Celia Sanchez snaps photos of moms that don’t fit the ‘typical mom’ mold and it’s beautiful
When Celia Sanchez became a mom 11 years ago she got the message loud and clear: you don’t fit the mom mold. You’re different. “When I would take my children to day care, I felt kind of … like I didn’t look like the other moms,” Sanchez told Upworthy. “They were much older than me. I just felt kind of separated from them. I would get a lot of ‘Oh you’re so young to be a mom,’ ‘You don’t really look like a mom,’ and I always thought that was a silly thing to say: ‘Oh you don’t look like a mom.'”
Sanchez was 23 years old at the time of these uncomfortable encounters with other parents. Now, years later, after feeling the obvious wraths of judgement and reductive stereotyping she is showing the world that moms can look all types of ways. Moms can have tattoos, piercings, vibrant hair colors, and clothes that fit their personal style. Her photo series is called, “Devoted,” and it aims to challenge your first impressions of what an archetypal mom looks like.
“I knew mothers who didn’t look like a ‘typical mom,’ and I always wanted to photograph them and feature them and show that you don’t have to look a certain way to be a mom,” she said. It’s all about combating hasty, and quite frankly, baseless notions that moms have or should have a predetermined physical appearance.
Surely we all know that moms can have tattoos and be awesome moms, this is 2016 after all, but the reality is that tattoos are still considered taboo in many communities. Many people, including moms, are quick to make judgments about a person’s professional aptitude, their caretaking abilities, and even their character just based off of physical appearances and that’s unfortunate. We’re all just trying to be who we are and feel happy and comfortable.
“I just wanted to show women — mothers — who weren’t … sacrificing their personal style,” Sanchez said. “Being a mom, you get lost in your children and I really love the fact that these women didn’t lose themselves. They didn’t lose their identities. They’re still themselves. They’re still great parents.”
Considering how many people actually have tattoos right now you would think there would be mainstream acceptance. According to a 2015 Harris poll, nearly half (47 percent) of millennials reported having a tattoo. I’m a millennial mom and I have some tattoos (and purple hair this month, had green hair last year). I’ve had my fair share of parental judgement. Parents at my kid’s school, administrators, fellow community event goers in my town, and my neighbors have all thrown me side eye or made snide, off handed remarks about my appearance and my abilities to be a good parent. As if the two are even remotely related. Spoiler alert: they’re not.
Millennials aren’t the only ones with tattoos either. More than a third of Gen Xers (those born mid-1960’s to late 70’s or 80’s) in the poll reported having a tattoo. People with children that were included in the poll were almost twice as likely to have a tattoo than those without children (43 percent versus 21 percent). And yet, visible tattoos in the workplace and among parents are often met with negativity – it’s mind-boggling.
We don’t all have to look the same or parent the same. The common thread that we all have is that we love our kids fiercely. We love them, care for them, support them, and educate them and that should be celebrated in whatever form that takes.
Sanchez told the Huffington Post about her powerful project, “I wanted to try and show a different image to the word ‘mother.'”Indeed she did, and having the representation feels and looks really good.