A modern lifestyle brand redefining motherhood

Mama’s sex work: How the Curator of the Museum of Sex talks to her kids about bodies and babies

Recently, an article caught my eye: “The Challenge of Being a Porn Star Parent.” As a mother and the Curator of the Museum of Sex, I was more than a little interested in reading past the headline. What I didn’t expect was to identify so much with the author, Aurora Snow, a former adult performer and director, and now an established writer for The Daily Beast.


Motherhood is hard enough, but many of us likely haven’t given thought to how this job is complicated by a professional career that falls into the “adult category.” As Snow outlines “mixing parenthood with sex work is seriously tricky business.” As she describes “parents in adult entertainment are faced with having to build a wall that separates their work and home lives. More secrets, less conversation. And children have lots of questions.”

When I first began working at the Museum of Sex, just out of college and straight into a Master’s program in Anthropology, having children was still a distant dream. The intersection of my “adult” work, in this case curating exhibitions on the topic, never seemed in opposition to the goal of motherhood. But now as a mother, I must recognize that most mamas don’t spend their time with their nose in a sex book researching or collaborating with sex collectors, sex scientists, sex toy designers, sex educators and at times, sex workers. While I don’t see my work as a being in conflict with my status of mother (it does make for some interesting conversations at school pick up), I must acknowledge that because of the nature of my work that I will be confronted with a set of questions that others may not need to address.

Join Motherly


With my eldest turning four in a few months, and having just entered the world of “Why?” all I do is answer questions. Some are benign, “Mama, what is thunder?” some funny “Why don’t you have a penis?” and some that just stump me with their complexity, “What is heaven?” The constant and ever-present probing makes me proud of his curiosity, as well as exhausted, and I know that some harder questions are just around the corner. Just recently my son started to ask me more about what I do when I’m not with him. While “I’m at work, sweetie” used to placate him, now with a few memorable museum visits under his belt, I’ll tell him that “Mama, works in a museum. Remember the dinosaurs?” With the summer, and a few exciting visits to Papa’s office, he’s now been asking to visit me at work as well. “One day, my love.” So far this satiates him, but we all know that isn’t going to last forever.

But I have it easy.

While I work with sex, and assumptions are made about me, my desires, my interests and my personal activities, “Museum” typically imbues my work with a high-minded, cerebral quality. It’s not that I haven’t been confused for being a more hands on sex worker over the last decade, and many of my days do involve curatorially sorting through various forms of pornography, on the whole, my title as a “Curator of Sex” makes me “safe” enough company. But the reaction isn’t always so kind to other mothers, women who work in many different capacities in the field of sex work, in some cases choosing to work in the adult industry specifically to support their families.

While my work outside of the home doesn’t define me as a mother (as I believe it doesn’t for other women working in adult industries) it has given me a very clear idea of how I want to approach conversations about sex in my home. With over a decade working in the field, I have encountered too many adults who have spent lifetimes thinking about sex as a dirty topic, internalizing their sexual desires and identities with shame. With these professional experiences, I am committed to doing everything in my power as both a mother and educator to keep shame from being a part of the culture of my household. But that means answering, truthfully, but in an age appropriate manner, all of the hard questions that are going to come my way.

Starting at a very young age, in my household we begin the conversation with the body, always using the real words for body parts and not nicknames. We don’t call our elbows “our flower” so why should this be used for genitalia? All this does is signify there is something about this part of the body that we do or should feel uncomfortable with. Instead, from an early age I have discussed with my son (my daughter is less verbal at 17 months), how his penis is a special part of his body, which has made it significantly easier to have conversations about inappropriate touch. Giving children words for these parts of our bodies isn’t just philosophical, it also about health, safety and empowerment.

With my son knowing he has a penis and that his sister has a vulva (that’s the ‘official’ word sex educators use but, confession, even I sometimes call it a vagina), my family has the building blocks to one day talk about sex, a conversation that will evolve in detail as he evolves and matures. While we haven’t begun to talk about sex, I see this foundation of language already at work, making some conversations already easier. For instance, I was recently asked, “When I was growing in your belly, did you poop me out?,” making the association of what happens to food inside our bellies. With an almost impossible to control smile on my face, I could simply say, “No baby, you came out of Mama’s vagina.” But as children are bound to do, he surprised me again with his follow up, “But why didn’t I come out of your penis?”

