Mummy tattoos: would you get your child's name tattooed?

Occasionally, in my young and wild days, I’d wake up the morning after the night before and find I’d done something silly. Who of us hasn’t? But one day several years ago I got up after a big night, got into the shower, and discovered I’d had the word “Susie” tattooed on my chest.

By some stunning act of good fortune, Susie just happened to be the name of my wife. Otherwise I would have been in for some very serious and difficult explaining. As it was, it was hard enough to explain to Susie that instead of just stopping for a kebab on the way home, I’d ended up in a tattoo parlour telling some 14 year-old tattooist that I loved my missus and could I please have her name on my chest. At least I got the spelling right.

After her initial horror, Susie quickly learnt that she either had to get used to my new “skin art” or find another husband. “Did it hurt?” she asked. “A lot” I said. “I guess that’s pretty romantic” she reasoned. With that I thought this particular problem had been solved.

Essential Baby blogger Joseph Kelly
Essential Baby blogger Joseph Kelly 

Having just returned from six weeks enjoying the European summer I’ve spent quite a bit of time at both the beach and the pool with the girls. This has meant me spending more time than I usually do without a top on. This, coincidently, comes at a time when Maisie has a very focused commitment to reading and writing.

“Daddy, I know what that says on your chest. That’s mummy’s name.”
“That’s right sweetheart.”
“Why do you have mummy’s name on there?”
“Because I love mummy very much.”
“How come you don’t have my name or Frances’ name on there?”
Why on earth could I not see that coming?

Kids are already both personal and permanent, so getting their names tattooed seems to me like doubling up.

I know that for Angelina Jolie or David Beckham this wouldn’t pose a dilemma. They are proud to wear their children’s names on their bodies, complete with birth dates, birth weight, as well as the longitude and latitude of birth place. With one quick trip to the tattoo parlour I could have ‘Maisie’ inscribed on one shoulder, ‘Frances’ on the other and 'Baby Rita' down the length of my spine. But the simple fact is I don’t want to. If I want to show the girls I love them I’ll give them a hug. Besides, with all these girls names inked over my body I’m pretty sure I’d look like some old playboy who was hedging his bets. But this, I have read recently, goes against the current tide.

If the newspaper I subscribe to is to believed parents, and mothers in particular, are flocking to tattoo parlours to have the names and vital statistics of their offspring stencilled on their skin. It so popular, I’m told, that it even has a name – “mummy tattoos”.

Not content with stretch marks as a permanent reminder of their status as parents, the press tell me the modern parent wants to brashly display their affection for their offspring in a personal and permanent way. I think that’s great – it’s just that kids are already both personal and permanent, so getting their names tattooed seems to me like doubling up.

Is getting your child’s name tattooed just the next parenting fad or is it a sign that we value parenting more these days? What are your thoughts? Do you have a mummy tattoo? Leave a comment on Joseph's blog.