It’s time to rethink ink! Gone are the days when tattoos were just for bikers. Moms are sporting tattoos, making their own personal statements with body art. When we asked YMC members to share their "tatts", we were flooded with photos. Each tattoo submitted has its own story and meaning. Check out these mamas who decorated their body and find out why they decided to get permanently inked. By the way, if you're thinking of getting a tattoo, here's an app to help you design your own!
I have wanted tattoos for a long time but knew I would want my first one to be special. Over a period of almost 20 years I spent a lot of time in tattoo parlors, poring over magazines and Internet searches and talking to anyone I met with a tattoo about what they'd gotten and why. But I still did not commit to my own session under the needle.
It wasn't fear of pain or regret, it was simply indecision. I wanted—needed even—my first tattoo to be special. And even though I'd planned to get it for many important occasions in my life, nothing felt right so the opportunities would pass on by.
Then, just a few months before my 35th birthday an idea hit and during the summer of that year (just after the b-day) I met with an artist and explained my idea to him. A few days later he delivered some amazing sketches and after a few minor alterations I gleefully climbed in the chair!
Two and a half hours later (not counting a 20-minute break for both my sake and the tattoo artist's), I emerged with my first... and second tattoos!
Both are the names of my daughters, in a design as per my idea, rendered by the tattoo artist. In brilliantly vivid colours. On insides of my wrists—over my heartlines (veins) and orientated so I can see them all the time, even when the girls aren't with me.
I always wanted a tattoo but was always afraid of the pain. Also, afraid of the fact that it is on you for the rest of your life.
I knew that I would get one some day but it had to be done by an artist I fully trusted and it had to be something meaningful enough to look at every day. My husband Aaron found a wonderful artist who he had met before and was familiar with his work. I saw my hubby go to him with an idea and come home with an amazing piece of artwork on his arm. I knew that if Aaron trusted him, he must be good.
After I had my third and final daughter I knew that my tattoo day was getting closer because I finally had something meaningful enough.
My 8-year-old came home from school one day with a tattoo kit for kids. They could use the pens and stencils to make their own art all over their bodies. So I immediately started to experiment. It didn't take me long to figure it out. I wanted my 3 girls’ names on the inside of my forearm, nicely written. Not too big. It took me a bit to figure out what I was going to put at the end of each name to separate their names.
Aaron went ahead and booked the appointment and the pressure was on to figure out exactly what I wanted. I finally decided I wanted little footprints beside each name, each foot in descending sizes matching their birth order.
When I went to the appointment and met Rob, he was so nice. He put on a No Doubt CD for me and he had drawn up exactly what I wanted.
I can honestly say it didn't hurt at all really. What did hurt was watching it. I only looked for a minute but that was the worst part for me.
I am so happy with my tattoo. The best part is that it's an original. I designed it all by myself and it is beautiful.
Everyone keeps telling me I will go back for another one. But I have no plans on getting any more tattoos. I am very happy with the one I have.
My husband on the other hand...I don't know when he'll ever stop.
I have many tattoos, but these two on my shoulders are a family crest. They are two finned killer whales, done in Haida designs. The designs are done by my youngest brother. I have a tattoo friend that comes from Austin, Texas every year and does my work for me. I had these tattoos done on two different occasions. The first one was done 3 years ago and it took 6.5 hours (yes, I did do it all in one sitting) and I had the second done the following year (this one only took 5.5 hours) The killer whale heads come over my shoulders and the rest of the bodies are on my back and almost meet in the center.
From the moment my father passed away, I had this feeling that I wanted to get a tattoo to commemorate him. He didn't even like tattoos, so I don't know why. It was took two years before I finally figured out what to get. In his home was a beautiful painting of lilypads and lotus flowers that we both loved. He was a collector of art, and this was one of the only pieces he'd purchased that hadn't appreciated in value. But, he never bought art for money; he did so for the beauty. This painting exemplified how he lived his life and passed away looking at that picture. That's why my tattoo is of a lotus flower.
I had always wanted a tattoo but was always to chicken to do it. I won a contest and the prize was a gift certificate for a local tattoo shop. So I went in with the idea of five butterflies for me and my kids. Every kid picked their favorite color and the butterflies go in order of age.
Going through life as a single mom isn't an easy task and at times I wonder if I can do it all and how will I do it.
