The other day I took my daughter swimming at the local pool. We always hang out at the little wading pool for toddlers so Violet can play around without getting splashed by some of the older kids. Generally we’re alone there but this time another mom and her toddler showed up a few minutes after us.
I watched the young mother and her little boy descend the steps into the pool. I noticed how much he looked like his mom, both blond-haired and blue-eyed. A super cute little guy, not even a year and walking as good as Violet at 2-years-old.
They both got into the water and then the mom turned her back to me while she whirled her boy around in the water. That’s when I saw the biggest, ugliest tattoo I’ve seen in a while.
It was the drama faces, you know, the laughing and crying theater-mask faces? Kind of like this? So she had those two on her back in black and over the happy face was a sun and over the sad face were clouds. The whole thing was huge and took up all of her back. My instinctual reaction? YEEESH. I’m sure my face looked like I just drank some expired milk.
Now listen, before you get all worked up about me being judgmental, let me just say this: I have absolutely no moral opinion about tattoos and who has them. I have a tattoo. The judgment comes in much the same way you’d judge someone’s really ugly Hawaiian shirt. As in, were you looking in the mirror when you decided to wear that thing? That’s the way I felt about her tattoo. Dude, you’ve got to really be into theater to wanna rock that tattoo for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. A tattoo like that is a serious commitment. We’re talking, marriage style commitment. Ain’t no hiding that bad boy.
That said, does it bother me when a mom has a tattoo? Nope. As long as it doesn’t bother her that her kids are probably going to be a little embarrassed if they go swimming together and mom reveals a back inked with a giant skull and roses threading through it acquired from her drunken concert-going days (I’m only guessing bad tat choices are born from drunken ideas).
Thing is, it’s almost more uncommon for a mom NOT to have a tattoo these days. When I was growing up, only punk rockers and Hells Angels got tattoos. Then, right about the time I was 13, everybody started getting inked. So pretty much every girl my age is marked with a tramp stamp. (The tramp stamp is usually located just above the bum somewhere, although the hip bone/pelvic area is a popular tramp stamp locale as well. You know the tattoo. Might be a fairy, could be a Chinese symbol, maybe a flower…)
Now these girls who got dainty little flowers near delicate hip bones are all having kids and dealing with stretched bellies and stretched tattoos. (That sweet fairy you got when you were 21 isn’t quite so sweet anymore, is she?) Thank God I resisted the powerful call of the tramp stamp and very sensibly got a small daisy on my big toe, which is surprising, trust me, I’m not exactly known for being sensible.
Now don’t get me wrong, though I hate the tramp stamp, I don’t dislike tattoos entirely — I know a couple girls that have entire tattoo sleeves and they look awesome. There are just lots of things to consider before getting inked such as the placement of the tat, the design…and if you’re going to like it just as much 10 or more years from now…and if it has the potential to embarrass your future kids.
I don’t like my little tattoo anymore but it’s in the best spot ever: almost always hidden and I’d have to gain a hell of a lot of weight for the skin on my big toe to stretch out and ruin the tattoo. I like to joke that if I’m every in a horrific crash it will make identifying my body easier for Serge. All they’ve got to do is peel the sheet back and show him my toe.
Anyway, my point is I don’t judge moms with tattoos, I just judge the tattoos. Does that make sense? I’m not judging the character of someone based on the tattoo, I just wonder what the hell some people are thinking when they get their tattoos.
Whether or not a mom has a tattoo doesn’t necessarily mean her kids are going to get all tatted up either. In fact, I think the upcoming generation is less likely to opt for ink because so many of my generation are stuck with a bunch of dorky looking, faded tattoos we got because we thought we were bad ass. Not getting a tattoo will be the perfect way to rebel against tattoo-loving parents.
In a way, I’m actually glad I got my tattoo because I’ll be able to share my experience with Violet from personal knowledge. A tiny flower on one’s toe may not seem like a big deal, but now it just looks stupid and who likes the same thing at 34 that they did at 16? That’s the only reason I’d make Violet wait until she’s 18. At 16 it’s hard to comprehend the permanence of that really cool Jonas Brothers tattoo you’re dying to get. In fact, the friend that went with me to get my tattoo got a green lizard on her foot. Did you hear me? A GREEN LIZARD. Wonder how that’s working out for her now. (Unlike tattoos, friendships don’t last forever.)
So yeah, I’ll make Violet wait, only because I know that, much like me, she’d probably regret any tattoo acquired as a teen. Unless she wants a giant “Mom” tattoo… She’s allowed to get that whenever.
Do other moms regret their tattoos now that they’re parents? Click here to find out what Babble moms think of their ink!