Friday, April 27, 2012

Being a Tattooed Momma: Heather & Amber

In today's society, tattoos are becoming more common, especially among mothers who want to honor their children with their ink. With the changing of the times, I asked a few out-of-the-box tattooed mommas to answer a few questions about their own experiences. This is a series that will feature a handful of moms spread out over a few days. I hope you enjoy it.

Heather, tattooed momma of 3 

When did you start getting tattooed and why? My first tattoo was a tattoo with my husband's name. We both got similar tattoos over our hearts with each other's names. We did it on Valentine's in 2006 or 2007. 

Chest piece done by Pat Beck at Arsenal Ink, Denton. Arm piece by Fort Worth artist.

How has being a tattooed mom affected your life? I think that it speaks true of who I am. My husband and I are very focused on raising our kids in a creative and open minded household. I love tattoos and plan to have more work done in the future. I would say that most people especially older generations frown upon my tattoos when they see me with my kids in a public place, but I honestly have more people comment on how much they like my tattoos more.

Ani, Loki and Leni
What do you kids think about your ink, and what do you tell them? My kids love my tattoos! I think they especially like them because it has their names on it! My daughters talk about tattoos that they want all of the time and I tell them that when they are an adult they can decide if tattoos are right for them. My eldest child is a Type 1 Diabetic and must wear a medical ID bracelet at all times in case of an emergency, and I am planning to take her to get a diabetes tattoo as soon as she is old enough so she wont have to wear one anymore. That is, if she still wants one when she is an adult.

What kind of experiences have you had in public, negative and positive, regarding your tattoos? Like I mentioned before, I have had people give me dirty looks about it. One time I was at the grocery store in the checkout line and they man standing behind me wouldn't stop staring at it. He then said "You sure have your hands full..." Staring at my three kids. Then he said "How many of these are yours" ... "Um, all of them..." then he looked at my tattoo and rolled his eyes. It was very rude but who cares.

Amber, tattooed momma of 3

I started first by getting a tattoo in memory of my brother when I was 17 years old. From the womb, he was my best friend and it was a must that I carry his name on me forever. I hid it from my parents until I was 18. It was easy since I had been living on my own for some time. I think I did it as a way to both rebel and honor my brother. My parents never let me so much as have my ears pierced. I got my first piercing when I discharged from the Army in Sept. 2002. Got my tongue done before my ear lobes. Definitely to rebel.

I don't really consider myself alternative. I'm just myself. But my tattoos motivate me. They're mostly all reminders of significant points in my life and make me smile no matter what's going on around me. I think of it as a way to "decorate my temple." However, many people see them as just a way to rebel, which has lead to some pretty negative experiences.

My kids absolutely LOVE my tattoos and from infancy were fascinated by my piercings. My daughter Samantha (my youngest) calls my tattoos "beautifuls" and attempts to mimic me by drawing on herself. I don't stop her. I think she's trying to be like mommy, which is perfectly okay. I hope she's able to express herself without discrimination as she grows older. My sons think I'm the coolest mom ever. My oldest has showed all of his teachers my right ankle, where his name has been tattooed since 2004, the year of his birth. My oldest used to tell me, "You need to get back in the bath, you missed a spot," referring to my tattoos. I had to tell them that they don't go away, that my art will always be there.

I've received mostly negative responses regarding my tattoos and piercings. When I was working, my HR manager saw the tattoo on my right wrist (9 falling stars) and immediately moved my cubical out of her sight. Her reasoning? "Her tattoo is offensive." I'm not entirely sure why stars offend her, but I let it go. I've also had a preacher tell me that I wouldn't get into heaven because I have defaced my body.

I have had some positive experiences. I've been stopped several times in stores and at my son's school and I've gotten compliments on my art and comments like, "Wow, that's beautiful! Who did that?"
Kids will point them out to their mothers: "Look, she has tattoos like you!" I think it's very cute. I think as inked mommies, we are raising tolerant and accepting children.

I've got - have to count - 8 tattoos. My right wrist is colorfully decorated with 9 falling stars (which represents deceased family and friends) and a Latin phrase honoring my best friend who passed away in a single car accident in March 2005. It says Alis Volat Propriis. It means "She flies with her own wings." My left wrist is not so colorful. I've got a simple vampire design and another Latin phrase, "Carpe Noctem," which means seize the night. I've always been a night owl, from birth (of course) and my children are the same. On my left shoulder blade (left side = heart), I have 3 cherry blossom flowers, each sized and colored for each of my three living children. My lower back dons a LARGE Chevy bowtie with the number 3 and below that, a separate tattoo of my baby brother's initials in a gorgeous font. And finally, on my right ankle, my son Aeric's name in script. I have plans to have my other two babies' names in script so that they wrap around that ankle and ID tags to signify my time in the military and also to honor my grandfather's service in WWII.

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