In 2008 I took my life in my hands and faced my demons—I acknowledged my addiction and became sober. In a moment of weakness in 2010 while I was sitting down in a restaurant I realized that if I had the strength to stay sober that meant that I could tackle the daily struggles of being a single mom and that I would be okay.
So I got the word strength with a lotus and below my sobriety date.
I have 16 tattoos (and counting) and they all have meaning—life morals I stand by, memory of a lost one, one for my son. I've designed all my tattoos.
The one I always get the most comments about is the one on my wrist.
I was raised in a very religious family but as a teen I felt like it wasn't the right path for me. I am a very spiritual person and notice that most religions can all agree we have someone watching over us (past loved ones, guardian angels...etc. ) so I came up with my design to represent that. It is a pretty piece and a great reminder that we always have someone watching over us.
I have two tattoos. Each is very significant and important to me. I claim one as "mine" and the other is Joanne's. Joanne was my sister-in-law. She was a young, beautiful woman I had known since I was 11. She was more like a cherished older sister than an in-law. Joanne battled and succumbed to the evil of breast cancer after a 7 year fight. and fight she did until the bitter, bitter end. She left behind my brother and 3 children. She was 41.
The pain associated with the unfairness of her illness and the eventuality of her death was life altering for me. I wanted a way to connect with her even though she was gone. It took me a long time to find something that was meaningful enough to represented her. I settled on Celtic knot butterfly wings, to celebrate her Irish background and the transformation and freedom imagery joined on the body of the pink ribbon symbol. This September marks the 6th anniversary of her death, but Joanne's tattoo is a reminder of a life never forgotten.
I got my tattoo at the same time I got Joanne's. I needed to get something for myself, to balance the sorrow. The spiral is an ancient symbol represented in almost all past cultures. To some it represents life force or motherhood. I chose this symbolism to represent me and my two crazy, beautiful, wonderful girls that I have always affectionately called, my "girlies." A double spiral—two swirlies, for my girlie whirlies!
When I was 17 years old I kept having dreams that I had two dolphins circling my navel. It was a really soothing dream. Dolphins have always meant friendship, intelligence, and inspiration to me and it wasn't long before I started wishing that I could make my dream come true. Later that year, when I graduated high school, I treated myself to my tattoo. Even now after my body has changed from girlhood to womanhood to motherhood it's still one of my favourite things.
This is my 3rd and latest tattoo. You can tell it's new because of the darkness of the ink. I got it about 3 weeks ago and it's on the inside of my right wrist. The roman numerals represent my 3 kids' birth dates (month and day, not year because that would be hugely long): October 8; August 14; August 10. My husband also got this one but in a different spot: over his heart. My kids love that all of my tattoos, so far, all represent them in some way.
Tattoos are addictive and I can't wait to get more!
The first sketch was made when I was 16 and I decided I still wanted it four years later as a mark of exiting my teenage years. The spikes of the dragon represent my teenage anger, and I decided to go with purple at the last minute.
Each rose represents one of my sons. My mom always called me her rose bud so I call my sons my roses. The butterfly represents my step son. When I first met him he was a really cautious person. One day a beautiful butterfly landed outside our front door. All the other boys ran out to see it. My step son wouldn't go without his shoes and coat. I made him run out as he was in bare feet. I want him to always run after butterflies: figuratively and literally.
I am taking part in the CIBC Run for the Cure in September and my team has held two "Tattoos For Tatas" events this year. I have had various friends and family—myself included—who have battled various cancers and wanted to honour them with my tattoos. I chose lavender coloured ribbons to represent all cancers.
I had my tenth tattoo planned but then I found out I was pregnant with my third child. The tattoo was redrawn and I finally had it done this June. It incorporates my wedding flowers, with three lilies for my three kids.
In September 2011 I got a new tattoo for my dear friend Nadia, who is a two-time cancer survivor. My daughter Hanna picked where it should go, so I had it done on my left arm.
I know I did this for my friend, but it is also to honour all who have survived and those who did not.
This is a celtic symbol meaning "sister love." My two sisters and I all have this tattoo. The initials are of our relatives who have passed away from cancer. There is another initial we have to add—our grandma passed away recently from cancer.
This one, one of many, was done by Andres Merrill at TCB in Toronto. It's a punk rock portrait of Marie Antoinette. The swirly bit on the bottom is the official seal of the Queen MA. It took 3 three-hour sittings (9 hours).
