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[[quoteright:350:[[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/trishaelric.png]]]]

One good way to show how sweet and caring a mother is, is to depict her with her hair tied in a loose plait or ponytail and put on her shoulder. For some reason, this detail immediately tells the audience, "Hey, this mom has to be nice and gentle!"

This can be explained by the fact that mothers usually have less time to spend on their appearance than other women. Since the makers of a show probably don't want to make their characters ugly, one way to demonstrate motherhood is to give her a low-maintenance hairstyle. [[{{Housewife}} Housewives]] (most likely to be the mothers of young children) also need a hairstyle that's going to stay out of the way when they're doing housework and cleaning up. This may or may not come with an apron to further emphasize their motherhood. Since the hair is only tied up loosely, it creates a soft, relaxed, gentle appearance. Putting the hair over the shoulder allows you to see her hairstyle from the front, while also providing a slight element of FashionableAsymmetry. Braiding the hair that way is also faster and easier than braiding it behind one's head, contributing to the low maintenance angle.

Since mothers are often the object of a DarkAndTroubledPast, this is also known as the "Dead Anime Mom Hairstyle".

A SubTrope of LongHairIsFeminine, ExpositoryHairstyle.

Compare OjouRinglets, RegalRinglets and GirlishPigtails.

Contrast BraidsOfAction, TomboyishPonytail, and PrimAndProperBun.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'':
** The depicted above Trisha Elric, mother of the two protagonists, always wore her hair like this and on her shoulder. In contrast, [[spoiler:Sloth]] from the [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist 2003 anime]] wore her hair loose to show that despite [[spoiler:looking identical to Trisha and being her homunculus]], she was anything but motherly.
** In the [[BabiesEverAfter epilogue]], [[spoiler:Trisha's daughter-in-law Winry Rockbell]] sports a similar plait in the DistantEpilogue, but not on the shoulder.
* ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Kasumi Tendo]] often wears her hair this way, along with an apron. While she may only be the eldest daughter of the family, [[TeamMom she handles the domestic duties of the Tendo household]]. It becomes even more the case when it's revealed that [[PromotionToParent she's filling in for their deceased mother]].
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', Ikumi switches to one when her son shows up and she is in "sweet pampering mother" mode. [[TomboyishPonytail In normal situations, however…]]
* In ''Manga/{{Alice 19th}}'', Frey and members of his northern european Lotsan group, having this sideplaited braid is mandatory. [[spoiler: Eric has one, too, but cuts it off when he turns to the [[FaceHeelTurn dark]] side.]]
* Chiemi Takakura from ''Anime/MawaruPenguindrum'', the mother of the protagonists, styles her hair like this.
* Eren's mother Carla from ''Manga/AttackOnTitan''. This, combined with the ''FMA'' example, have led the fandom to nickname this trope the "Dead Mom Side Pony."
* ''[[Franchise/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Different Story]]'': During her down-time, Mami Tomoe is once shown wearing her hair this way (normally she has MegaTwinTails). Fitting, given her current relationship with Kyouko as a surrogate parental figure/MagicalGirl mentor.
* As a part of her [[spoiler: post TimeSkip]] AdrenalineMakeover, Anna Stephanie from Anime/BlueCometSPTLayzner lets her hair down from its initial TomboyishPonytail and styles it like this. She's not exactly a mother, but at this point of the series she's shouldering lots of responsibilities [[spoiler: as TheHeart of LaResistance]].
* Hinami's mother Ryouko Fueguchi from ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'' wore her hair in a loose ponytail over one shoulder. Though a gentle pacifist, she proves to be a MamaBear that sacrifices her life to give her daughter a chance at survival.
* Yuuri from ''Manga/SchoolLive'' is only a high schooler but wears this style a few times when out of her school uniform. She's the CoolBigSis and TeamMom character of the group.
* Akane Hyakuya in ''Manga/SeraphOfTheEnd'' sports this style, combined with a braid despite being a young girl. [[TeamMom She acts like a mother to the group of orphans]] [[spoiler: [[LateArrivalSpoiler and she's killed near the end of the first chapter]]]].
* In ''Manga/CardCaptorSakura'', [[PosthumousCharacter Nadeshiko]] tended to [[LongHairIsFeminine wear her hair loose]] but a flashback shows her with her hair like this while teaching Touya how to play the piano.
* Nozomi, the TeamMom of ''Anime/LoveLive'', changes her hairstyle to this (plus braided bits) in the last episode, when she graduates. She's shown with the new style in several of the cards in the series' [[VideoGame/LoveLiveSchoolIdolFestival card-collecting rhythm game]].
* Lorrie Berlinetta from ''Anime/VividStrike'' wears her hair this way, though did so even before she adopted Rinne.
* Lisa from the ''Franchise/{{Castlevania}}'' anime, mother of Alucard, had this hairstyle... and died.
* [[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Sella]] wears her hair like this (with apron and fluffy slippers!) in ''Manga/FateKaleidLinerPrismaIllya''. She's Ilya's caretaker in the original VN as well, but since ''kaleid liner'' starts off in a much more normal domestic setting, she's ditched the hair-concealing uniform and looks like a standard anime mom, aside from the [[OurHomunculiAreDifferent pseudo-albinism]].
* Nemu and Reki's ParentalSubstitute Kuramori from ''Anime/HaibaneRenmei'' wore her hair like this. She also counts as a PosthumousCharacter as she took her Day of Flight years ago.
* ''Manga/ChronoCrusade'' has its protagonist Rosette start wearing her hair like this [[spoiler:toward the end of her life]].

