What Kind of a Mother Has Piercings and Tattoos? - This West Coast Mommy
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What Kind of a Mother Has Piercings and Tattoos?

“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).

Pierced and tattooed mama

This is me with my pierced ears, tragus, eyebrow, tongue, smiley, and navel, busy being a good mom to my kids.

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.

What Kind of a Mother Has Piercings and Tattoos?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?

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52 Comments

  • I’m very surprised that you would get such an email. Maybe because I live under a rock, but that sounds like a comment you’d get decades ago. I think it’s more common to have tats than not these days.
    And yeah, I get judged by appearance and not doing what’s “in”. (And I don’t even have piercings or tattoos.)
    Don’t waste time thinking about idiots like that!

  • piercings or tattoos …….some people LOVE them some people HATE them. If you hate them then do not get any but do not judge people who have them.I think tattoos are a beautiful work of art !

  • I am also a tattooed and pierced mom,
    and I definitely get stares, but I never know if they are simply looking at my tattoos or judging me for them,
    however yesterday while walking with my little one, I had most of my tattoos exposed because of the hot weather,
    these two older women looked at my daughter, looked me up and down and let out a disapproving sigh and walked away. I definitely felt my parenting was being judged by my appearance, and it feels awful when that happens. In fact, I didn’t get my first tattoo until after I had my daughter, and I don’t regret any of them.
    I love going to the park and seeing other tattooed parents with their kids! I noticed though that usually the tattooed parents speak to each other (maybe to avoid judgement?) Either way most other parents are (and should be!) accepting of tattoos, but sadly some are still stuck in a negative mindset.

    • It sucks that that happened. That kind of condescending judgement is so unjustified. On a different note, I think I need to bring my kids to your park!

  • That comment, I lolz into my coffee. What rock did that crawl out from under?

    Recently, no I haven’t felt very judged…. Lots of weird looks wearing my baby out and about. It’s not very popular where I’m vacationing.

    • When my oldest was a baby I got a few looks. But just in the last couple of years, I’ve found babywearing in my city more and more common and no longer anything to remark on.

  • Wow. Just…wow.
    I feel sorry for *her* kids. Growing up with a judgemental, close-minded mother.
    Prejudice is a terrible thing. Spewing one’s mouth off regarding others’ weight, choice of clothing, etc. isn’t any different than being prejudiced (a bigot) about race, religion, mental illness, disabilities and sexual orientation.
    Teaching our kids tolerance, acceptance, kindness, compassion–THAT’S what makes a good mother.

  • I can’t believe people like this still exist. Of all that is wrong with the world, and THIS is what they want to rant about. Get a life. Better yet, go get something pierced or tattooed and lighten up. All the cool people do it hahahahahaha.
    Seriously tho… ignorance is still out there, and some folks just can’t help themselves. Good on you for keeping your cool. I don’t think I could have done it.
    Oh and yes, I have tattoos, but at the time I chose to have them in a place I could cover them, but if I could do it all over again, I’d have them showing all the time.

  • It’s your body and I feel you can do what ever you want with it. We did not pierce our little girls ears, but when she is able to make the informed decision, she can chose if she wants to. And when she is of age, she is allowed to get what ever pierced and tattooed (although I am hoping it will be tasteful and respectful and done in a healthy and safe manner of course). Judging a mother for her appearance (whether it be tattoos, a scar on her face, or the colour of her skin) is not right. I never knew these mommy wars were so bad until I became a mother. Keep up the awesome job Olivia, you’re a great mom!

    • Funny you mention the ear piercings. I love my piercings, but like you I would never pierce my kids. Not my body. Once they’re old enough, I’d go with them (and maybe get something done too!). Thanks for your support!

  • “I have ranted against piercings for years online! And yet I still find people with them!” All I can do is shake my head at that one… Someone clearly has some grandiose illusions about the importance of their opinion.