I love historical stuff and am a HUGE Marie Antoinette fan (I also have a small Henry 8 tattoo and a Byzantine icon).
I wanted to get something that represented my children and as I was looking for ideas I found this in a book. I searched the internet and could not find many images like this, so I felt that my tattoo would be very unique!
I always wanted to get a tattoo. I even had the one I wanted printed from the internet for four years before I actually had it done. When I was with my ex husband he didn't like tattoos and refused to let me get one. I was always doing things to please him. After a couple of years of being free from that relationship, I decided I was going to get inked. My sister and brother even chipped in a bit of money for it (I got it done on my 30th birthday). FINALLY I was doing something for myself.
A fellow mom was a bit scared to get her tattoo alone, so I volunteered to go with her and get one done too. I had always had a hankering, but didn't even know where to start. So out I went to Langley to have gruff-looking men work on my back.
It is my family's zodiac signs in a row. Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, and Leo. The only thing is that now I have Tara and she is a Cancer too. And we lost a baby at 25 weeks and the kids have been bugging me to add something to honour him.
Anyone know a good tattoo artist to help me out?
I actually blogged about my most recent tattoo. My youngest daughter (now almost 4) was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 13 months. I got a CP ribbon with the word "Inspire" above it. My two tattoos in the past were places I could easily "hide" if I wanted to. (Right lower leg and right lower back) This one catches my attention daily and reminds me that Jillian inspires me in everything she does. Her sister inspires me as well—I don't want my other daughter to feel left out.
I got my tattoo when I turned 21. I was in Montreal visiting my best friend and knew that after years of thinking about it I was ready to get my tattoo.
I chose a drawing of a fish by a West Coast Aboriginal nation. I was getting ready to enter my Masters in Native Canadian History and wanted to choose a symbol of that and the strength and courage it represented.
However, I guess I didn't expect to gain weight. I got the tattoo on my lower back and with age, a bit of weight gain, and my twin pregnancy the tattoo is now shrunk, distorted ,and has stretch marks running through it. Definitely not proud to show it like I used to be.
Who knew being a mom would wreak havoc on my tattoo!
I have a few tattoos but this one was my latest. I decided to get this after my husband and I had been living a part for over a year. My future within my marriage was very uncertain but no matter what happened down the road I would always be a mother. I am very glad I went and got this one done. Now my future is not to remain married and become a single, divorced woman but I am still a mother.
I am a full-time working mom with two young girls. My husband is tattooed as well and I love them all. I have a few myself, but this one is my favourite. It describes my feisty personality—we also joke around that it's one foot partially in hell...
I have four tattoos in total and each one holds special meaning and personal self expression. I recently was tattooed back in March and I brought my teen daughter with me. (Great parenting moment!)
My tattoo is the chinese symbols for hope. I have lived with varying degrees of depression for many years and tried with little success to gain relief. After recieving great support and finding the right medication, my depression lifted completely for the first time since I was a teenager.
The tattoo is meant to remind me and others that no matter how dark things may seem, there is always light. That we should not live in the past or pine away for the future, but live in the present. Hope was something I never dared to do. The tattoo marks this new chapter in my life and to never ever give up.
My tattoo comes from the cross that was a craft from my children's Sunday school. They did these great Christian prayer beads. We are also a bit of a rock family too...so it went well!
I have a tattoo on my arm. It is so pretty!
I lost three of my dogs very quickly and tragically and so I got this tattoo. The S is for "Shyla" the P is for "Pumpkin" and B is for "Brutis." All three left paw prints on my heart. My kids, husband and I all cherish the time we did have with then and try to live life to the fullest!
I have four tattoos in total, but the one that I cherish the most is my ankle tattoo representing my zodiac sign LIBRA.
I find myself completely described as the Libra stereotype. I find balance in every single situation of my life. I cherish this characteristic and find it to be comforting when bad things happen, I know good things will come to. I knew I had to symbolize it through a tattoo :)
My mother had breast cancer and is a five-year survivor now. Butterflies have always been something special to my mother and me so this tattoo made sense to me. My sister and mother have matching ones.
I got my tattoo when I was in my early 20s. At the time, I had never seen one on a foot. I had moved out to finish school and thought it was exactly what I needed to do. I wanted a starfish but couldn't find what I liked. (Pre-Internet made it a bit more of a challenge.)
