Why judge the tattooed mom?

When I was 18, I decided to get a tattoo.

I know that, in some circles, the issue of tattoo’s are still a “taboo” subject of conversation. I also understand that people have their own opinions (as do I) and that these can be quite fervent when it comes to the question of whether tattoos are ok. This is a potentially emotive subject…

First of all, it seems to me that we mothers have a real penchant for judging one another about almost anything; we judge each other about whether we breastfeed or not, how we gave birth, if we feed pureed homemade food or shop bought food, whether or not we co-sleep, or if (god forbid) we are still hanging on to a few of those extra kg’s from our last baby, and let’s not even mention the issue of how we discipline our children, etc, etc. We appear to enjoy judging other moms. Sometimes we reduce motherhood to little more than the silent judgment of other moms. And moms with tattoos suffer the same fate…

However, some of the most amazing mothers, wives, and friends I know have tattoo’s (some even have other beautiful quirks, like pink/blue/green hair). My question is: Does this make them mothers of a lower standard than those with unmarked skin? No! Are they still ladies? Of course! I learned long ago not to judge a parent by their appearance (I really try not to). I would hate for someone to judge my parenting on the basis of my appearance – even though I’m sure there have been times when I was the topic of conversation. And that’s OK… I’m happy to provide the inspiration for coffee shop talk. 🙂

I was once… Actually twice… asked to cover my tattoo in front of other people’s children. In both cases; because the parents didn’t want their kids exposed to such a bad example of how to treat their bodies. My reaction was to kindly oblige. Why even engage in an argument with someone so clearly ignorant. In my opinion, it’s just not worth it!

I think the real reason why I was asked to cover my tattoo was because the thought of having to have that conversation with their children frightened those parents. Was I judged? Maybe, maybe not. Do I care? No… (and I don’t intend for that to sound rebellious or snobbish).

When my kids see my tattoo they ask; “Mommy, you’ve got dolphins… who drew on you?” My reply; “A friend. One day when you are big, we can talk about it.” Their response; “OK”. Do my kids love me less? No! Of course not. Is their childhood somehow affected negatively? You’re kidding, right? Does it allow for conversation about differences in our appearances and how to care for and respect our bodies? Absolutely. And to me, that is one of the most important life lessons that I can teach my children: acceptance, love, and understanding. Even though they might have a different opinion when they grow up. (Not that you need a tattoo to discuss body-image… let’ not be petty.)

Am I a mom with a tattoo, yes. If my stomach still looked like it did when I was in my 20’s, I would still probably have a Belly-button ring. Even though it might not be deemed “fashionable”… Do I enjoy a glass of wine, yes? Am I still stubbornly hanging on to those extra kg’s after my last pregnancy, ABSOLUTELY.

I am a mother. A mother that loves fiercely…  And as long as my children are loved, safe, treasured, looked after, empowered, encouraged and always put first. What’s a tattoo got to do with it?


Parenty logo 2Jacqui Bester is firstly a wife, and mom to five rambunctious children who drive her nuts and fill her heart with unspeakable joy all in the space of a single day. She writes about her day to day adventures and misadventures in parenting, life and marriage. Jacqui is known for sharing a brutally honest account of her MESSY “mamahood”… the joy, the fun, the laughter and the tears. She enjoys a good mystery-crime novel with a lovely glass of red wine, trying out new foods and restaurants with her hubby on the odd date-night, exploring new places, learning new skills, and generally anything else that calls for a more adventurous approach to life. You can find her over on One Messy Mama.

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