Amongst judgement for parenting choices (which there is a lot of), people also judge you for the way you look as a parent-which is bizzare.
I think I look pretty normal, nothing too outrageous, just a few piercings and a few tattoos. I dress quite normal just jeans, t shirts and converse/docs, but people still stare. I suppose I don't fit your typical "mumsy" stereotype when it comes to appearance.
It's not even like tattoos and piercings are unheard of nowadays, and I wouldn't say mine are excessive anyway (I have toned it down a lot since becoming a parent) but people still stare, and turns out they're judging me.
My children go to school in a nice village, and I know come September when it's a new term and there's a whole batch of new parents, I will be the one that catches everyone's eye, and they're not discreet about it either.
It's not just school, it's everywhere we go, if we take the kids shopping, me and josh call it "two head syndrome" and try not to let it bother us, but you can see it in people eyes, they're disgusted!
Summer is equally as bad, when more skin is visible, and people are a lot less discreet about their gawping and it leads to the children asking why people are staring. They don't see our tattoos or stretched ears; Tommy attended his first tattoo convention at 10 months old, and on rainy days the kids spend time colouring in my unfinished pieces, so to them it's totally normal!
It wasn't until speaking to someone I know that I found out just what people are thinking when they're staring. She said when she first met me she thought I was common, lower class, and just assumed I wouldn't be a good mother. She said she was glad now that she got to know me and can see I'm none of them things, but it still hurt(s) that people think I'm below them just because of my appearance, especially when it comes to my parenting.
Don't get me wrong, there's probably a lot more reasons people stare, but I think the combination of 4 children and tattoos spells bad news to some people.
Our skin doesn't affect our parenting, or our lives. We live in a nice village, in a nice house, and our children are well dressed, healthy and most of all happy. Having tattoos doesn't stop me reading them bedtime stories at night, having tattoos doesn't mean I don't kiss their poorlys when they hurt themselves, having tattoos doesn't mean I'm any less able to tickle them until they cry happy tears. I'm the same mother inside, regardless of whether I chose to collect artwork on my skin, or on paper. And the only people's judgement that matters towards me or my parenting, is my children's.
It's sad that in this day and age, tattoos are still judged, and used as yet another thing to tick off on a long list of parenting failures. I try not to let narrow mindedness bother me, but I don't want it to one day bother my children.
Parents that judge others for anything, appearance, choices-they're setting a not-so-good example for their children. And while my children will never grow up to judge someone for having no tattoos, they may still have to deal with the prejudice attached to having tattooed parents, which breaks my heart, and all I can do is hope that things, and people change, and soon.