I settled on a star/sun and still like it all these years later—but imagine my surprise when my daughter H looked at it one day not so long ago and said to her twin brother E, "Know what Mom should have got instead?" and he immediately replied, "Obviously a starfish."
My son deployed to Afghanistan on April 27, 2010.
He has a tattoo on his forearm representing 1RCR—the regiment he was (and is still) in, which is the RCR Cap Badge symbol with the letters VRI. As he was getting ready to get on the bus for the ride to Trenton and then flight to Afghanistan, I took a photo of his tattoo.
That weekend I had it tattooed (minus the lettering) on my left arm. I have 4 other tattoos but this is the only one visible. It helped me feel that much closer to him for the eight months he was gone and showed him how proud I was to have a son with such courage and dedication.
This was done on my back. It is a "mother dragon' standing over a crystal ball. The initials in my ball are of my children's initials. Took me years to find the right image to do this. But this is my dedication to my kids.
My husband and I are both fans of all things Jim Henson and when we got married we vowed to be "The Bert to your Ernie, the Ernie to your Bert."
The text is a line from I'm Yours, which is what I walked down the aisle to.
About a year after I got this one my husband got one that's the same except his has a rubber duckie to represent our daughter.
I have always been fascinated with Japanese culture and planned to travel there at some point. But as it happens with life I met my husband and we got unexpectedly pregnant. At my son's first birthday we were surprised again, and found out we were, once again, pregnant. It was twins—an extra surprise! I got my tattoo when the kids were all out of diapers and it is a simple character in Japanese Kanji and it means mother.
I have one dragonfly just above my ankle to represent my eldest daughter. I will be adding two more to represent my other two children.
I got this tattoo last November for my oldest daughter. She was born in April so her birth flower is a sweet pea. I just gave birth to a second baby girl and will be getting a tattoo for her as well. Hers will be my 6th and possibly last one.
I've wanted a tattoo for years. The first time I tried to get one, I was 21 and was going to get a small heart (the symbol for my name). I ended up having a panic attack outside the shop. It wasn't until I turned 34 that I got my tattoo. I love my tattoo and wish it was visible so I could show it off.
Why Wonder Woman? In the last 10 years I've rediscovered my love of Wonder Woman and all things "geek-y." I remembered playing with Justice League toys and She-Ra figurines (rather than Barbie) as a child. Watching Spider-Man & Friends with my dad and brother, and playing Thundercats in grade 3 (I was always Cheetara).
Some people get a tattoo to represent a part of themselves, others respect and enjoy the art of tattooing itself. My reason for getting one: a tattoo was on by "bucket list."
With my new found memories of childhood role models, I was struck with the desire for a Wonder Woman tattoo. More of an intuitive desire rather then for she represents.
There are so many versions of WW, that it took quite a while to find the one I wanted (the perfect mix of beauty and strength).
There are other images of comic book heroines I've come across that I love, but after being asked so many times what my tattoo represents, I've given it some thought (after all there must have been a reason I chose her instead of others). WW comes from a society with no men, and because of this, no oppression of women. She stands for truth and equality. She fights for what she believes is right and just. She lives her life deliberately as her authentic self with courage and passion.
It didn't hurt as much as I thought it would (considering it's so large). It took 6 sessions (including touch-ups). I LOVE my tattoo artist, a young women who owns her own shop in Milton and is passionate about her art.
I'm ready for my next one—I just have to narrow down what I want and where.
I have a total of four tattoos, my favourite one though is the one I got a year ago. It is a J and a B sort of woven together, the J is for my husband's name—Jeff and the B for my son—Brady. I knew that I wanted to get something to represent the two most important people in my life, so I went to New Tribe on Queen Street West and pretty much trusted them to come up with a design that I could wear proudly on my arm.
No matter where I am, I always have my boys with me. And when I am having a tough day I just look down at the inside of my right arm and I smile. This tattoo represents my deep love for them both. I am extremely lucky to have them both in my life!
This is my first tattoo and I absolutely ADORE it!
It's a mother and child theme, which includes the four initials of their first names (C, G, E, A). I wanted them to be part of the designing process, so I included images they wanted to see too (butterflies, hearts, etc).
I wear it with pride and I can't wait to get another!
I have always wanted a tattoo but could never find anything meaningful enough to put on my body permanently. One day it hit me. My 2-year-old daughter, Quinn, is the most important thing in the world to me. I had the letter "Q" tattooed on my wrist to remind me of that every day.