Even though, by this point in our history, the idea of a tattoo has definitely evolved, mothers are still shamed for their ink. Sure, many mothers aren't afraid to show their tattoos anymore, but along with being unapologetic and open comes judgement and unsolicited opinions from strangers. Add the Internet to the mix and, well, there's never a lack of criticism.
But the truth is, tattooed mothers are badasses. Whether it's the mom who changed her tattoo to support her transgender son or the mom with the small tattoo who doesn't want to be "inked out" but who wants to pay tribute to her children; mothers are using ink to express themselves as parents, as women and as human beings. In the end, that's all a tattoo is: a form of self-expression and a way to adorn — and, in turn, celebrate — a body that can do some downright awesome and miraculous things.
Which is why hearing unending criticism about being a tattooed mother can get, at the very least, old. I have nine tattoos; some hidden, but many visible. I've had my fair share of stares at the grocery store, while I'm holding my son and flashing the tattoo on my wrist or forearm or shoulder. I've had people ask me inappropriate questions about my tattoos and how they might "come back to haunt me" when my kid is older. I've rolled my eyes so hard that, at times, I was sure they'd pop out of my head.
But until the stigma attached to tattoos completely disappears, tattooed moms are going to keep hearing these nine things. Are we tired of hearing them? You bet. So, if you see a tattooed mom, instead of saying any of the following just, you know, don't.
"Aren't You Afraid Your Kid Will Get A Tattoo?"
First of all, why? Tattoos are awesome. Second of all, tattooed mothers know that no one should be making decisions for another person's body. If, eventually, our kids want to get a tattoo (or ten) that will be their decision because — you guessed it — it's their body.
"What Kind Of Example Are You Setting?"
A pretty great one, actually. A tattooed mom is showing her children that bodies are meant to be celebrated, in any way that someone chooses. If that means getting a tattoo then, by all means, you go ahead and get a tattoo. Tattooed moms are showing their kids that they're proud of their bodies and their decision to permanently mark them, because the only opinion that matters, when it comes to your body and how it looks, is yours.
"What If They Are Drawn To A Dangerous Lifestyle Because Of Tattoos?"
Are we still associating tattoos with a dangerous, drug-fueled, or addictive lifestyle? Is that really still a thing? Come on. Tattoos aren't just for biker gangs anymore. Kindergarten teachers have tattoos and police officers have tattoos and parents have tattoos. Time to get over it, people.
"Aren't You Afraid Of Being A Tattooed Grandma One Day?"
If by "afraid" you mean "really looking forward to," then yes, I'm very afraid of becoming a tattooed grandma.
"What If Your Kid Doesn't Love Their Body As It Is?"
What would make someone think that having a tattoo means you don't love your body the way it is? If anything, having a tattoo proves that you love your body, and you want to adorn and/or celebrate your body by getting it inked. Furthermore, a tattooed mother isn't going to demand that her child, one day, get tattoos. A tattooed mother is going to stand up for her kid and their decision to celebrate their body, anyway they want.
"What Do You Think You're Teaching Your Kid?"
That they should love their body, be the only person to make decisions about their body, and that they shouldn't care or worry about what other people think about their bodies. I think those are all fantastic lessons, don't you?
"How Will You Explain Your Tattoos To Your Kid?"
I imagine it will be relatively simple. Something like, "Hey, this is a tattoo. I got it [number of years ago] for [reasons], and I love it because of [more reasons]." Yeah, it won't be complicated.
"Did You Know About The "Your Tattoos Make You A Bad Mom" Facebook Page?
Yes, I do. No, I don't care. Yes, I think it is ridiculous.
"Aren't You Worried That Other People Will Judge You?"
Not in the slightest. The thing is, as a mother, I'm being judged anyway. Mothers can't win in this country: If we give birth in a hospital, we're taking the easy way out; If we birth at home, we're putting our kid in danger; If we work, we are selfish; If we stay at home with our kid, we're lazy; If we have tattoos, we're bad mothers; If we don't, we're boring.
See? There will always be someone with an opinion and judgement, so why worry about them at all?