To tattoo or not to tattoo?

Over the past two decades, tattoos have become socially acceptable. So is the case that you can’t walk down the street without seeing someone with a tattoo. Although in some cultures, tattoos are still taboo or are associated with criminal activity and affiliations to illicit groups, tattoos have become ubiquitous in our society. And for some in Hollywood and the music industry, it seems to be a rite of passage once they secure celebrity status (think Rihanna for example).

I personally don’t have any major objections against tattoos. In fact, I love them. I got my first one just over ten years ago and have gotten several others since then. My husband shares the same appreciation for tattoos, though his tolerance for pain is much lower than mine (indeed, they are painful). Knowing that I have been wanting to get a new tattoo for a while now, he decided to get me one for my birthday. This was one of the sweetest, most thoughtful gestures he has ever shown and it is hands down, the most creative birthday gift I have received.

The tricky part about his plan was that it was supposed to be a surprise gift. Yet, as much as he wanted to surprise me on the actual day of my birthday, he also wanted to give me enough time to think about what I wanted to get. So he gave me a four-day head start. Easy for me, I just needed to decide which of my three top tattoo designs I wanted to get this time around (clearly, I have been thinking about this for longer than four days). The three options were: a design that symbolizes independence and individualism, a design honoring my late grandma, or a design in honor of my boys. I chose the last option.


Since both of our kids have the same initials, I opted for an infinity sign with the initials running across from it.



The irony of my tattoo, and the connection to this post, is that after I left the tattoo parlor, I couldn’t help but wonder how I would feel when (because I’m sure that it’s not an if question) my kids ask me if they can get a tattoo too. That is if they even ask. How will I react when they come home with some fresh new ink? Would my husband and I be hypocrites if we say no, given that we both have tattoos? Will we even object to it? I like to think that I would be ok with my kids getting tattoos, with a few exceptions, of course! For example: no tattooing significant others’ names, no tattoos on the face, and no profanity or anything vulgar.

But the more I thought about it and played the scenario in my head, the more I realized one thing. This question, like every other parenting question I’ve had, can only be answered hypothetically until it happens. As I have come to learn in my short journey into this thing called parenthood, I can plan for things all I want and imagine countless fairy tale scenarios in my head. But when push comes to shove, my answers to things may be totally different from what I imagined. Thus, I decided that for now, all I can do is make assumptions about how I think I will react. Or better yet, not think about it at all!


When I came home that night and showed Liam my cool new tattoo, he shook his head and asked me to take it off. He pointed at it with his little finger and a wrinkle in his tiny nose and said, “Mami, qué eso?” “Un tatú, Liam. It’s your name and your brother’s name. Do you like it?” With more wrinkling of his nose, his signature pouting of his mouth, and now frowning his brows, he shook his head and said “Mami, quita eso” (mami, take that off). And just like that, my question about my kids wanting to get tattoos was answered. For now at least.

How about you? Are you a fan of tattoos or not? Have you had to face this tough question with your kids yet?


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