Inky Love

I’m contemplating something huge. I have been for many years, but I’m on the brink of a decision. It may seem ridiculous to some of you. It may seem just plain stupid to others. For me, its a form of expression I haven’t used in quite awhile. Now, I’m going to say something and totally lose at least 20 of you right off the bat-but just stick with me here, k?

new tattoo.

Now hear me out. I know I’m 32-years old and I am married and I have two children. I REALIZE that. This is not some lame attempt to try and be cool. I have 5 of them already. I don’t get a new tattoo without thinking it over (ok, not counting the first one, but that was simply because I turned 18 and COULD) and really making sure its what I want.

Normally this would not be such a huge decision for me, were it not for the location of this new ink stain. You see, I’m contemplating covering my whole left foot. My mother just fell off her computer chair.

All of my other tats are pretty much hidden. That was on purpose. I never felt they needed to be “LOOK AT ME HERE I AM” all over my body and I certainly didn’t get them to show off to the rest of the world. They were for me.

This new one, its for me too but its location is also significant because it was part of my wedding. Being the kind of couple we are, the Kaiser and I did not have the most traditional of ceremonies. He wore his Chucks. I had bridal mehndi by a lovely Indian woman in Cerritos, CA who painstakingly spent about 6 hours on my feet.

I want a tattoo artist to recreate that mehndi on my left foot, incorporating my children’s names. Unless I walk around in socks or boots for the rest of my life, this new display of body art will be really, really noticeable. Forever.

I know I’ve touched on this subject before, but I really do worry how Ms. UpTight Teacher might take Mom with Tats. While I don’t care what people think of me, I don’t want to handicap my kids. Sure they will learn the lesson that Mom doesn’t care what other people think and neither should they, but I don’t want to ever be a burden for them.

Its amazing the decisions I make lately. None of them have to do with me, or what I want. All of them have to do with what is best for my kids. Such is parenthood. There are those small decisions that are selfish that I allow now, like a weekend away or the 4pm being the new 5pm for cocktail hour. But this one is different. I can’t think of how or why this would help me be a better mother. I’m not seeing the “pro” for my kids here, other than “mom is an individual.” At least with taking a weekend to myself I come back refreshed and a better Mom. Part of this whole tattoo thing just feel to TOTALLY selfish that I’m having a hard time justifying it.

Which is probably why it has taken me so long to really get my butt in gear to go do it. Setting aside that this is a tattoo decision, I think my whole dilemma here is a larger question we Moms ask ourselves all the time. How much do “I” matter anymore? How do I separate or incorporate the “me” in this whole motherhood thing.

I am Mom.

Or am I more than Mom? I am wife, I am friend, I am me..but really, I AM MOM. Its so dominating. Not a thought goes by without I AM MOM ringing in my head. Even when I try to separate a bit, I always come back to I AM MOM.

Maybe I’ll just have I AM MOM tattooed on my forehead. As if the whiny kids tagging along behind me aren’t advertising enough. So I send the questions in my head out into the great, global community-where do you draw the line?Where does Mom begin and where do you end? Can you draw the line? Are there any lines? And more importantly, do I draw some permanent lines all over my feet?


  1. I have 5 as well and plans for at least 3 more. None of mine are big ones and, like you, they are all for me, myself. They are all in memory of my family, faith and a lost soul. They are such personal things to those who have them. I say go for it. My son’s preschool director saw all of mine the day we met since it was so freakin’ hot outside. Ha! She commented that she liked the cross ones I had. Do it. After all, you are the Queen for goodness sake.

  2. I say do it. I only have one and it was done at 17 and has no real significance to me, but I love it. I am planning on another one but it will be HUGE, and I have to find a good artist. You being in CA, have tons of good artists at your fingertips, so I say GO FOR IT!!

  3. I don’t know if there is a separation from “ourselves” and motherhood. While being a mom is just part of who I am (also a woman and a wife), I think motherhood defines who I am because regardless of all the other changes that may occur in my life (moving, new job, new hair color, new tattoo, new clothes) I’ll always be Dawson’s mother. I don’t know if there is any getting around that — and for right now I’m content with that notion.

