“Is that you in the photo? With all the piercings?? I have ranted against piercings for years online! And yet I still find people with them! Why would you do this to yourself?? What are you trying to prove? Do you realize how you are coming across when you do this to yourself? And you are a MOTHER?? A grown woman and a mother, having all these piercings??? Do you have any tattoos? I hope not.”
I woke up to this comment on my blog a couple of days ago.
The worst part? This comment was left on a post about my 4-year-old daughter’s first year of preschool. It wasn’t a post about piercings, or tattoos, or parenting, or anything even vaguely related to them. It was about the things my daughter had accomplished in her first year in preschool, with before and after photos of her on the first and last day of the school year and a picture she had drawn of her family (no piercings or tattoos in that one either).
I thought about responding to that rude comment, but cooler heads prevailed and reminded me not to feed the troll. So I deleted it. I’ve never deleted a non-spam comment before which is why I was a bit hesitant at first, but as someone else pointed out, this person’s comment wasn’t adding anything to the conversation. You know, the conversation about my daughter’s educational achievements?
I’ve got to admit I was really surprised by that comment. Despite having 12 piercings and 2 tattoos (one of them covering both thighs and going halfway up my back), I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve ever had a negative reaction. Most people either tell me they like them or don’t say anything at all. (Hmm, isn’t that an expression? Something about if you don’t have anything nice to say…?) Maybe it’s because I live in Vancouver where pretty much everybody has some kind of body piercing or tattoo, and most of us are pretty laid back about things as long as they don’t interfere with drinks on the patio or getting to the slopes to snowboard. (Just kidding, I’ve never even been within 20 feet of a snowboard!)
As a highly educated woman, an accomplished professional, and a competent, loving mother, I take exception to the implication that my appearance somehow negatively reflects on my character or impacts my ability to parent my children. Decorating our bodies is a universal human drive. How we do that is influenced by both our cultural norms and our personal tastes. Whether you pierce your earlobes or your lip, your nose or your tongue. Whether you get a tattoo or put on lipstick. Whether you dye your hair green (I was a fan of Fudge’s Green Jeans for years!) or dye it to cover your grey. Whether you shave your legs or shave your head. These are all ways we decorate and modify our bodies to make ourselves attractive, to express ourselves, to feel pretty. Becoming a mother didn’t suddenly take away my personal identity or my desire to feel pretty.
I get it, my idea of pretty may not be your idea of pretty. But that’s okay. I mean, I may not like the way you dress or how you do your hair. Maybe I wouldn’t wear that shade of lipstick or those shoes, but I don’t think your taste somehow tells me all about your personal character or your parenting.
So what kind of a mother has piercings and tattoos? The same kind of mother who doesn’t have piercings and tattoos. A mother who loves her kids and wants the best for them, just like any mother.
That got me wondering how many amazing moms out there have piercings and tattoos. I asked on my Facebook wall and I was blown away by the number of replies I received. 192 moms shared their thoughts on what kind of a mother has piercings and tattoos. I wish I could share with you all of the insightful things they said, but there just isn’t enough blog space for all of that awesome.
I did want to share just a few of the wise things these beautiful mamas had to say:
“If a piercing or tattoo had anything to do with parenting… a lot of the world’s problems would be solved.” – Darlene
“I think to me, it’s about the heart of what you do. I am not trying to be rebellious or aggressive with the modifications I do. I want my daughter to grow up knowing it’s okay to embrace her sense of beauty. It’s also a lesson in permanence. What is true enough to you that you want to carry it with you forever?” – Christa, mom of 1
“My body is my canvas to paint the way I want. It’s art and the way I express myself!” – Kim, mom of 1
“I don’t care what one’s body looks like, as long as your child is loved.” – Jennifer
“Personally, I don’t think it’s anyone’s business what another person does to adorn his or her body. I think tattoos and piercings are beautiful and artistic, and I realize that not everyone shares my opinion. However, that’s no excuse for rudeness. If you don’t like it, look away.” – Bethanie, mom of 3
“Does your hair affect how you raise your child? No, and my tattoos and piercings don’t affect how I raise my son. Stop beating fellow moms down. We have it hard enough. Let’s build each other up!” – Harmony
“Great mothers love their children unconditionally and care for them with their whole hearts. Tattoos are just pretty decoration on top of it.” – Trisha
Long story short, if it’s not your thing, that’s cool. Just don’t be a jerk about it.
Has your parenting ever been judged negatively because of your appearance?