“You don’t look like a mom.”
That’s a common statement that many tattooed, pierced and colourful hair-clad mothers hear on the regular.
It’s a statement my two baby-faced girlfriends who had kids in their early twenties were also used to hearing.
But what exactly does a mom look like?
Does she have to have short hair, wear mom jeans and drive a Volvo station wagon? Celia Sanchez doesn’t think so.
Sanchez – a photographer who became a mom at 23 – reached out to friends and strangers to create a powerful portrait project. Called “Devoted,” the series features “non-typical” mothers and their children.
Over the past three years, Sanchez has captured these tattooed and funky-dressed moms alone with their children to encourage people to reconsider first impressions.
“I knew mothers who didn’t look like a ‘typical mom,’ and I always wanted to photograph them and feature them and show that you don’t have to look a certain way to be a mom,” she said, according to Upworthy.
Whether they rock tattoos or “don’t dress their age,” many parents are judged for their appearance.
One mom friend of mine even told me about a woman at her daughter’s school who took one look at her manicured nails and offered a condescending, “Wow – you’re the only mom I know who always has her nails done.”
And that’s just nail polish – never mind a fresh new tattoo.
“I just wanted to show women — mothers — who weren’t … sacrificing their personal style,” Sanchez says. “Being a mom, you get lost in your children and I really love the fact that these women didn’t lose themselves. They didn’t lose their identities. They’re still themselves. They’re still great parents.”
Amen to that.
Some of the coolest parents I know are the ones who are still as uniquely themselves as they were before baby strollers became a household staple. Not to mention, people with tattoos could actually be healthier than their fellow non-tattooed parents.
Photos: Celia Sanchez