I got my first tattoo — a small peace sign on my left shoulder blade — during my first year in college. I've had four more since then, and I'm currently planning my first half sleeve. As someone who was a classic Type-A overachiever all through grade school, then found the rest of my identity as a young adult, it's been interesting to see how people who knew me before respond when they see my body art. It's been hilariously (and sometimes annoyingly) eye-opening to see the difference in how people view having tattoos before kids versus having tattoos as a mom. People who'd swear until their last breath that they don't judge other people based on their looks, will also barely bat an eye as they tell you that they never thought "someone like you would get a tattoo" and freely wonder aloud if you won't have any authority over your kids because they can't take a person with tattoos seriously.
A lot of this has to do with a clash between two sets of stereotypes. There's the set of ideas about the "type" of person who has tattoos: a younger adult who is wild, sexy, likes to party, and is likely to be irresponsible, and the set of ideas about what a mom is "supposed" to be like: a slightly older adult who is chaste and highly self-controlled, focused exclusively on her children, and must be responsible at all times. Apparently, some people feel like we're only allowed to get tattoos if we're not planning on aging ("What's that going to look like when you're old?") or having children.
Fortunately, as our generation becomes parents, we're challenging all of these outdated ideas. We know that we can be fun-loving and expressive, while staying on our grind professionally and being responsible for our kids. We also know that becoming parents doesn't mean that we stop having ideas, interests, or identities separate from our children. However, as ideas to the contrary fade out, tattooed moms (and dads, to a lesser extent) can roll our eyes and chuckle to ourselves about the following.