Monday, April 30, 2012

Being a Tattooed Momma: Ashley, Donna & Marian

Continuing with our tattooed momma Q&A, we start with Ashley from Ohio and Donna from Texas, with input from Marian from California. Tattooed mommas are all over the place.

Ashley, tattooed momma of 4

When did you start getting tattooed and why? I got my first tattoo when I was 18 on the night of my high school graduation. It was a random decision with a friend of mine and I got a dragonfly on my back on my left shoulder blade. It didn't really have much meaning to it, other than I thought it looked really cute and wanted to see what it was like to get a tattoo. Now I have several more tattoos and most of them now have significant meanings behind them.

How has being a tattooed mom affected your life? I think it's had a positive affect for me on a personal level. To me it's my way of artistically expressing areas of my life that are important or significant to me.

What do you kids think about your ink, and what do you tell them?  My kids are always interested with my tattoos when I first get a new one, but it quickly fades and they get used to them just being a part of me. My half sleeve of the solar system is the one tattoo that they still show some interest in by asking what all the different planets are. It's a cool way of teaching them about our solar system!

What kind of experiences have you had in public, negative and positive, regarding your tattoos? I've, for the most part, had pretty positive responses from people. I often get told about how they like my tattoos (mostly my half sleeve) and people start asking me who did it for me and such. It opens up some pretty neat conversations with people who also have tattoos or who are thinking about getting one and want to know more about them. I've only had a few people give me nasty looks about them and I just ignore them. Although, I did have one older man once tell me that I would "regret" getting them once I'm older like him and I just smiled and said "Damn, that sucks. Too late now, huh?" Haha!

Donna, tattooed momma of 2

I got my first tattoo when I was 18. It was actually illegal in MA so I went over the border to RI and got a heart with a cross going through it on my chest. The tattoo was a sign of rebellion; I grew up in a strict Catholic Portuguese family. Then I got Tweety bird on my left hip with my husband's name, which is a hack the lines are horrible and the color is faded. I have a pegasus on my right leg, which represents freedom and the ability to do what I wanted.And finally, but not last, I have tribal work with my daughter Hailey's name incorporated on lower back.

Most people don't realize I have tattoos. When they do find out I get a lot of, "You don't seem like the type to have tattoos." Well, what is the 'type?' I've never gotten a real good answer to that one. Usually by this time, they're my friends and don't care. I haven't had anybody be directly mean to me based on my tattoos. Well, unless you consider when I was young, my community (Portuguese) thought I was worshiping the devil...

After I had my first child, I decided to really think about were to put my tattoos (hence the four years of no tattoos). I don't want people to judge my girls and I had to think about my career . Unfortunately, I do believe you will have those teachers that treat your children differently based on my appearance. I have seen and heard it. I try to respect my upbringing and parents by not getting too many, but then I feel like I'm not living for myself.. Is their such a thing as balance?

Both of my girls think mine and hubby's tattoos are cool, and both have said when they get older they will want one. They have asked why I got them, and I tell them each tattoo represents where I was as the time in my life. They're a story. I do have three more tattoos waiting for a home and will hopefully be getting on in the next few months for my birthday. One is a portrait of my beloved mom.

Marian, tattooed momma of 2

Marian has a different take on the subject of tattoos. She said, "Well, my stories are probably very common among moms who have ink or want ink.."

I've picked out a tattoo for the inside of my foot - that's not a big deal. When my mother-in-law found out my husband got another tattoo (on his rib cage) she said to me, "I hope he's done with doing that to himself." I kept thinking... "have we not cut the cord YET?!" I felt this was the perfect opportunity to mention to her that I was contemplating a half sleeve, or modestly, a quarter sleeve. I think she almost passed out.

I get comments like that all the time, so it wasn't a shocker. My favorite is "What's going to happen when you are a grandma with all those tattoos?" I guess I'll just be a grandma who understands that everyone has a right to express themselves... Some paint pictures, some collect knick-knacks, but I'd be doing both in ink... On my body... I guess?!

And of course we've all heard the "what if you regret it" line. Isn't that getting old? What IF we listen to all the naysayers and go through this life conforming to what's normal or acceptable? We might wake up a grandma regretting the conformity and hitting the local tattoo shops and which point in our life, would be called a crisis. I don't get it.

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