    Thanks for sharing some of the comments you received on Facebook. I have only one tattoo and don’t feel judged, but I found them inspiring regardless! I will have to head over there and check out the other replies you got when I have a few minutes free. There are clearly many kind hearted people following your family’s journey.

    • Yep, I noticed that and laughed about it too. 🙂
      I was overwhelmed with the responses I got. Clearly there are many more inked/pierced moms out there than we realize!

  • I commend you on your mature approach to such a negative and narrowminded individual. We moms should always be uplifting, positive and supportive.

    • Thanks, Kara. I will admit I didn’t feel very positive when I first saw the comment, but I’m glad I took a few minutes to think about my response.

  • I could not have said any of this better myself. It is infuriating and upsetting having to be at the receiving end of judgment. You handled it with class and dignity. You did the right thing – deleting negativity off your site and reaching out to others who may be able to relate. Not surprisingly, so many of your loyal readers, cohorts, and friends came out of the woodwork with similar stories. It is rather humorous how much time (and audacity) some people have to scrutinize another person’s life: how they parent, how they live, what they do, etc etc. And what kills me is why people think they have the right to say such things. What makes a person a better mother? It’s all subjective. What one person sees as good parenting could be completely opposite of what another parent deems as effective parenting. And at the end of the day, how can a piercing or tattoo affect your ability to tuck your kids at night, feed them their meals and snacks, care for them when they are ill, drive them to school, help them out with their homework?? The last time I checked, tattoos and piercings don’t affect your mobility or ability to love. You go girl!!

  • One day a lady said to me, “Your body is a temple. Why do this to it?” My reply was, “Well it’s time to decorate!” I come from a small town and it is still shocking to me that people have these preconceived ideas about people with tats and piercings. I frankly no longer feel the need to waste any of my energy defending myself. If you don’t like it, don’t look. It does not define me as a person. People need to learn to pick their battles and not judge.

  • Oh my god, what a bunch of crap. As if your piercings and tattoos hold any weight whatsoever against your parenting skills. I love how she says she’s ranted against piercings for years…seriously? It’s kind of sad that she’s undertaken something so petty as a personal crusade. That energy could be better spent improving the world. Maybe she should try ranting about something that matters.

  • I’m just not even sure what to say about this. I mean, who even cares anymore in this day and age?! I know my father and step-mother are very judgmental of people’s appearances but they’re in their 70’s. They just don’t get it because of the time they were raised in. (Not that I accept how judgmental they are.) You have so very much to be proud of. I truly hope that you just let it go because mean-spirited people aren’t worth anyone’s time. Thank-you for writing about it though. The title immediately caught my attention. 🙂

  • Hard to believe people are still so narrow-minded. Tattoos & piercings are pretty common these days. My only piercing is my right ear (left ear was pierced, but grew up, lol) & I haven’t liked a tattoo enough to commit yet (Ha!), –oh well, you said it best: Don’t feed the troll! Chances are she was just looking to bait you.

  • I’m 45 years old and I love piercings and tattoos, I don’t have any piercings but I do have five tattoos with more to add and I didn’t get my first one till I was 43, everyone has them now a days, it’s common to see someone with a tat or a piercing, it’s not the fifties anymore, and body art does not change who you are! by the way you are a very beautiful lady and so are your children..god bless

  • I have 7 tattoos, and just made the leap to one on my arm that is not covered in summertime. I’ve had some pretty interesting discussions at my workplace about it also – just as this woman criticized your parenting because of your tarts and piercings, I’ve been worried about being judged about my professionalism because of mine. Like someone else, tarts are artistic expressions of my life experiences and I view my skin as a blank canvass. Each one takes thought, research, and creativity. My knowledge, expertise or professionalism is in no way impacted by their presence

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  • LOL TATTS not tarts (stupid autocorrect). Of course, if you bake, no one will judge your parenting skills by the quality of your tarts. LOL

  • I am so sorry you got this rude comment. People need to not be so judgmental. I love this posting though. You handled it so well. Be proud of yourself, tattoos and piercings and all.

