When you become a mother, it seems (sadly) that you open yourself up to endless scrutiny and commentary. Whether it's people commenting on your pregnant body or wondering about labor and delivery or asking you about your postpartum life; any sense of social decency and etiquette go out the window. It's exhausting if you're any mother, but if you're a mom with visible tattoos, I'd argue it's substantially worse. There are so many creepy things people say to moms with tattoos that can ruin even the most pleasant of days you spend with your child (and why, oh why, would someone set out to ruin those?).
I have nine tattoos, the majority of which are visible. I have a half-sleeve I boast with unapologetic confidence, which garnishes more than its fair share of unsolicited commentary. At first, I was surprised by the responses I get as a mom with tattoos. I mean, times are changing and our society is (I would optimistically like to think) more accepting and we tend to try and live our lives by that clichéd, "don't judge a book by its cover" rule. However, people are flawed by nature and judgement happens and, with that judgement, comes some creepy responses that tattooed mothers, unfortunately, have to stomach.
I'd like to see a world where society doesn't seem ridiculously comfortable making inappropriate comments about a mother's body or, you know, a mother in general. But, until that day, I ask you all to sulk in sadness and disappointment with me, as I go over the nine creepiest things people say to mothers with tattoos. Misery loves company, right?
"Did Pregnancy Change How Your Tattoo Looks?"
I honestly don't understand why people think a pregnancy and the changes it puts a woman's body through, somehow grants unlimited permission for people to ask intrusive questions about said changes. Like, how a woman's body responds to a pregnancy is absolutely no one's business. The only person who gets to know how her body is reacting is her doctor/doula/midwife and, well, that's it. If a mother has a tattoo, the same applies. You don't get to know how a pregnancy may or may not have changed the ink she has on her skin.
Since I have no filter, I'll tell you that for me, personally, my pregnancy in no way changed my tattoos. They didn't end up stretched out and deformed. Skin, like a woman's body in general, is a pretty incredible thing capable of doing incredible things so, you know, stop. Just, stop.
"What Hurt Worse, Labor Or A Tattoo?"
Everyone's pain tolerance is different; everyone handles various degrees of pain in different ways; everyone responds to pain in their own, unique way that best works for them. It's kind of odd (and even sadistic?) for someone to want to focus on the pain aspect of either a tattoo or a pregnancy. Like, don't worry about it? We handled it.
"Do You Regret Your Tattoo, Now That You're A Mom?"
How about we just assume that anyone who gets a tattoo doesn't regret it. If they do, trust me, they'll tell you. So, a woman with some ink who decides to become a mother, probably didn't change her mind about her tattoos just because she's decided to procreate. Like, having a kid isn't the same as having a lobotomy, guys. We're still the same ink-loving people.
"What Did Your Tattoo Look Like When You Were Pregnant?"
If you wouldn't ask a woman what certain body parts look like when she's pregnant (and please, oh please, don't ever do that) you shouldn't ask her what her tattoos looked like when she is or was pregnant. Like, what the hell do you care? If they're visible tattoos, you'll see for yourself. If they aren't, they aren't for a reason and it's none of your business.
"Good Luck Explaining Your Tattoo To Your Kid"
First of all, don't assume that a tattoo is some taboo topic that I'll have to carefully dance around when it comes time to show my kid what it is. Honestly, my kid already knows, and he's not even two years old. He tries to draw on his arms so he can have, "a shoulder like mommy" and I, for one, think that is absolutely adorable. So, really, don't worry about me and any future conversations I may or may not have with my kid.
"I Hope People At Your Kid's School/Daycare/Playground Don't Judge You"
Well, I guess I hope so, too? But, like, aren't we all being judged for every tiny decision we make, as parents, anyway? I don't think my tattoos make me up for more scrutiny than any other mom and, if they do, I'm sure I'll get through it just like I got through being judged for breastfeeding in public and being judged for co-sleeping and being judged for, you know, everything.
"Are You Trying To Be A 'Cool Mom'?"
Um, trying?! Please, I am a cool mom.
"I Definitely Wouldn't Want To Have A Tattoo As A Parent"
Well, then don't? I've had more people than I'm willing to admit (or just think about) tell me that they, personally, wouldn't have a tattoo or get a tattoo or how happy they are that they never chose to get tattooed, now that they're a parent. I think that's all fine and dandy and wonderful for them. I mean, we should all be proud of our personal life decisions. However, this statement sounds condescending and judgmental and while we should be happy about our choices, we shouldn't be claiming our choices better than anyone else's.
"I Guess Parenthood Doesn't Change Everything About You, Huh?"
If someone says this to you, tattooed mothers, I suggest ignoring them. Honestly, it's the only thing you can do, because you're probably too busy side-stepping the gross undertones that imply someone is making a comment on your body. I just can't, and neither should you.