With Mother’s Day coming up (my second as a mum) it’s got me thinking about all the ways we celebrate the bond between mothers and daughters.
Our mothers can pass a lot down to us, perhaps you share a love for spicy food, art, travel or for me I hope my daughter Avery and I share a love of tattoos.
As a tattooed mum, I’ve already been sharing my passion for tattoos with her and talking about the designs on my body. I wonder when she’s older if she’ll want to adorn her body in the same way I have, maybe she’ll want to get a matching tattoo with me as a way to celebrate our relationship.
I’m not the only one who thinks the best way to celebrate your bond with your mum, mama, mom, mam, mummy - whatever you call her - is with a mother-daughter tattoo. I chatted to a collection of mothers and daughters about the tattoos they have together…
Alice and Jenni
"She wanted a piece of her own tattoo magic"
Alice and her mother, Jenni, matching forget-me-not tattoos @alicecsnape
"I don't think my mum would have ever got tattooed if I weren't so into it. My mum's first tattoo was actually a present from my sister and I for her 60th birthday – an art deco lady on her shoulder that she loves to whip out and surprise people with. She'd watched my body slowly get covered and I think she wanted to experience what it felt like. She wanted a little piece of her own tattoo magic.
Her second tattoo was the matching tattoo she has with me. It's a tiny little forget-me-not flower and we both got them on our arms. We got Tracy D to create them for us when she was working at Modern Classic in London. I knew Tracy's delicate and beautiful style was how we wanted them to look. The colours match each other perfectly too.
"It was a beautiful experience. We both thought about Annemie.
We chose the forget-me-not flowers in memory of our dear family friend, Annemie. She had MS and died by euthanasia. We went over to say goodbye before. Annemie had a forget-me-not tattoo that matched with her three children – a symbol to ensure they never forget the love they experienced during Annemie's life. We told her we would also get one in her memory. I think about her every time I look at it.
It's more than a mother and daughter tattoo, it symbolises something beyond me and her.
I am really close to my mum. I love that our relationship has turned into us being the best of friends. There's nothing I love more than hanging out with her. I am sure we will get another matching tattoo one day. We both love lipstick so that would be cute."
"Obviously, I only got interested in tattoos because of Alice! The matching tattoos came about when our dearest friend Annemie in the Netherlands died. Annemie chose a forget-me-not tattoo so we would, if we wanted one, have it to remind us of her and our special friendship which is why me and Alice got tattooed together.
Alice and I have a very close relationship, so it's lovely that we have the same tattoo and I would be happy to match again, as long as I liked the design."
Tayler and Lisa
"We have grown together"
Tayler and her mum Lisa's tattoo by @dip.dip.draw
"It was my mum's idea to get a tattoo for my birthday present and she had sent me various ideas, we both agreed we liked this one best. The idea behind it is that my mum was 20 when she had me, she always said to me that mothers will hold their daughters’ hands for a while but their hearts forever.
Which, I felt was very apt because she was young when she had me and we have grown together and supported each other like best friends more than mother and daughter.
"The past year my mum said I have supported her more than ever.
She’s embarked on moving into her own home and had gone through some very stressful times.
We have four matching tattoos now, two for my grandad, her father and step-father and a heart that all the women in my family have.
It’s nice to be able to look at it and always remember my mum even if I do speak to her multiple times a day. When she isn’t here anymore it will be even more special."
Lois and Carey
"My mum is the person I have tattooed the most"
"I’ve wanted to get tattooed for as long as I can remember so when my eighteenth birthday was coming up I suggested to my mum we get matching tattoos as a birthday present.
My mum had also always wanted to get tattooed but she grew up and lived in New York when tattooing was illegal so she didn’t really know where to go to get one. I think she had kind of forgotten that now she lived in London she could get tattooed, so once I floated the idea of getting joint tattoos she was game!
Tattoos Lois has done on her mum
The first tattoo we got together was a quote from the Egyptian book of the dead that my mum often used in her artwork. The quote is about motherhood and I grew up seeing it on different paintings and embroidered art works so it felt ingrained into me before I even got it tattooed. The quote is:
"My heart, my mother; my heart, my mother! My heart whereby I came into being.
We now have multiple matching tattoos! Once we started we couldn’t stop. One of my favourite matching tattoos of ours was done by Michelle Myles at Daredevil tattoo in New York. It’s an old flash piece of a heart with a scroll that says “NYC” that we picked off the walls of tattoo flash from the 1910s that Michelle has collected.
