Mom tattoos have been around for ages. These pieces are usually pretty straightforward in meaning: an appreciation for one’s own mother. However, given the many styles, and the many years that this design has been going around, it is not unusual for a person to get this tattoo strictly for its kitschy value. It has become an unusual icon that has, and will likely continue to remain, a staple in tattoo art.
One of the most recognizable mom tattoos consists of a bright red heart with a muted yellow banner that says ‘mom,’ or occasionally ‘mother.’ These are often accentuated by red, blue or yellow roses; sparrows; daggers, and sometimes even flames. Many people like to alter this design to make it more personal. The yellow parchment-like banner may be replaced by a pink ribbon; there may be a set of angel wings and a halo, or devil wings and horns. Favorite flowers, birds, song notes, or animals are also frequently seen. A more unique take on this particular piece would be to create a more anatomically realistic heart – which can be meant to signify feelings of genuine love.
Mom tattoos are not restricted to one single design. Many people like to create tattoos that reflect not only the appearance, but the personality of their own loved one. These regularly feature realistic portraits that are surrounded by objects that are important to the wearer’s kin. It may also feature things like the mother’s name, date of birth (and sometimes death); a quote that is relevant to the person in the picture, or occasionally even song lyrics or poem excerpts. These are usually done in dramatic black and whites – sometimes with small bursts of colors in the eyes, or elsewhere.
Many mom tattoos are small and simple. Kanji script is often used for this style, and may feature words other than ‘mom,’ or ‘mother,’ like ‘love,’ ‘faith,’ and ‘hope.’ Sometimes these are mixed with other symbols like pink and white carnations (the symbols for a mother’s love, and the strength of motherhood respectively), day lilies (which are a Chinese symbol for motherhood), turtles (a Native American symbol for eternal motherhood), and the triple spiral emblem, which is thought to be a sign of a mother and her many facets.
Many mom tattoos are seen as a cultural emblem with a lot of historic value, but not a lot of meaning. Too many of those who get them, though, they are truly an expression of love and devotion to those who brought them into this world.