Like most supermoms, I wear many capes. I’m a drama teacher by day, an actress by night, as well as a geeky mom, hot wife, and writer.
I was born with an extra dose of confidence and have never been one to worry about what other people think of me. I handle rejection like a seasoned pro and because of this, I have always felt free to dress the way I want to and express my various fandoms out loud for other people to see.
For example, when I drop my kids off at school, I might wear some Hello Kitty shoes with bright pink pants, a Doctor Who belt, and a Harry Potter jacket. Or I may wear my R2-D2 dress or Cinderella costume to promote my drama classes. I am no stranger to a raised eyebrow or sly smiles from onlookers. All of this was “normal” for my two kids until my daughter, the oldest, turned 11.
It all started with my daughter’s rejection of Hello Kitty. “Uh, I don’t want this Hello Kitty shirt anymore.” She threw it in my room and ran away, afraid of my response.
But I was 11 once, too. I remember suddenly being aware that people were looking at me. And worse, they looked like they were judging me. I decided I didn’t want to wear the skirts that my mom handmade for her and me to match. And I put my foot down when it came to the color yellow. No yellow. My mom begged me to wear a yellow dress once and I told her I hated it so much that I would throw up on it. And I did.
So based on my own experiences, I was certainly not going to push my daughter to wear Hello Kitty if she didn’t want to. I also remember wondering if my parents were “normal” or if they were “different” for their own choices. I knew I would have to address my daughter soon because there was no way I was going to outgrow my Hello Kitty phase! After all, Hello Kitty and I had just turned 40 together!
The opportunity for our little talk came from an unexpected place. I had made a public comment on Twitter about how I wished I could wear a rainbow wig to school because the other moms were going to judge me anyway and I might as well have some fun.
— Christi Pedigo (@christipedigo) April 10, 2015
I’m not saying all the moms at school are gossiping busybodies, but there are those few moms out there that can’t hide the fact that they think I look ridiculous.
I’m sure lots of moms experience this when they wear workout gear, have on a nice business suit, show their tattoos, or have blue hair… Basically, there is always someone looking us over and you can’t impress everyone. The kind of moms that give me “that look” seem to think less of me, but I don’t care. I had a feeling my daughter had seen me receive one of those looks from her friend’s mom. I wanted her to know that I didn’t care what that mom thought.
Anyway, after I posted that tweet, one of my tweeps (Twitter followers whom I’ve actually never met in person, but they watch my YouTube videos and seem nice) dared me to pick up my kids while wearing a rainbow wig and see what happens. Of course, I immediately agreed! And then I realized that while my 7-year-old son probably wouldn’t care, my daughter might be mortified and humiliated for life. So I called her in for a little chat.
“Listen, I’m going to pick you and your brother up from school in a few days wearing a rainbow wig…” I started.
“What? Why? Why would you do that?” My daughter’s eyes got really big.
“It’s like a dare, one of my online fans suggested it and I think it would be fun.” This is where I got nervous because my window of influence over my daughter was closing fast and I hoped there was enough of an opening for her to really hear me out.
“You can’t do this to me! My friends will totally laugh at me!” She was starting to panic.
“Actually, I don’t think they will. I have a plan.” It’s the plan that I used when I was a kid, and I was secretly hoping it would work for my kids too. “I realized when I was a kid that if I admired and looked up to my parents, then my friends would too. If you give them a head’s up and you act like you think it’s totally cool and really fun, then your friends will too. If you act embarrassed, then they might pick up on that and tease you.”
“But it is embarrassing. Your parents didn’t wear weird clothes or wigs,” she sighed.
“True, but my dad did tape the center of his broken glasses way before Harry Potter ever did. Trust me, it’s all in how you handle it. Just fake it, pretend like I am the coolest person you know. They will follow you if you lead. Say to them, ‘My mom is so brave, she doesn’t care what other people think,’ or ‘I love that my mom is different, she’s so happy and fun!'” I wasn’t trying to put words into her mouth… Okay, yes I was.
She looked at me for a minute as if she was trying to figure me out and then she said, “Well, it is kind of brave because you know that not everyone will think it’s cool. You’re going to get some seriously dirty looks.” I detected a note of concern in her tone.
“That’s OK,” I insisted, “those moms aren’t my friends. My friends are the ones that will come up to me and say, ‘Oh my gosh, that is a great wig! Where did you get it? How fun!’ And frankly, those are the people I want to hang out with anyway. So maybe the rainbow wig will just help me figure out who my real friends are.” I could see her hamster running faster in the wheel now.
“All right, Mom. Let’s do it and see what happens.”
I am proud to say that Operation Rainbow Wig was a huge success!
Sure, I did get one or two of “those looks” but so many other moms, moms I didn’t even know, came up to me to tell me how much they liked the wig. My son thought it was fun and his class mobbed around me to feel my fake hair. They all thought I looked like Rainbow Dash from My Little Pony. Score! And my daughter’s friends? They all rushed over with her to take selfies with me because I was such a cool geek mom.
Got a hug from my son! So many kids *and* moms came over to tell me how much they liked it. Some 😐😲😩😮 but overall fun pic.twitter.com/9QqoBfeHeG
— Christi Pedigo (@christipedigo) April 14, 2015
Photo: Niki Lee