Among all my other motherly duties is the job of keeping my kids from looking like little ragamuffins. They would, indeed, go out into the world with uncombed hair, dirty faces, ripped dirty clothes, etc - generally you get the idea - if I wasn't here making sure they walk out into the world looking like the child of someone who actually cares.
I read somewhere, a few years back, and I really wish I could remember where, an essay by a white woman who had adopted African-American children, and she wrote about the obligation to take care of their hair as it was explained to her by a black mother, as being a cultural obligation to make sure that your children are obviously valued and loved. I really wish I could find that essay again - so if you know what I'm talking about please send me the link!
There is a sort of hippy-kid look that lets them dress however they want that is very popular in my social circle, and there is a norm for the kids to be allowed to choose their own "look". I have to walk a line with that and with my own feelings on the matter. Really, I kind of like the look of kids in school uniforms with matching crew cuts. Honestly - I really like that! I think it's because I was one of those hippy kids and all that freedom of self-expression just never seemed that great to me or all it was cracked up to be.
OK, long story short - I've got both the kids' hair cut and I'm very happy that they're looking less scruffy!