My sister emailed me this morning asking my opinion about a topic hot on her forums among women. I guess there was some heated drama going on her board and it made me feel it was a good thing to blog me answer to her! Now, ANYONE who knows me will know that asking for my opinion can be a loaded request. I have a VERY liberal way of thinking, and it only gets stronger as I get older. My opinions come off strong and sometimes overbearing. Don't think I'm threatening you or picking a fight if you don't feel as I do. Respect the variation of opinion without feeling it is a personal attack.
Today, the topic of interest was pictures on the web of baby 'tattoos'. Now, obviously, these kids aren't truly tattooed up, or that would be an entirely different blog entry. Whether it be henna marking, crusty temporary tattoos, or those new shirts that have skin colored sleeves with 'ink' and fit tightly, there seems to be mom's all huffed up about them. I figure I'd state my opinions on these, as well as putting skulls on your baby, since that seems to pop up on a cloth diapering community I am part of.
How I feel about the judgements made: Honestly, I'm over women/mom's making judgements and being so uptight when it comes to the choices OTHER parents make. It gets old, being made out to be an uneducated and careless parent, just because you do not walk the same path other parents walk. I have friends from one extreme to another. Being part of the groups I have been since June 2004, I have learned to appreciate all aspects of parenting. I have a few friends who are moms that don't vaccinate, eat organic, babywear, co-sleep, cloth diaper, don't circumcise, extended breastfeed, homeschool, etc. "Crunchy" is the label the mothering world has given that style of parenting. I also have friends who on the opposite end vaccinate on schedule, love strollers and disposable diapers, formula feed from the beginning, circumcise, slip their tot sips of Sprite, cry-it-out, etc. "Creamy" is their label. Every single mom I know in both extremes of the categories, as well as the rest of us residing somewhere in the middle, are all amazing parents. What works well for one does not work well for others, and I appreciate that!
With these tattoos in question, if it is the marking that's an issue, piercing ears or circumcision are far more severe in permanence than fake tattoos, and far more common. Sure, you can take a piercing out, but there will always be that physical trauma, and that mark in their skin. Circumcision is altering the way God made the child, removing a piece of him that can never be replaced. (my babygirl is pierced and my son circ'd). We do it willingly as parents- put them under the knife (or needle) to make altering changes, sometimes uninformed and sometimes informed but without much choice due to the other parent's opinions. Putting either a henna marking (which fades away) or slipping on a fake tattoo sleeve of fabric onto a baby is no different than dressing them up as dogs or pirates for Halloween. It is no more dangerous than using a medicated cream on a rash or putting a disposable diaper (which carries chemicals), things we do instinctively.
If it's the appearance you are concerned about, then you just have a different taste than other parent. Simple as that. I personally may look at a persons son wearing his baby blue Winnie the Pooh outfit with his white crib shoes, and think it is NOTHING I would EVER put my son in, but wouldn't go making judgements about the parents love for their child or the future well being of that kid. I, in turn, put things I like on my son, things we would wear ourselves or are part of our style, things that some other mothers may not be interested in. Shirts and shoes with skulls or tattoo images, Van's slip-ons with punk prints, Crocs (OH, so taboo in the parenting world) with skull jibbitz. If you don't like it, don't put it on your child. And don't judge someone else for their taste. Unless it's a football jersey. The only acceptable jersey is Cowboy's, all others will be teased. ;)
If it's the future morals of the child you are concerned about, don't be. It's not up to anyone to decide if my child gets a tattoo when they are older or not. It's not up to anyone to decide what is right or wrong for that individual or any individual to get a tattoo. To me, my body IS a temple, I am not oblivious to the fact God calls us to take care of our temples. I will teach my children that same thing. But it is my temple to make positive choices with, temporary in it's existence and not without flaws. I choose to get tattoos, along with a greater portion of America. To put symbols of importance or dedication on my skin- a skin that will not be following me to heaven- is something I enjoy and appreciate. If/ when my child comes to me asking for a tattoo, I will be the first one to take them to get one, considering they are older and have earned it. And I honestly believe from experience- the parents who shelter their kids from things will be the first ones to realize that if you hide things from your child versus educating them, they will be more persistent to do it and hide it from you.
Really, is it that bad? What is the point in pushing you own personal ideas of what is right and wrong or acceptable on other parents? If it is not something you agree with, then don't choose that path for your child. But also, don't judge those who think differently. Share experiences, ask questions, and try to gain an understanding of something that may seem so foreign to you. You never know, you might like it! ;)