My mum is the person I have tattooed the most. She let me practise on her constantly when I was first starting. I’ve now filled most of the gaps on her arms, back and chest and we’re getting close to finishing up her legs too!
I’ve only done a few mother daughter tattoos and I would love to do more. It always feels like such an honour and beautiful responsibility to create tattoos that connect mothers and daughters.
Lois @lois.spooked & Carey @c.s.marvin
My mum and I have a very strong relationship, we are both very passionate, obsessive and artistic so we’re often sending messages back and forth on WhatsApp asking for advice on whatever current project we’re working on. She’s encouraged me to be a tattooer more than anyone and still picks me up when I’m feeling anxious or stressed about my place within the world as a tattooer. Simply put I have no idea where I would be as a tattooer without her."
Kylie and Colleen
"As soon as I pitched it, my mom was on board"
"It was a joint decision. This was my first ever tattoo, and I was determined to create something super meaningful. My mom has a small tattoo on her left shoulder dedicated to my brother and me, and I wanted to do something similar to represent the influential women in my life.
I had the idea of a bouquet in mind, and as soon as I pitched it, my mom was on board, and we decided to go through with it together.
My mom and I were the only ones to have the tattoo done physically, but this is a tattoo dedicated to my mom, my grandma, my auntie, and me. The tattoo depicts four flowers in a bouquet, each representing our favourite flowers. My mom picked a lily of the valley, my aunt picked a daisy, my grandma picked a chrysanthemum, and I chose an anemone.
Our tattoo artist Heather Mellor (@heathermellor), whom I have known since high school, did a fantastic job bringing my vision to life. She went a step above and beyond after finding out that this was a piece that included my aunt and grandma as well. After we had the work done, Heather hand drew an extra two copies of this tattoo to create some beautiful artwork that my grandma and aunt could display in their houses without having it tattooed.
"This was my first tattoo, so it was comforting to have my mom with me.
She encouraged me to go first and jokingly kept reminding me how much tattoos hurt. As soon as the first line went down, I could tell that she knew it wasn't that bad; she just wanted to get a rise out of me. I could not see the progress of the tattoo from the angle that I was laying, so I had to rely on my mom's excited smirk every time she peaked over Heather's shoulder to know how it was coming along.
She was right there in the chair beside me for my tattoo, and I was right there beside her for hers.
I have heard of people going to get tattooed with their best friends, but I can confirm that getting a tattoo with your mom is a whole other level of connection. Because of our little flower bouquets, I carry around a piece of three significant members of my family daily.
My mom has always been my number one fan and supporter. I was such a busy kid throughout my childhood/teenage years, and my mom was always there for me to keep me organised, encourage me to do my best, and often dry my tears if things got tough.
When I graduated high school, I moved out of our hometown and into the city for school. This was hard on both of us because we were such a distance apart. I decided to stay in the town after getting a job offer, and the pandemic hit. We went months on end only being able to have Zoom wine dates and phone calls. This was challenging, but as soon as the restrictions eased up, we could get this tattoo.
It has been about a year and a half since we had the tattoos done, and as mentioned before, there is something so comforting about having something that reminds me of her to carry with me all the time. We both live hectic lives, and it is a fantastic feeling to be reminded that we both have something to remind us of each other at all times."
"As Kylie mentioned, getting the tattoo was a joint decision, but I’ve always wanted another one. When she first mentioned she’d like a tattoo, I told her to make sure she gave herself time to think of something that was important to her.
"I then kind of threw in the idea of ‘I would really love to have a mother/daughter one’.
I was so excited when she told me her idea of the bouquet as it would be personally special to the two of us but also include the influential women in my life as well.
I did encourage Kylie to go first as I knew mine would be a bit more painful, so I didn’t want her to have second thoughts if she saw me flinch. We were both sitting at each other’s side, and I will always remember her excitement as she watched Heather create mine, a duplicate of the one on her shoulder.
Heather did a phenomenal job, and every time I look down at my forearm, it’s just one more reminder of my little girl."
Maybe in the future and once she’s read this, I’ll convince my own mum, who currently has no tattoos, to get her first tattoo - a matching tattoo with me. But for now I’ll dream up ideas for the mother and daughter tattoo I may one day share with my own daughter.