    But I imagine as the Doodlebug gets older, I’ll want to bring “myself” back — but isn’t being a mom, part of myself?

    I’m just as lost as the next mother, I suppose. But I think as far as the tattoo goes, if it’s not offensive to you, your husband, your children, and if you really want to do it, why not go for it? Does it really matter what anyone else thinks? But then again, just as I am clearly defined by motherhood, I might also be defined by my tattoos.

    I just saw on the news or somewhere that people are removing their tattoos because they’re afraid of what employers and others think. I find it sad that this country isn’t more accepting of our individual expression. But I also think the people completely COVERED in tats from head to toe often look ridiculous.

    I suppose I really didn’t help much here. Sorry for the long-arse comment! I’m sure the right answer will come to you.

  4. Are you and Jeff going to go to the tattoo parlor together? That would be adorable.

  5. OK — I live in hippy-dippy Vancouver BC, so my judgment may be suspect, but I say go for it!

    Here pretty much everyone and his DOG who’s under the age of 35 has a tattoo of some sort — even teachers! So I certainly wouldn’t let perceived public opinion sway your decision — after all, it’s not like you’re getting a tattoo of a skull with a snake coming out of the eye socket!

  6. That is gonna hurt sumpin fierce and that’s all I got to say about that.

  7. tattoos aren’t really my thing, but i will say that i have no intention of taking out my tongue piercing when i become a mom. i say do what you want – having tattoos does not, in any way, affect your mothering abilities.

  8. I say get the damn thing, but don’t be shocked the day one of the kids says “Mom, do you ever wash your feet?”

    .. and oh, make sure you do the same to the real, I mean virtual, Queen.

  9. I love it… so totally think you should do it. However I also have 5, plan on having more done eventually…I am holding off now because I plan on being a surrogate for an infertile couple and they won’t let you if you have had a tattoo in the past year. I am all about expressing your individuality… and my sister is a tattoo artist which makes it pretty easy to find someone I “trust” to tattoo me 🙂

    I know what you mean though… every decision you make is shadowed by the thought “How will this affect my kids?” No decision is made solely for you anymore…..ever.

  10. Motherhood is so tender. I remember having similar feelings when mine were young, but for me it turned out that my un-Stepford-ness leaked out of every pore, tattoed or not, and it is just fine. My children seem to value our family’s differentness and it gives them some sort of strength to tackle their teen years just as they are. I certainly have felt judged though, more so by the well-off soccer mom types, not by teachers.

  11. Maybe it will endear future teachers to you, who knows? You just gotta do what you want to do for yourself – thus making you the best mother you can be!

  12. I was tattooed on my right wrist several years ago and so clearly remember my tattoo artist asking if I was prepared for the PERMANENCE of that tattoo–that every time I reached out to shake someone’s hand, the tattoo would be visible.
    Of all my tattoos, this is the one I’m most proud of, and the best work yet.
    I feel as though my tattoos are a journal on my skin–a story of my life and a story that only I know. Each tattoo is a chapter of my life. Some are in honor of friends I’ve lost, others are to mark a life-changing experience.
    I think, especially these days, tattoos are intensely personal and you should’nt feel the need to justify to anyone the reasons why you choose to write your history on your body. I love the mehndi work, and I think you should totally go for it. It’s yours and it’s your story. But, at the same time, I understand your hesitance.
    In the long run, it’s a story for you to tell to the people who are willing/interested. And those are probably the people you want to surround yourself with.

  13. I think that would be a beautiful tattoo! I love mehndi art, and have had my hands decorated with henna several times. Plus it would have a very special meaning to you.

    If you want one that will always stand out (instead of something you can hide if needed), you could design a tattoo to go across the scar from your thyroid surgery.

    I’ve always thought about getting a tattoo, but I’ve never actually done it yet. Someday.

