When I ﬁrst came across the Tattooed Hippie Pirate Mommas Meetup page, I immediately had to join the group. The name resonated with so much truth and at the same time satire that I was immediately drawn to its originality. The combined words display such richness, such obvious freedom of choice, that it just smacked with joie de vivre, something I am desperate to hang on to as I endure the craziness of kids, but also adults too. So... I immediately told the group’s creator, our Fearless Leader, that she needed to copyright the title right away, or- in true pirate fashion- I would. Fortunately, she listened.
I’m so glad she did, not because I would have ever really stolen the name (borrowed perhaps...) but because it’s original, and I’ve always been drawn to originality and I wasn’t afraid to tell her so the very ﬁrst time I talked to her. I am proud to be a part of something so unique and new as I am not normally an early adopter. But I’m glad I spoke up at that ﬁrst meetup because that ﬁrst conversation lead to another, and then another, and another. Now I consider myself to be a true THPM but one would never know this just by looking at me. You see, at ﬁrst glance, it doesn’t appear that I have what it takes to be a Tattooed Hippie Pirate Momma.
So why am I not an obvious THPM candidate? Well, not to be puzzlingly pedantic but I think the title says it all... and then again, it doesn’t.
Allow me to explain– like a great recipe whose ingredient list is the key to making something magical, THPM is, to me, greater than the sum of its parts. When considering the bigger picture, the obviousness of each ingredient is somehow lost on me.
So what does it take? Well, let’s start at the top...
Do you have to be Tattooed? Well... not that I’ve done a thorough check... but, no ink isn’t essential. It does help to be decorated and it is deﬁnitely a common bond between most of the members, but you don’t have to have any permanent pictures. I don’t have a one. Ink free... and yet I’m a member.
Okay. How about a Hippie? Do you have to have hemp headbands? Hardly. Although I have a healthy bohemian streak hidden away, I’m about as non-beatnik as they come. One look at me says, “Boring business casual,” leading most to believe my corn-fed midwestern look is embedded on my bones. By all appearances, I am as far from a beret-wearing, bongo drum-playing, weird cigarette-smoking, poetry-spouting hipster as you can get.
Perhaps it’s the Pirate part that’s critical? Well to any parent, “pirate” connotes much more than a high-powered boat oﬀ the coast of Africa gunning for an oil rig 50 times its size. To those of us who brave the rough seas of life with car seats in tow, who know Dora’s pirates are pigs and that Patchy hates traﬃc as much as we do- a pirate is the personiﬁcation of a non-conformist; a bold and brash personality, someone who takes control of their own destiny. A pirate is a symbol, not really a rogue cutthroat only in it for the money. If that were the case, we’d be the worst pirates in history as there are no treasure chests or buried booty in most of our lives but quite the opposite. We rarely get to sail away anywhere without having to pack
wipes and juice boxes ﬁrst.
So yeah, the wildest, weirdest word in the group’s title speaks the most truth about our charter. In a way you do have to be a Pirate to join this group, albeit of the silly variety. Someone who distinctively, proudly goes against the grain and even embraces stains (or at least doesn’t sweat them). Deliberate provocateurs willing to stand against the tide of the perfect plastic parents proudly printed in the pulp of published periodicals.
But what about the most obvious word... Momma? This seems a no-brainer as THPM is essentially a playgroup. And again, this is a common bond among most of the members. In actuality, this is the word with which I take the most umbrage as it is furthest from the truth, implying a speciﬁcity which the other three words in the title don’t.
So no... you don’t even have to be a Momma to be part of this group. Although I like to joke that I’m “the ugliest mother on the block...”
(wait for it)...
I’m actually a Papa.
I’m a non-conformist in almost every way and proudly always have been. It comes naturally and I’ll bet it’s the same with every non-conformist member of our group. Every Tattooed Hippie Pirate Momma ﬂies the Jolly Roger and knows how to hold a sharp knife between the teeth to boot, all while hoisting the main sail with one hand and cradling a sleeping baby with the other... humming a pirate lullaby... on a rocking ship... with a slick deck... in a storm... dodging cannon ﬁre.
What does it take to be a Tattooed Hippie Pirate Momma? Well, the tattooed hippie pirate part is something with which only non-conformists are born. The Momma part- well, that’s born in you when your children are.