I’m A Mom With Tattoos – Kim Stradling From Becoming Stradling

Welcome back to another installment in our new series – I’m A Mom With Tattoos.  In case you have missed the last couple, don’t forget to check them out here.

With just 13 days until Knox (and my) birthday, party planning is in full swing.  On that note, why are there no Shaun The Sheep things readily available in Cape Town?!  There’s a gap in the market if I ever saw one.  Young entrepreneurs out there, don’t thank me, just get creating…



Today we get to meet a (self-declared) stalker of our blog.  I love that through this series I have been able to meet awesome people (especially ones that come back here regularly that I wouldn’t normally get the chance to meet).  Thank you so much to you Kim, for taking time out of your day to check in here and to share your story with us!  I adore you shark and all the thought and symbolism that you included in it.

Your name and blog deets: Kim Stradling of Becoming Stradling  – please bear with me, I started the blog recently and something between busy and lazy happened… I will get back into this!

Your age: 32 (eeek)

Your Occupation: Operations Manager for a piano company. Most people imagine me answering the phone for a tuner who sits around, waiting for someone’s piano to need tuning.  Little do they know, I’m arranging the preparation and completion of over 60 pianos in our workshop at any given time, ranging from entry level pianos to R3million concert grands!  That’s a lot of responsibility, but it’s a great company to work for and I’ve definitely found my forever job!

Tell us a bit more about yourself, what do you enjoy doing?   It’s really taken me a while to figure out what to write here.  My daughter, Lily, has taken over my life (in the best way) and I struggle to imagine what part of my life is still only my own. I do enjoy costume parties, I’ve recently realised that creating cool costumes by hand is pretty much the only time I can find for myself these days and I love it!  I decided that if I were to win the lotto I would definitely open up a fancy dress shop…

Lily and Me (1)

A Mom’s favourite thing to do is talk about their children – tell us about your family:  There’s just the 3 of us and our 2 cats (although I always thought of myself as a dog person).  My husband and I had Lily 2.5 years before we decided to get married, so she got to be our flowergirl!  We had no intention of getting married at the time (I had been married previously and it didn’t end all too well) so she was our commitment to each other. She was so well planned that she took us by surprise – pregnant at the first try!

Lily: well, what can I say about her – she’s amazing and exhausting. She’ll be 3 this month, so she ranges from exorcist-crazy to sweet and loving. One minute I think I have this parenting thing down and the next I’m wondering if I’m raising the next serial killer…or Lindsay Lohan! She the bluest eyes that can melt even the coldest of hearts and curls you could bungee jump with. She inherited a double dose of stubborn, but she is my heart, my love, my life!


If you work, tell us a bit more about your working environment – are you regularly in contact with new “clients/public”.   My work is hectic, to say the least. Going on 3 years since I started with this company and it’s grown to a point where each of us carries the workload and responsibility of 3 people.  It’s hard, it’s stressful and it’s exciting!  I liaise with clients mostly via email and phone, but they do often come in to our showroom/workshop.

Tell us a bit about your tattoos, what they are, why you have them, where they are located:


My first tattoo is on my lower back. The ‘tramp stamp’ as it’s so commonly known. I had it done in Texas when I was 19 – I wanted Pegasus flying on my lower back, but they didn’t have what I wanted and back then google was only a foetus, so I randomly picked one off a wall. It’s just an abstract sort of design, no real meaning. I’m afraid I don’t have a photo of it as it hasn’t seen the light of day since before I fell pregnant. I’m certainly not going to take a photo of it now. I’m not embarrassed about the tattoo, but more uncomfortable about how my body has changed since having my daughter.

Tattoos (2)

My second tattoo was done the day I finally decided to leave my first husband and moved out. I wanted a symbol of freedom and strength, but being unplanned and unprepared, they didn’t have anything I liked so I went with my star sign. When I say it’s the symbol for Capricorn, most people who know their star signs look surprised as it’s a rather unique version of Capricorn, but I like it.

Tattoos (3)

My third tattoo I designed myself. I have this morbid curiosity with sharks and found quite a cool template to work with online.  I built in personal symbols for all the places I’ve been in the world: London, Belgium, Paris, Wales, Texas, California, Amsterdam, Turkey and India.  I also built in the star signs for the 3 people closest to me at the time – my husband, my brother and my best friend (Lily wasn’t on the cards yet).

I always forget about this tattoo and some might not consider it an actual tattoo, but I’ve had permanent eyeliner done on my top lids. I think only those who have been through this ordeal would definitely consider it a tattoo as it was by far the most painful thing I’ve ever gone through, including a c-section!

How old were you when you got your first tattoo: 19yrs old, in a foreign country, 4 days before flying off to London. Just before I boarded my flight, someone told me you’re not supposed to have a tattoo done before flying, so when it started itching and going raised on the flight, I totally freaked out… only to find out that’s quite normal.

Which tattoo is your favourite and why? Definitely my Capricorn sign on my wrist… for now.  Although I put a lot of time and effort into the shark, the star sign came at a huge turning point in my life.  I had just ended a 6 year relationship and felt so much lighter after making such a huge decision! I have no regrets in marrying the man I did because I learnt a lot about myself. I also got to travel and meet some amazing friends, but I’m so glad I left him because the life I have now cannot compare!

Tattoos (1)

Do you plan on getting more?  Yes, I want to get one for my daughter. My husband has a beautiful Lily with her DOB on his bicep that is amazing, but I want something more subtle and delicate.


How do your family and friends feel about your tattoo(s)? My parents don’t necessarily like the decisions I make, but they support me no matter what.  I’m so grateful for that, but I’m pretty sure they hate my tattoos.  My friends just think I’m nuts 😀

What is the general reaction that “the Public” have towards your tattoos?  Have you run into any negativity or adversity because of them?  When I first started my job, it was the height of summer and I worked in a non-air-conditioned room with no windows. In my opinion, tattoos are great, but there’s a time and a place for showing them off, so I spent that summer in cardigans and jerseys trying to hide the tattoos on my arms.  When my boss first found out I had tattoos he didn’t seem to care, so I don’t hide them anymore, but as we deal with high end clients, if I know one is coming in I cover up.

Family (2)

Any advice for those interested in getting tattooed?  If you like it now, that doesn’t mean you’re going to like it later.  Seriously consider location and how it may affect your life. I’m glad I’m able to cover mine up if I feel they’re inappropriate to a situation. My most profound piece of advice would be to not tattoo your face unless you plan on joining a circus or working in Camden Town, other than that, your tattoo is an extension of your personality – do what you want!

Where can we find you hanging out on Social Media?

Blog   ~   Facebook   ~   Twitter   ~   Instagram

Also, if you are a Mom with tattoos and would like to get in on the action here and share your story, mail/tweet (cindyalfino@gmail.com or @cindyalfino) me and I’ll send you everything you have to know.

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