  • Wow. Shocked is all I have to say. It’s heartbreaking to hear that you were on the end of such judgement and discrimination and that it still exists today’s “modern” society. Maybe it’s time she finds something better to fill her time with than making it her mission to end piercings 😉

    xo

  • “If a piercing or tattoo had anything to do with parenting… a lot of the world’s problems would be solved.” – Darlene

    Wouldn’t it be great if it were that simple? 🙂

  • I downright feel sorry for judgmental people. Doesn’t it get tiring?? My tattooed/pierced friends are some of the greatest parents I have met.

  • While I am personally not a fan, I don’t understand why anyone would care. My husband gets very judgmental and I have to remind him he doesn’t know the person! I have great friends who have tattoos and piercings. It is ONE aspect of them.

  • As a mom(to 5 kids) & nurse with 12 tattoos and 12 piercings I’ve never felt so judged as this one comment to you. How one parents or cares for others is based on their personality and character… Not their looks. I live in Calgary and haven’t even noticed judging looks or stares, but then again I might not be paying attention. I don’t really care what others think about me. I do have patients(usually older) who love my pin up/rockabilly look as most of them have lived through the era that it’s based on comment on the tattoos. 99% of the time it’s positive comments even though it’s a trend well past their time. If they can get on board with this then some judgemental bitch can. Also, people that feel the need to bash others tend to do so out of their own insecurities. Keep on being an awesome mom and let the haters comments roll of you like water off a ducks back. :o)

  • I look really young for my age. I’ve had people assume that my 4 kids are not my own, but kids I’m looking after. I just take the compliment and run.
    Really though. Who cares what you look like. Why do people assume you need to look a certain way in order to do something. Part of negative comments from people is that they have their insecurities to battle with. People need to stop being so judgemental and learn to be supportive!

  • I do not know about my appearance having negative reactions about my parenting. Like most mothers, I don’t t take criticism of my mothering skills lightly and maybe that is why I never had confrontations. I was a mother many years ago, before the fun stuff was popular but I don’t think body decoration has anything to do with loving a child. My definition of a ‘Good Mom fits most of us-we love our children and would do almost anything to keep them safe, happy and feeling secure and loved.

  • Wow! Some people I swear! You know…if you don’t have anything nice to say-don’t say it at all!!! ….Having tattoos and/or piercings does not reflect on how a woman mothers their child(ren). I am glad you deleted the comment! Good for you for brushing it under the rug 🙂

  • That is ridiculous. I have a couple of tattoos, they are hidden so I never hear anything about them. I chose to put them where I did because I was in my mid thirties when I got them and my family really was not tattooed. They have deep meaning to me and I think I would be really hurt and angry if some random jackass on the internet spewed that kind of crap at me. I love how she/he can’t believe moms have tattoos and piercings even though they have been ranting for years, a little self-important there.

  • I’ll admit that I’m uncool enough I had to go google smiley piercings. Didn’t even know such a thing existed! I’ve always wanted to get my tongue pierced but am scared. So I’ve never bothered to look into it too much. I’d also love to get a tattoo but again I’m scared. Plus I don’t know any artists or even other people with good tattoos that could point me to an tattoo artist who I could work with. Argh! Anyway, long story short, you’re absolutely beautiful and I’m envious! 🙂

  • While I am not a personal fan of a lot of piercings,my daughter had her
    eyebrow pierced.When she told me the reason I understood.I am not a fan yet,
    but it is a personal thing and you do not have to explain it to anyone.

  • While I don’t have any piercings (oh man I’d be scared my grabby kids would tear them out!) I do have 4 tattoos. None of them interfere with my parenting, nor do they affect the kind of person I am. I will never understand how people can stereotype others based solely on body art.

