engineers. There are a lot of events where it is customary for spouse’s to also attend. The wives get together & make small talk and the talk is invariably all about the children. And as we have aged, along with the children, nothing has changed. Now the talk is filled with the latest news about the grandkids. I have never felt so alone as when attending these events.

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  2. I can sympathise with Carolyn – having worked in a company full of engineers! – plus I’m married to one lol. My husband has one group of friends where the men all tend to hang out together – even before I tried to have children, I had nothing in common with the wives. When I had pregnancy losses, I stopped seeing them altogether. DH has recently reconnected, but I haven’t. I have an excuse (they share a hobby that I don’t), and don’t feel bad at all! lol

    My favourite hairdresser for years (until he left the country – sob) was gay – he was perfect for avoiding the “kids” conversations. Though sadly, I can’t/won’t afford that salon any longer. Largely, I haven’t had those issues here – I wonder if it’s a different country/cultural thing? Anyway, I would definitely dump any hairdresser who didn’t give me their full attention, so I’m very glad you have done that!.

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    • I was lucky my husband didn’t have that kind of social group, but I know a lot of women get caught in similar situations. As for the hairdressers, it might be cultural. Here in small-town USA, most of them are young women who put themselves through beauty school as a way to support their kids, but it might be totally different elsewhere.

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