In the age of social media and popular opinion, it’s easy for anyone from any corner of the world to have something to say. The categories of controversy are endless, and amid them is the subject of parenting and what a “proper parent” should look like. While celebrities are often the target of these online feuds and keyboard wars the “popular opinion” tends to trickle down into the most average newsfeeds. So I thought to myself, firstly who makes these pointless cookie cutter visions of a mother and secondly why is it anyone’s business what I look like or indulge in so long as my child is healthy, fed and well cared for? I see such outdated ideals on what women in general should look like or how we should speak and quite frankly, hilarity aside, it’s appalling. In 2016, there should be no right or wrong way to be a mother especially in terms of appearance.
I was eighteen when my daughter was born so I was told that “I looked too young to be a mother” or “I can’t be a day over 16” or my personal favorite “Babies having babies”. That statement made my blood boil to no end, how dare anyone gage my ability to be a mother solely on my age or by the actions of other young women? Though I may have gotten off to a rocky start to adulthood there was never a time Ava went without, suffered or was harmed, she was always my number one priority and still is. I worked 14 hours shifts at a hostess job when I was 19 to make sure I could give Ava the best of everything, I worked a retail job I despised just to ensure I could throw her the best birthday parties. I did all these things as a teenager, as a young 20 something, as a mom with tattoos, as a mom who likes rap and hip hop and as a mom who wasn’t really concerned with what motherhood should “look like”.
I’ve seen some ridiculous articles about how children of parents with tattoos are more likely to be abused or more likely to live in poverty. Things like that make me chuckle because there’s zero validity to it, none, nada. On the other hand though there is a statistic that estimates teen mothers have less than a 30% chance of getting a college degree before she turns 30. That statistic has been proven and the fact that it has is saddening. While motherhood is no easy feat in itself, it’s not impossible to obtain a degree, teen moms just need more support in order to accomplish it. Instead of condemning these young women for not having kids at that “ideal age”, lets support their dreams and provide hand ups instead of just handouts.
Mother is not a “one size fits all” or cookie cutter persona. We do not all fit under one umbrella, and we never will. Like snowflakes like fingerprints we are all unique, diverse and wonderful. I got my first tattoo two months after Ava was born, I got my most recent last week because tattoo art is something I’m drawn to, it intrigues me, I like it. Last year I got a half sleeve piece dedicated to my grandmother and to Ava, it’s my biggest tattoo to date. At first I hesitated at the idea of getting it because I feared people’s opinion but after expressing my concerns to someone close to me he said “Sam you’re the same great mom with or without it and if you love it get it, all it changes is the outside not the inside”. I love my tattoos, Ava loves them too and she’s always so excited to tell people the tattoo on my wrist, of her name, is in her handwriting. Ava doesn’t remember me without tattoos and she doesn’t think anything of their presence, she has no bias. At the end of the day I am still her mother, her provider and her protector. The same goes for other moms, moms who are tattooed head to toe, without a single tattoo, covered in piercings or rocking some awesome hairstyle, we are all mothers! Not one stitch of our appearance can change how we love our kids and that is something people need to realize.