As a woman/mom who is tattooed, it’s come to my attention that we sometimes get treated differently or judged than moms who aren’t tattooed and most of the negative judgment comes from other moms. I could write an entire post on the way non-tattooed moms get treated by tattooed moms too, but for now, the perspective for this post is coming from personal experience. I am hyper aware that it goes both ways, but for this particular post we will dive into the view from a tattooed mom. We should always be open to perspective and insight into things that aren’t part of our normal life in order to be better and do better.
I look like a “normal” mom when I have on my professional or Fall/Winter clothes, but on the weekends, at the gym, or during the spring/summer, it’s a different story. My tattoos are on display, and the judgment ensues. I am not talking about the mom who has an ankle tattoo, wrist tattoo, or the little tattoo that no one can really see. I am talking about the mom who has half or full sleeves, big pieces on her thighs or legs, back pieces, chest pieces, etc. When we moved to Oklahoma, I wasn’t aware that I would deal with the judgment of being a mom who has tattoos. We moved to Oklahoma from Austin, TX and tattoos are pretty “normal” and people don’t give it a second thought – much less pass any judgment whether you are a mom, business executive, teacher, ministry leader, etc. living in Austin.
When we moved here, I experienced my first batch of judgment at a church of all places. We were looking for a church to call home and on one of our visits, a mom of a child that was probably around 4 years old said to her child in what she thought was a hushed tone, “Come back here honey, we don’t talk to people like that with tattoos. They are bad.” The little girl had approached me because she wanted to tell me that she knew the colors of the stars on my forearms. I was shocked, literally shocked, that her mother would say that to her, and I wasn’t sure what to do with the judgment since I had never experienced it before! I looked at the mom, shook my head, and then smiled at the little girl and told her that she was correct on the colors and that she was very smart. The little girl smiled back at me. I can only hope that the little girl remembers the kindness she experienced from someone who looked different from her.
That incident happened in 2005, and since then I’ve had a lot more tattoo work added to my body and have experienced judgment from moms more than anybody while living here. My kids school years have been in Oklahoma from Elementary – High School and I was an active PTO mom up until Middle School. I fully understand that getting tattoos means getting looks/stares, but the judgment has to stop. We, as moms, have to stop doing that to each other in all aspects. Don’t be so quick to judge a tattooed mom. Let me shed some light on the subject and de-bunk some myths.
(Disclaimer: I know not ALL moms judge, and I know not ALL moms with tattoos fall into the categories listed below. This post is generalizing the most stereotypical judgments in regards to this subject. This is not a post calling out ALL moms from either side.)
1. Myth: Tattoo Mommas don’t know Jesus. – Mommas with tattoos love Jesus too.
I didn’t get any of my tattoos until after I was saved. My first tattoo was in remembrance of my fathers passing. My brother and I shared that moment together and that’s where my journey started with tattoos. Tattoos are my life stories, works of art that make me happy, and it’s been a way to minister to people that normally may not have talked to me and felt they could approach me had I not had tattoos. I have served in ministry for a total of 12 years (5 of which I was on a church staff), and completely understand and embrace an intimate relationship with Christ. I love God, I love people, and I follow Jesus.
Local Mom Amanda said this, “I am a practicing Catholic. My entire left sleeve is devoted to Catholic imagery. Jesus loves us all. We were created in his image.”
2. Myth: Tattooed Mommas aren’t smart. – Mommas with tattoos are smart.
I do not have college degree, but I am smart enough to know that a lot of hard work and determination is what I needed/wanted in order to be a Montessori Teacher, a Southwestern Bell Corporate Worker, Ministry Leader, Corporate Event Planner and Social Media Strategist for a Technology Firm, Manager of the front desk at a Salon and Spa, and currently running my own business and officially being my own boss as a Style Coach. My tattoos do not define my brain, or decisions. Tattoos do not affect a person’s intellect. That would be like actually believing the stereotype that all blondes are dumb because of their hair color. It’s not true.
3. Myth: Tattoo Mommas are unhealthy and so are their kids. – Mommas with tattoos eat healthy and so do their kids.
I’ve literally heard other moms at PTO events talk about other moms and I remember specifically this one situation where they were talking about the lunches that kids brought to school and how one mom in particular always put a twinkie, sunny delight juice, and non organic chips in their child’s lunch box. The woman said, “And I’m sure it’s ___ mother, I mean with all those tattoos she probably doesn’t care about health.” I turned around (lucky for her I had my coffee already) and I said, “Really? Because of her tattoos you are assuming that she and her child do not eat healthy? That’s a sad judgmental remark, and I don’t appreciate it. (My tattoos were showing at the time.) I hope that you realize that’s like saying because you have on diamond earrings that you must be a snobby shallow woman.” She looked at me flabbergasted that I would call her out and she walked away.
Local Mom Tisha said this, “We organic garden, we raise chickens for eggs and meat, we process the meat ourselves, and we are bee keepers.”
Local Mom Amanda has this to say, “We mostly eat Paleo diet made of organic fruits and vegetables, grass fed/hormone free sustainable meats and dairy. I also cook breakfast and dinner from scratch for everyone in my house everyday. I don’t use packaged foods.”
4. Myth: Tattoo Mommas are sloppy. – Mommas with tattoos are clean and organized.
I heard a mom talking to another mom one time at the park and there was a momma with a lot of tattoos with her child, and one of the moms leaned over to the other mom and said, “I bet her house is filthy, she just looks dirty, so I’m sure her house is dirty.” My tattoos weren’t on full display, and I walked away from where they were and went to talk to the tattoo momma and got to know her while our kids played. I couldn’t help but to shake my head and feel sad for them and angered at the same time.
I’ve spoken with some mommas who have piercing and tattoo businesses alongside their husbands and the answer to being clean is unanimous, “There’s normal clean and tattoo/piercing clean. It’s a sterile thing.” Chances are their homes are cleaner than most simply because of their lifestyle in keeping their shops so sterile.
5. Myth: Tattoo Mommas only want to hang out with other tattoo Mommas. – Mommas with tattoos want to fit in too, and want their children to fit in as well.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. Tattooed Mommas want to be treated like a mom regardless of her tattoos. We love our kids just like you, we go through mom struggles just like you, we are very similar, we just look different.
Tisha says it best, “I use my tattoos as a filter. If you can’t get past them … we weren’t going to be friends anyway. I feel like it’s better to get that kind of short coming right out into the open early on! I’m totally okay with the judgment … it’s a choice I made and I fully understood the repercussions of my actions prior to my choice. I also feel like it’s an amazing lesson for my children.”
Amanda makes a great point, “I’m not so much concerned with me fitting in as I am my child fitting in. I don’t ever want my personal modification choices to affect people’s opinion of my child. I never want her to miss out on an opportunity because someone doesn’t like my tattoos.”
6. Myth: Tattoo Mommas look down on Mommas who don’t have tattoos. – Mommas with tattoos don’t want to be your token “edgy” friend, they want mom friends too and they aren’t looking down on you for not having tattoos.
Amanda shares some insight, “I want to be your friend because you are genuinely interested in me as a person, not because you are interested in my tattoos.”
Tiffany says, “My best friend doesn’t have any tattoos … most of my friends don’t.”
The moms that I have personally made friends with have been absolutely fantastic about my tattoo work. They know it’s a part of who I am and that it doesn’t affect my parenting decisions, my love for the Lord, the cleanliness of my home, my intellect, etc. I encourage all moms to stop the judgment in regards to this particular subject. Get to know Mommas with tattoos, you will be pleasantly surprised that the only differences we have is how we look.