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fan-animation ''WebAnimation/ButtonsAdventures'', Button's mother Elaine has her mane in this style.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Zael's mother in ''VideoGame/TheLastStory'' wears a braided side plait.
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'''s Bianca trades her GirlishPigtails for one of these upon reaching adulthood. Might be another hint at how your hero's [[OfficialCouple really supposed to pick her]] for his bride.
* ''VideoGame/FireEmblem'':
** Louise in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheBlazingBlade'', who took care of her husband's apprentice Erk from childhood (and reminded them both that they had to do things other than study).
** A male example; in ''VideoGame/FireEmblemGenealogyOfTheHolyWar'', Lewyn wears his hair this way in Generation 2. Fittingly, he's a stern TeamDad in that part of the game.
* Another male example; Barrett, originally from ''VideoGame/RuneFactory2'', wears one of these in his return for ''VideoGame/RuneFactory4''. Apparently, the kids braided his hair when he fell asleep, and he kept it that way because it makes them happy.
* Sanjay from ''VideoGame/HarvestMoonANewBeginning'' is yet another male example. He is Amir's sweet butler, and a potential bachelor if you play as a female.
* The original female protagonist, Katie, from ''VideoGame/YokaiWatch'' has a mother with this hairstyle. In contrast to Rebecca, Lilly (the male protagonist's mom) doesn't.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* ''VisualNovel/HigurashiWhenTheyCry'':
** Akasaka's wife, Yukie, has one of these, and quite an impressive one.
** In ''Matsuribayashi'', Takano's mother has a smaller variant.
** Natsumi's mother in the manga-only ''Onisarashi'' arc is a textbook example... until she looses her plait as she starts to go insane. [[spoiler:Or rather, [[UnreliableNarrator as we see her go insane through Natsumi's eyes.]]]]
** Keiichi's mom also sports one in the live action adaptation, but not in other adaptations.
* Natsuhi Ushiromiya has a sort of high ponytail variant in ''VisualNovel/UminekoWhenTheyCry''. She is more stern than most examples but she does treasure her family.
* Natsuhi Ebata has this with her loose twin braids variant in ''VisualNovel/SchoolDays''. She's very kind to her adoptive [[spoiler:or rather, her own biological daughter whom she abandoned many years ago to Hayato Ashikaga before she married him]] daughter, Inori, which further emphasis this.
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Kanon}}'', Akiko Minase also wears her hair in such a fashion.
* Erik's sweet mother in ''VisualNovel/MissingStars'' has this type of haircut, only her ponytail is braided.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Nei'kalsa of ''Webcomic/{{Drowtales}}'' is shown [[http://www.drowtales.com/mainarchive.php?sid=4498 with this]], which serves to emphasize her role as a mother figure to Sarnel (who's actually her brother, and while their mother is apparently alive she's also out of the picture). Especially since WordOfGod clarifies that she's pregnant in that scene so will soon be a mother for real.
* [[http://www.straysonline.com/2010/01/page-119/ Avela]] from ''Webcomic/{{Strays}}'', an actual Dead {{Animesque}} Mom.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The "Dead Mom Hair" part of this trope is PlayedForLaughs in ''WebSeries/AnimeAmerica'' in their gateway anime episode when Hannah's avatar redesign comes with a MotherlySidePlait. Robyn and Tara immediately assume she's dying, with Tara pointing out several anime examples of mothers who wore this hairstyle and died, including the AOT and FMA examples. Hannah counters that she doesn't even ''have'' children. [[DefiedTrope Hannah is, of course, fine]], but that doesn't stop Robyn from doing a memorial end-slate anyway, to Hannah's annoyance.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Pear Butter, aka. Buttercup, of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic''. [[spoiler:She was the mother of Big [=McIntosh=], Applejack, and Apple Bloom. It's also heavily implied she [[MissingMom died]] when Apple Bloom was younger.]]