Dear Tess Morgan, re. your son’s tattoo

Dear Tess Morgan,

Yesterday I read your reaction to your son’s tattoo and was frankly gobsmacked at your reaction which will probably destroy any relationship you and your son have.

  • Has your son killed anyone?
  • Has your son raped anyone?
  • Has your son abused anyone?
  • Has your son got a woman pregnant and not taken responsibility?
  • Has your son forced a woman into an abortion against her will?
  • Has your son committed a crime?
  • Has your son deliberately coldly and maliciously hurt anybody else either physically or mentally?
  • Or is your son David Cameron?



The way you write about your feelings towards your child and his bodily autonomy as an adult to chose what he does to his body with fully informed consent is shocking.  I’m glad you realise that your feelings are “OTT” “completely unreasonable“, “absurd” and you “get angry with myself” for feeling like that (your words) but your son has not “taken a meat cleaver to my apron strings”, your actions and response to his tattoo will be the meat cleaver in this relationship.  Your son sounds a very reasonable and wise young man, I was particularly impressed with him saying  “I think you need to re-examine your prejudices.” and “I’m upset that you’re upset. But I’m not going to apologise.”.  

I would be proud of a son like that, one that is not afraid to challenge unreasonable prejudice in those that he loves and one that is empathetic to others feelings but has courage of convictions not to plead forgiveness for appeasement purposes when he has done nothing wrong.

I was trying really hard to think what my girls would have to do to create the level of upset your son has done in you, and pretty much it is what I listed above, but even then they may one day find themselves killing someone in self defence or to protect their own children then I still wouldn’t consider their actions to be “A meat cleaver to the apron strings“.  No matter what I will always be their mother and always love them, and even if they turn into bad people doing heinous actions I would still love the children they were and although I may have to reconsider a relationship with them if they turned into immoral evil adults I suspect this is an unlikely scenario.  I also appreciate that sometimes “bad things” happen without malicious intent, I am not going to get angry at my girls for making mistakes with bad consequences if they never meant to hurt anyone, unfortunately life isn’t always black and white or good and evil, just lots of people trying to muddle along as best they can and do things that make them happy.

A tattoo has made your son happy- deal with it.

However lets also examine what you mean by “meat cleaver to the apron strings“, what you actually mean by that is control of your son, not love of your son. Your love of your children should never change however old they get, but although you say “I know you can’t control what your children do” and pretend that you don’t want to this is not reflected in the tone of your whole piece, and I find this very sad.

You will lose your son if you cannot get past this and let him be an adult on his own terms, and what a stupid thing to throw away 21years of a relationship over.  I’m presuming you grew this man in your womb, gave birth to him, fed him, changed him, winded him, helped him walk, protected him when he was hurt, but he is no longer attached to the umbilical cord and you are no longer needed.  You need to let go, you need to stop being so controlling.

This is about so much more than a tattoo now thanks to your completely unreasonable reactions and I hope you and your son can get past this and salvage some sort of a relationship.

Yours Sincerely


My tattoo which I got when I was 18 which, as expected, I now kind of regret but it reminds me of a crazy fun time of my life and I won’t get it removed. My parents hated my tattoo and didn’t find out about it until it was 5 years old, when they saw it they just groaned and said “oh I wish you hadn’t” and then said no more about it and our relationship was completely unchanged as a result. How it should be.




10 responses to “Dear Tess Morgan, re. your son’s tattoo

  1. Lol at “Or is your son David Cameron?” Yeah, that is pretty unforgivable.

  2. Didn’t speak to him for 3 days!!! Outrageous. I suppose she can’t control how she feels but I feel sorry for her son who will have been all excited about his tattoo and she well and truly stamped on that.

    Also, am I the only one dying to know what the tattoo was?

    I would rather any tattoos the boys get weren’t done on impulse as their Dad had a crappy, badly done Superman badge on his bicep at 17. I waited until I was 25 to get mine, I have no regrets and would love to add to it one day. I actually wrote a letter to my Dad telling him I’d had it done as I was so worried about his reaction but he took it quite well. I wouldn’t say he likes it but he didn’t go mad like I expected.

    • haha a girl at my school had a hideous tweetie pie done on her shoulder. she was 15 and lied about her age- bet she regrets that now. Yeah I want to know what it is now. If it was a superman badge I may have more sympathy for his mum. A mate of mine has a DNA helix on his- I love that- science geek. Not keen on the huge maori symbols etc unless you actually are of that culture.

      • yeah, cartoons are never a good idea. Agree on the Maori symbols and think that something original is better than a generic design. There are so many great tattoo artists, there’s no excuse for a rubbish one nowadays

  3. Haha David Cameron..I must say I’d be pretty devastated if one of mine came home as a Tory.

  4. Was it a spidersweb on his face?

  5. Fantastic post, totally agree with all of it, I have no tattoos but I’m pierced. My Mum was more worried than anything when I went to have my tongue done in ’97 but I had it done went and seen her and she didn’t even notice. She likes my studs and often calls them pretty now!
    If she had spoken to me like that a) I would have wondered who she was and what type of alien species had infiltrated her brain and b) I probably would not be her carer now….(actually perhaps she should have ;)……

  6. I found this post as I was looking for James Arthur’s Mother’s reaction which is very similar apparently!!

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