  • None of that – piercings, tattoos, hair, etc matters to your kids. If they are loved, and I can tell they are from your blog and your posts and the way you seem to tackle life in general – then who cares about piercings and tattoos? That’s just a very ill informed individual who commented.

  • I don’t think piercings, tattoos, etc adversely affect parenting skills. I do, however, kind of get where the ‘disapprovers’ are coming from. It’s probably a matter of culture. For example, I live in a Southern city with two universities that get A LOT of bad press about the actions of the students, band members, and football players. (Yes, that city.) To the permanent residents, it’s us against them, and we will go out of our way to distinguish ourselves from them. So, in our culture, the piercings, tattoos, wild hair colors, etc, are a sign of immaturity, a badge of honor worn by the kids passed out in front of Bullwinkles on Friday and Saturday nights. I think that may be the case with a lot of people over the age of, say, 40. In our time, those were the symbols of rebellious youth, not wanting to grow up. It wasn’t as socially acceptable as it is now. That’s not to say it’s okay to judge you because of the piercings; I’m just saying I understand both opinions. It’s the joy of being 38. You’re both kind of young and kind of an old fogey. 😉

  • I personally find it hilarious that she started with “I have ranted about this for years and people still have them!” as if this one person’s OPINION means the world has to spin on it. Having body mods make no difference in parenting a child I have blue, purple and green hair. I have a 15 year old. I had a former friend who used to make snide comments about it, she would insinuate that I was being a child and should have grown up. I could make a big thing about how I was a better mother, even with my multicolored hair, but I won’t because I am not like her. I am just more open-minded and accepting of the fact that people come in all shapes, sizes and stripes. You don’t have to get a hair cut, cover up and turn into Donna Reed the moment you become a mother.

  • i am a mama of a 4 month old and i have a nose piercing but gonna maybe get tongue this weekend even tho i am 18 it is my personaly choice and how i wanna express who i am and yes sometime in the future i am gonna get tattoos lol

  • I got a tattoo when I was younger. .. I Had it done for me. .. not for anyone else. .. It does not affect the way that I patent, and as it is private most people don’t even realize I have it. … I Think the judgmental person/people who have made negative comments would be surprised at who has a tattoo or piercing hidden away. ..If you are happy with your appearance. .. It matters not what other people say. ..

  • I think you’re beautiful. It really bugs me that there are still people out there that feel like piercings and tattoos mean we must be horrible people. I have many piercings in my ears and only recently got my nose pierced. I love all my piercings. I have a large tattoo on my back, and a small visible one on my wrist. And i love those too. These things don’t make me neglect my children. And to what I’m teaching them? I’m teaching them that everyone is different. And that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover.

  • I’m a mom and a grandma and I have a tattoo on my ankle since I was 18. Personally I don’t care much about piercing for myself but I’m the older generation and my guts goes funny just thinking about someone piercing a hole in my belly.

    What does having tattoos and piercing got to do with being a mother? Nothing

    I’m sorry that you have been judge because of tattoos and piercing. I think it’s away to express oneself and looks beautiful!

  • I’m a mom and have piercings and tattoos. Having these does not change the way I parent. I am sorry that you were judged.. Shame on that person for attacking you.

    I think tattoos are great and it has nothing to do with parenting. I personally have two tattoos – one is visible and the other is on my stomach and it does cause some laughter when it can be seen.

  • There are not enough eye rolls in the world to express my disgust with that commenter . What the heck ever, lady. Or gentleman. Lol your kids look fine to me so what does your jewelry have to do with it?

  • So glad you chose not to feed the trolls. I don’t think I’ve ever noticed your tattoos or piercings in your photos, but I’m sure they’re beautiful and I don’t see how they would negatively affect your parenting! (Funny story we just realized recently that my 3 year old didn’t realize her daddy’s tattoo is a, well, tattoo. It’s always just kind of existed for her. It’s a funny conversation to have.)