My Tattoos Have Nothing to Do With My Parenting

by Dana Del Real
Originally Published: 

“Does your mom like rock and roll?”

One of my daughter’s friends asked her this question recently after seeing me at a school carnival. I had to giggle when my daughter told me this. I am assuming she asked her this because I didn’t exactly blend in with the crowd of parents, all dressed in school T-shirts and running around with a whole lot of school spirit.

They also didn’t have tattoos, piercings, or dreads.

OK, OK, to be fair, I don’t know for sure exactly who had hidden tattoos. Maybe on the small of their back, or the side of their ankle. Maybe even somewhere visible. But I can tell you this: I stood out like a magical, breathing, walking piece of art.

But as confident as I felt, most of the parents looked at me like I had just escaped prison. And they side-eyed me like they had never seen a woman with dreads, facial piercings and a colorful arm sleeve in progress, filled with tattoos.

Hmmm, maybe they haven’t. At least not in this town.

I know tattoos and piercings aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. And that’s cool. But I also know that it’s not uncommon nowadays to have them. So why was I being stared at like I had a third eye?

Ahhh, yes. Because I am a mom. A mom whose children belong to an affluent school district. A mom with 5 small, impressionable kids. And according to a lot of society, as a mom, I have no business having SO. MANY. TATTOOS. What kind of message am I sending to my offspring? GASP! Unbelievable. What kind of mother could I possibly be to let my kids see this? Ya. I get it. Bring on the dirty looks.

But just for the hell of it, I will tell you exactly what kind of mother I am.

I am a mom that loves her children. FIERCELY. My love is immeasurable and is so fuckin’ strong that I could cry just thinking about it. Tattoos don’t stop me from loving them.

I am a mom that has tons of fun with her children. We laugh and joke all the time. Their sarcasm and wit is proof that piercings don’t stop me from having fun with them.

I am a mom that listens to her children. Their good days and their bad days. Bring it on, I’m all ears. They can come to me with anything because they know I will listen. And they can lay their head on my chest and I will hold them as long as they want. Dreads don’t stop me from listening.

I don’t like to toot my own horn a lot. But when it comes to being a mom: TOOT TOOT!

I do my best every damn day. My appearance has nothing to do with any of it. And do you want to know what kind of message I am sending to my kids? I am telling them it’s OK to be who you are. It’s OK to be comfortable in your own damn skin. It’s OK to be so fuckin’ confident that people say you are conceited. People are going to say what they want anyway. So why not be who you want to be?

I always try to see the good in people. I don’t judge someone based on the way they look. I judge them based on whether or not they are an asshole. And if someone assumes I am not a good mom just because I look a certain way, that says A LOT about them, not me.

I’m not gonna sit here and tell you how to raise your kids. I’m not gonna tell you to teach them to respect other people, because honestly, that should just be a given. But I will say this: I am a person with body modifications and that has no effect on me as a mother. Period. I am not the first mom like this. Won’t be the last. Don’t like it? Don’t look. But you’d be missing out. I’m a pretty fun gal.

My kids are loved like crazy. I am pretty sure they love me just fine the way I am. They are proud of me. And I am so very proud of them. That has nothing to do with looks. That right there, it’s the heart. Yes, us loud-looking parents, we have those. So see? We aren’t so different after all.

Oh, and I did make sure to answer the little girl’s question: Yes, I do like rock and roll.

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