Once a woman gives birth, we tend to forget that she has a life outside of motherhood. Whether she’s a working mom or the stay-at-home kind, we strip her of her former identity as a well-rounded human being with interests aside from breastfeeding, carpooling, and scheduling play dates.
Maybe our collective “mom problem” is an offshoot of the Madonna-Whore complex. Maybe we want to believe that parenting is necessarily a mother’s first priority because we need to believe that we were once smothered with undying affection by someone who defined her existence purely in terms of our own. Whatever the case, such stereotyping is damaging to the female sex. It’s also seriously off-putting to those of us who want to procreate, but don’t want to engage in superfluous conversations about teething, or have our baby bumps stroked by overly friendly strangers.
It’s important to remember that people who decide to have children are no less magnanimous or multidimensional than those who don’t. Parents, just like their childless counterparts, come in all shapes and sizes. Take my friend Domino Damoiselle, a successful stripper and cam girl. In her professional capacity, Domino has a lot of practical advice to offer about sex and entrepreneurship. As the mother of a young boy, she’s as well equipped as the mom next door to talk parenting. Below, I tap Domino for parenting advice and some insight into her daily life.
Thought Catalog: What makes a good parent in your view?
Domino Damoiselle: A good parent is an effective educator — not just in the reading and math sense, but also in a life lessons way. Above all, being able to teach a kid requires knowing who they are as an individual. Since everyone’s learning style and emotional makeup is different, you can’t assume that what works for another parent will necessarily work for you, or that what works for you with one kid will work with another.
TC: You mean children aren’t exact replicas of the adults who spawn them?
DD: A lot of kids exhibit similar characteristics as their parents, or pick up their parents’ traits, both positive and negative. That’s why it’s important to know yourself, too. For instance, I’m the most impatient person and I have trouble focusing. So does my son. But by acknowledging my faults and passing along some of the coping mechanisms I’ve picked up throughout my life, I feel like I’m giving my kid an edge I never had. My dad used to say, “Do as I say and not as I do,” but that’s bullshit. You can’t berate your kids for the same exact stuff you do. You need to lead by example as best as possible, and be honest about your own shortcomings.
TC: What are your thoughts on disciplining?
DD: You have to find a way to make kids listen. But if you lean on yelling as your main tactic, you’ll undermine your own screaming voice pretty damn quickly. You can punish a kid and help them see the error in their ways without terrifying them. I’m laid back when I need to be and I know how to pick my battles. I won’t freak out about something that’s inconsequential in the long run, like if my son doesn’t eat his salmon one night. He’s a picky eater, but he knows that he has to at least try the food I prepare. It’s also important to avoid shaming a kid. My son, who’s almost 7, wets the bed and I absolutely refuse to shame him for it. Embarrassment won’t help him outgrow the habit.
TC: How different do you think your life is from the average mom’s?
DD: I probably get more time with my son than the average mom. There’s a big advantage to being my own boss and to making my own schedule. Some weeks are busier than others, but for the most part I pick my son up from the bus every day around 3pm and we hang out until bedtime, at 8pm. Another major difference between the other moms and me is that I’m genuinely into the same stuff as my son. I’m a total nerd for Star Wars and Legos. The moms at the bus stop stand around drinking Starbucks, talking about soccer practice and the PTA. That’s just not me. I’m not afraid to play the mom card, but I’m not afraid to be my son’s friend and playmate, either.
TC: Do you think your specific profession inhibits you from performing any maternal duties?
DD: Not at all. I’m definitely a parent first. I won’t work when my son is present, for example. If someone doesn’t show up for a scheduled show and wants to do it later in the day, I’ll refuse if I’m on mom duty. When I had my son, I’d already raised four kids because I had a lot of younger brothers and sisters. Parenting has been a part of who I am for longer than camming or stripping, that’s for sure. I’m one of those people who lies in bed thinking, “Okay, what is the worst possible scenario,” and I prepare for that.
TC: How would you respond to someone if they suggested that you were an unfit mother?
DD: Oh God, a lot of people have said that to me in the comments section of Instagram and Twitter. “Whores shouldn’t have children!” Or subtler jabs like, “You have a kid?” which roughly translates to, “You shouldn’t have a kid because I jerk off to you.” The people who say those things don’t understand what the job is, for one. And they don’t have much respect for women, in my view. I’m insulted so often that I’m pretty numb to it at this point. Sometimes I make up a clever retort, but usually I ignore the dickheads. I don’t want to feed the trolls because it’s a waste of my time, and I don’t want to dignify their anger.
TC: Does your son know what you do for a living?
DD: When he asks about my job, I say, “I’m an entertainer.” That’s all he needs to know for now. It’s not like I leave my sex toys out in the open. My stripper pole is the only remotely sexual thing that’s visible in our house. He knows it’s for exercise and he likes to play with it sometimes.
TC: Assuming that your son will become more inquisitive as he gets older, how do you anticipate approaching the conversation about what you do in more detail?
DD: A lot of people have an unhealthy aversion to sex, but I definitely don’t. I have no problem using the word “penis” or “vagina.” People might not mean to, but they attach shame to genitals when they make up silly names for them. I speak to my kid in an honest, matter of fact way already. So I guess it depends on what he asks, exactly. It could be “Do you get naked on the camera for money?” In which case I’d answer “yes.” It depends on when he asks, what he asks, and how he chooses to phrase it. I’ll be as straightforward as possible without going into unnecessary detail.
TC: How would you react if he discovered all of your sexy photos on the Internet?
DD: There’s a reason I don’t do shows on websites that let viewers record and upload them. My shows are all one-on-one, which costs me some business, but it’s worth taking that precaution because the risk of my son finding anything really graphic is slim to none. If he finds a few shots where my vagina’s showing a little, it’s nothing he hasn’t seen already. The naked body isn’t anything to be ashamed of.
TC: What would you do if your son’s friends teased him about your job?
DD: Man, that’s a tough one. I’m indifferent to what other people think about me and what I do and I try to teach my son that it’s pointless to care about whatever mean kids might say to him. But if he were bullied because of what I do, that might be enough for me to quit. I’m not one to give up, but I would at least consider quitting. I would never want my son to have to choose between a friend and me. So much of it depends on the context, though.
TC: Have you learned anything from your line of work that impacts how you parent?
DD: Yeah. I’ve learned how important it is to drive home the point that everyone should be treated with respect. You can’t make asinine assumptions about a person based on their job or the color of their skin or their sex. Too many people have not been taught to respect other human beings. That’s why there are so many trolls out there. Those are the people emailing me: “Your kid should be in foster care.” Kids need a positive role model. Someone to teach them manners and to teach them to treat others how they wish to be treated.
TC: If you had a daughter, how would you feel if she were to follow in your professional footsteps?
DD: If she’s cut out for this world and she’s in it for the right reasons, I would support her. If an abusive boyfriend forced her into it, I’d obviously discourage her from doing it. But if she wanted to do it to save money for school, that would be okay. It would be hypocritical of me to say no, after all. As long as she’s within her comfort zone and not being bullied into doing anything she doesn’t want to, it would be okay by me.
TC: What advice do you have for soon-to-be moms?
DD: Don’t cheap out on breast pumps. It sounds silly but I got the cheapest breast pump I could to start and I ended up buying four different ones (you can’t return them!), which amounted to the cost of a good one. Also, get yourself some Lanolin for the nipples. It’s a lot like Vaseline. Before I learned about Lanolin, I remember bawling because my nipples hurt so badly while breastfeeding that I thought I wouldn’t be able to feed my son.