  14. There’s such a fine line between Mom and Self, but why should there have to be lines at all? It all makes up You.

    Get the tattoo. It’s something meaningful to you and the Kaiser. It’s okay to be selfish once in awhile. Not everything in life has to be for the kids. And you want it. Don’t worry about the other stuff.

  15. Everyone else is saying it, but I’ll chime in anyway. Do it. Even way out here in the Bible Belt, tats do not draw the stares and derision they used to; they’re everywhere, on just about everyone, and no one seems to think twice about it.

    If you DO run into one of THOSE people (“I would never damage my body with a tattoo! You’re just sick!”) look at it as an opportunity to teach the munchkins about the kind of people they do and do not want to emulate. Or to teach them how to handle confrontation in a mature way (“why don’t we talk about how you have been acting towards my kids since you saw my tattoo?”) instead of a more, um, volatile manner (“my tattoo and I invite you outside so I can kick your ass”). 🙂

  16. It’s already been said 15 times, and I agree: It’s special to you, it’s pretty too look at, and if you’re really really worried about the teachers you can wear socks & shoes. But honestly, in So. Cal., who would look askance at you for a mendhi foot tattoo? They might even think it’s actually henna, unless it’s in some wild color(s). Isn’t there black henna as well as brown/red?

    I like the idea of working the kids’ names into the design. I’ve wanted to get some kind of tattoo with my girls’ names as well, but haven’t figured out where I want it to be or what I want it to look like. I once saw another mom’s foot tattoo with her girls’ names. They were on the sides of her feet with simple flowers & vines, where they could be covered with flats or heels. For me, a foot tattoo wouldn’t be permanent unless it were right on top. On the side I’d end up pumicing it off! ha ha ha!

  17. I can’t really speak to where to draw the line on motherhood seeing as I haven’t quite been at this myself for very long. I’m still struggling to ensure everything else in my life doesn’t fall apart.

    I can say for the tat that I think it is a wonderful idea. The tattoo itself sounds like a beautiful piece of artwork. I also think that the meaning behind it is a valuable lesson for your kids. Practically it can show them that when the time comes and they want to adorn their body it shouldn’t be taken lightly. ie. it should be artwork that really means something to them. It can also serve as another way to illustrate to them the importance of your union with your husband and children.

    I’m not saying they’ll get these things now, they are young, but one day these could be good lessons if this new tat is something really important to you. I think giving yourself something you want that is important to you and will help to further define your identity is healthy and in turn good for your kids.

    As far as the uptight teachers, are tats really that big a deal anymore? Even those you can see have become less and less out of the ordinary.

  18. Get it. It’s beautiful. Everytime you see it, it will remind you of the love you have for Kaiser and the kids. It will recharge your soul. And that soul is the one that is both you and Mum.

    LIke you I have tat’s where no one see’s them unless I choose to show them. They are higly personal and I take a long time planning the what and the where.

    And maybe it’s just because I am an Aussie but, who gives a shit what people think? If the kids teachers behave like that…. cause you have such a wonderful tattoo on your foot… then that is enough warning to get the kids FAR AWAY from those teachers.

    Is there any more profound way to show the kids and Kaiser how much they mean to you, than having them permanently on your skin (as opposed to under it as usual lol)

  19. What a beautiful, GORGEOUS idea for a tattoo!!

    I’m 37 and planning on getting my first tattoo in the next year. I have about 4-5 more planned. And it’s not to be “cool” either, rather, to represent some challenges with my health I’ve had over the past 12 years.

    And yeah, I have 2 kids. So this mom thinks what you’re planning is neat 😉 I teach my kids to look at the person inside (and admire the art on the outside!)

    My mom is going to freak though ROFL

  20. I do my own mehndi with henna (I think the website is

    I got my nose stud at 34 (and I’m the pastor’s wife at a First Baptist Church in rural Oklahoma). My kids are totally okay with it. My daughter thought I was NUTS, but she thinks it’s great … for ME! ha!

  21. amberstar says:

    Ahem…that is a picture of your right foot. I know you know that.

    I think it will be very cool when you get it done, and your kids will still love you…even if their teacher looks at you sort of weird.

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