It’s 1:27 a.m., and the house is silent, aside from the sound of my sparkly black nails tapping against the keyboard. Armed with a steaming hot cup of tea and the new Ozuna album booming through my headphones, I struggle to stay awake as I browse adult sites in search of inspiration for the latest round of taglines I’m working on.
I wish I could have knocked this assignment out during business hours like a normal person, but looking at explicit content is a big no-no when you have a curious kindergartner twirling around the house in a tutu and constantly asking to see what you’re looking at.
Since becoming a parent, I’ve continuously walked a fine line between adult industry professional by day and super mom, cooking, cleaning and nursing boo-boos by night. However, once the pandemic started, I and parents like myself have found ourselves managing those roles simultaneously. While the lack of separation between home and office has made life considerably more complicated, it’s just one in a long list of challenges we face as parents who work in adult.
Hear No Adult Content; See No Adult Content
Like most parents, we’ll do anything to protect our little ones from things they shouldn’t see and hear. If that means working odd hours and taking meetings in hidden corners of the house, then so be it. Parents in the industry can be pretty resourceful when we need to. Many have learned to be as vague as possible during work calls, using code words and abbreviations whenever they can.
As for meetings where looking at explicit content on the screen is required? Well, that’s when people get creative. I’ve heard of parents taking meetings in their cars, linen closets, tool sheds and in my case, the bathroom no one uses because it’s next to the cat’s litter box. It’s not fun, but it gets the job done.
The challenges cam models and content creators face are even more complicated. Many performers who relied on school hours and relatives to help them work suddenly found themselves scrambling once COVID-19 hit and everyone was suddenly home all day. Longtime cam model and mother of two Becca Rizzo (known as the_milf_becca) struggled at the beginning of the pandemic and is just now starting to find her stride.
“Quarantine has been a complete nightmare when it comes to my live streaming and content creation,” she shared. “I had to just completely to step away for 6-7 weeks. Between full-time virtual school for my high school student and a teething infant, I simply couldn’t keep up.”
The Opinions of Others Are Not My Reality
I was blissfully unaware that other parents had an opinion about my career until I handed out invitations to my little one’s birthday party a few years ago. That night, I noticed one of the other moms had looked me up on LinkedIn. “I guess she knows where I work now,” I said to myself before shrugging it off and going to bed. It wasn’t until a few days later when dropping my daughter off at ballet class, that I noticed she and the other moms suddenly turned away and started whispering as I approached. “I can’t believe she actually works there, I feel sorry for her kid,” I heard one say, as I stood there in disbelief.
Throughout my 14 years in the adult industry, I’ve encountered a great deal of “pearl clutching” from vanilla folks who can’t understand why I choose a career in adult. “You’re smart, go work somewhere decent,” is something I’ve heard more than a few times. Up to that point, no one had ever used my career choice to question my parenting skills however.
People seem to operate under the notion that your home life must look like the Jackie Treehorn scene from “The Big Lebowski” if you work in the industry. The truth is far less exciting and utterly devoid of 70s porn montages. If you look around my house, you won’t see a trace of my job in the adult industry and that’s the case for most parents who choose this line of work.
The assumption that working in the adult entertainment industry somehow affects our ability to be hard-working, family-oriented people is something that doesn’t just come from the outside, either. Becca Rizzo said when she asked for help managing parenthood and work, some people in her life were quick to dismiss her because of what she does for a living.
“I was essentially hit with ‘that’s not a real job’ attitudes like our struggles as a family weren’t valid because I’m a sex worker,” she said. “I essentially have to lock myself in my bedroom or bathroom if I want to get anything job-related done, like emails, texts and social media posts.”
Creativity Gets the Job Done
If you’re a parent in the adult industry, chances are you’ve learned to be very flexible with your work schedule and function on very little sleep. For me, that means waking up around 5:30 a.m. to get a head start on things I can’t do while my little one is awake, such as social media posts and anything else that involves our adult sites. Once 8:00 a.m. rolls around, I get my little one out of bed and ready for her day, then settle in to do the more PG parts of my job, such as working on blog posts and PR materials, taking meetings and handling any vanilla assignments I may have lined up.
Once the day is over, and the little one is in bed, I get the rest of my explicit work done and hope I finish early enough to get at least four or five hours of sleep before I have to wake up and do it all again the next day. A lot of the talent I work with has adapted to a more nocturnal work schedule as well, performing and doing what they can to keep the bills paid while the rest of their household is fast asleep.
Most parents also get creative about their work setup, because let’s be honest, the littles move pretty darn fast and love to sneak up on you at the worst possible moment. Many of my coworkers use a separate room for their work computer, or at the very least, ensure their desk and monitors face a wall so they can clearly see when curious little visitors are lurking.
It Takes a Village
Many parents recruit help from wherever they can, whether from significant others or family members willing to lend a hand. “We eventually found our balance by calling in the grandmas,” Rizzo says of how she was finally able to start performing and shooting content again. “My oldest goes back and forth to one weekly and my partner takes our infant to the other in the afternoons/evenings so I can get some work done. I don’t get nearly as much time to stream or shoot, but it’s working for us right now.”
We’re all trying to do what’s best for our families and ourselves. Outsiders may have opinions about our chosen professions, but we can’t pay bills with those opinions, so all we can do is own it and keep hustling. In the case of the pearl-clutching dance moms, for example, I chose to face it head-on and politely let them know it would be far more beneficial for them to just ask me about my job outright instead of standing around gossiping.
What was awkward at first ended up turning into a great conversation, with the other moms asking questions like “Do you know (insert famous adult star’s name here)?” and wishing out loud that they could be as “bendy as the girls in those movies.” I even got invited to their next wine night, which I did not attend because I had too much work to do.
If you’re an industry parent struggling to manage work and home, know that I see you, and you’re doing amazing, sweetie!
The Challenges of Being a Parent in Adult by Jackie Backman originally appeared in XBIZ