When Mommy is the Sex Lady
As a feminist sex shop owner, my life has revolved around sex for the past twelve years. I spend most days talking about vibrators, orgasms and the best way to reach a dude’s prostate. I have an enviable collection of sex toys from my years of diligent product testing and my commitment to masturbation and I have a hard time having a conversation without the world dildo coming up.
I also have a three-and-a-half-year-old kid which means that for the past few years I’ve have been learning to navigate the world of toddlers, schools, and other kids’ parents and you know what? I’ll take a chat any day about why butt numbing cream is bad over an awkward conversation with another parent about potty training or public school.
I was hesitant about being a parent. Not because I didn’t want a kid, but because I didn’t want to be a mom. Don’t get me wrong, I think moms and dads and parents are great people, great identities to have, but I had cultivated an identity as that Sex Lady and didn’t want to relinquish that for a primary identity of MOM. And honestly, while I welcomed this kid with an open heart, I was nervous about how I’d be both a parent and a sex toy slinger—two identities that folks might think are contradictory.
I was not (am not) nervous about other parents not liking me or thinking I was weird, in fact I kinda actually hoped they would. One because I thought that’d help me easily weed out folks I did not need to be around and two because hello, I’ve been trying to establish my weird identity since the first time I dyed my hair in seventh grade. But I do worry about my job making things harder for the kid. While having two moms so far has been a disappointing non-issue, the double whammy of dyke-moms and one mom with “Porn Producer” to her credit might be rough for him somewhere down the road.
When A was an infant my work identity was a non-issue. We had some new-baby friends but they were people we knew in our community before we even had him. As working parents we didn’t have time to seek out mom groups or even very many play dates. And even though people sometimes thought I was the babysitter, my work identity never came up at playgrounds or other forced-to-talk-to-strangers events.
The only time I had to explain what I did and was actually nervous about it was when I was before a judge adopting A. Even though I helped make him—who do you think carried that sperm home on her bike?—I was before someone who had the power to say, “um nah, freaks like you can’t have a kid.” But even he seemed un-phased and let me pay a bunch of money to get my name where it should have rightfully been on A’s birth certificate.
When A started preschool last fall I thought, “ok, now this will come up and I’m ready for weird looks and making the teachers or other parents uncomfortable.” Instead, as soon as the teachers knew what I did I was handing out discreetly packaged goody bags at pick-up. As for the other parents, at this school they are just as busy as we are and chatting is kept at a bare minimum (just how I like it), so I’m not even sure any of them know my name, let alone what I do for a living.
But A is still just a baby in many ways and my work things that end up around the house look like microphones to him. He’s too young to ask what KIND of store I have and too young to beg for play dates with that kid who has ultra-conservative parents. So while being the sex lady and a parent hasn’t really been the exciting controversy I thought it might be, I know there is a lot to be cautious of down the road. I’ll have to start being more careful about my work stuff ending up in the dining room and we should probably hide the creepy picture book about adults who are in love with their sex dolls soon.
Overall, I hope that having a parent whose works revolves around sex will help him to grow up with honest expectations about sex and an ability to be comfortable talking about sex in an open and honest way. Maybe he’ll even grow up to be that kid who everyone comes to with their sex questions. Or maybe I’ll drive him into a celibate religious order. Who knows? But I’m going to do my best to be honest to him about what I do and WHY I do it and hope that in the end my naughty job title helps him to know it’s okay to pursue whatever wacky dream he may have.