During pregnancy, I chucked out most of my old clothes in a huff because I didn’t fit into them anymore, and I was warned that I ‘never would again’.
So out they went.
Whilst in my fat uncomfortable misery, I thought about the coming year and what I should be wearing then – I mean, I wasn’t just ‘me’ anymore.
I was transforming into ‘Mum’.
To me – that meant pastel cardigans, Cath Kidston aprons and sensible shoes…
Standing in front of the mirror in all my fatness, I looked at my tattoos – all chosen on a whim and meaning nothing in particular, and I worried about what other people might think.
Before having Lily, I didn’t think about anyone else when I chose what clothes to wear, or what colour I wanted to dye my hair – or most importantly, how many tattoos I was going to have.
For the first time, I felt like I needed to justify the illustrations on my body, as though my choice to be tattooed would affect my ability to be a good parent. I really struggled with it, suddenly unsure about my appearance in general….
When you make the leap into parenthood, everything you do seems to warrant an explanation to others, and it’s a never ending paranoia of ‘not being good enough’.
As a tattooed person, I am instantly slotted into the free spirited, rebellious and unpredictable crowd. Which in ways I am, but does that not mean I can join the calm, cardigan wearing mums in our common ground of simply – being mums ?A lovely lady messaged me recently, explaining her experience of feeling outcast from a group of mums, and how she felt that they’d made assumptions about her before she’d even said hello. Eventually, they had gotten to know her, and she was accepted into the group but it shouldn’t have to be like this for so many of us decorated mums..
I experience the same fears, same joys and same, often monotonous, lifestyle that non tattooed ‘conventional’ mums do. I’m still a person, regardless of my fashion, hairstyle and lifestyle choices.
It’s part of the Mum Shaming movement that all mums experience anyway, but it can be so much tougher for tattooed parents as we are judged simply on appearance first, and then our parenting choices.
Society is going through a wonderful change currently, and more and more people are being to simply accept things which aren’t The Social Norm. I hope this continues and the perception of tattooed women, and particularly mothers, changes. But we’re not there yet, and until then, I’m going to continue to wear my tattoos with pride, and hopefully encourage more mums to accept themselves and not feel the pressure to conform to stereotype of ‘Mother’.