Although my son is still working out some of the specifics (and seems to be really wanting to work out why I don’t have a penis), I was so proud of him for having the real words to have this discussion with me, in turn making it so much easier for me to answer his questions. As both my children grow I know these questions are only going to grow more complicated and more nuanced, but I intend to have the important conversations about safe sex and healthy relationships in the same candid manner as we did in the toddler days. The “sex talk” won’t be a one-time occurrence, vaguely around the time of puberty, it will be an ongoing conversation, one I hope my children know I’m open to having. But beyond pregnancy and disease prevention, I know this sex talk will also need to acknowledge the access to sexual content our little digital natives will be privy to. If my line of work has taught me anything, it’s that I want to teach my children about sex in a healthy way (and it never hurts to keep a watchful eye on our little one’s internet explorations). As the Curator of the Museum of Sex I know we can’t hide sex from our children, but if we commit to speaking honestly and accurately about the topic we can teach them about it in a healthy and constructive manner.

But part of that frankness, at least in my household, is going to be based on having a very honest conversation with my children about mama’s job. The same will be the case for women like Aurora Snow and others in the adult industry. I’m proud to do the work that I do and look forward to sharing who I am with my children. Sex is one of the best parts of life—and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Join Motherly

Who said motherhood doesn't come with a manual?

Subscribe to get inspiration and super helpful ideas to rock your #momlife. Motherhood looks amazing on you.

Already a subscriber? Log in here.

With two babies in tow, getting out the door often becomes doubly challenging. From the extra things to carry to the extra space needed in your backseat, it can be easy to feel daunted at the prospect of a day out. But before you resign yourself to life indoors, try incorporating these five genius products from Nuna to get you and the littles out the door. (Because Vitamin D is important, mama!)

1. A brilliant double stroller

You've got more to carry—and this stroller gets it. The DEMI™ grow stroller from Nuna easily converts from a single ride to a double stroller thanks to a few easy-to-install accessories. And with 23 potential configurations, you're ready to hit the road no matter what life throws at you.

DEMI™ grow stroller
$799.95, Nuna

BUY

2. A light car seat

Lugging a heavy car seat is the last thing a mama of two needs to have on her hands. Instead, pick up the PIPA™ lite, a safe, svelte design that weighs in at just 5.3 pounds (not counting the canopy or insert)—that's less than the average newborn! When you need to transition from car to stroller, this little beauty works seamlessly with Nuna's DEMI™ grow.

PIPA™ lite car seat
$349.95, Nuna

BUY

3. A super safe car seat base

The thing new moms of multiples really need to get out the door? A little peace of mind. The PIPA™ base features a steel stability leg for maximum security that helps to minimize forward rotation during impact by up to 90% (compared to non-stability leg systems) and 5-second installation for busy mamas.

PIPA™ base
(included with purchase of PIPA™ series car seat or) Nuna, $159.95

BUY

4. A diaper bag you want to carry

It's hard to find an accessory that's as stylish as it is functional. But the Nuna diaper bag pulls out all the stops with a sleek design that perfectly conceals a deceptively roomy interior (that safely stores everything from extra diapers to your laptop!). And with three ways to wear it, even Dad will want to take this one to the park.

Diaper bag
$179.95, Nuna

BUY

5. A crib that travels

Getting a new baby on a nap schedule—while still getting out of the house—is hard. But with the SENA™ aire mini, you can have a crib ready no matter where your day takes you. It folds down and pops up easily for sleepovers at grandma's or unexpected naps at your friend's house, and the 360-degree ventilation ensures a comfortable sleep.

SENA aire mini
$199.95, Nuna

BUY


With 5 essentials that are as flexible as you need to be, the only thing we're left asking is, where are you going to go, mama?

This article was sponsored by Nuna. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.


You might also like:

Baby stuff comes in such cute prints these days. Gone are the days when everything was pink and blue and covered in ducks or teddy bears. Today's baby gear features stylish prints that appeal to mom.

That's why it's totally understandable how a mama could mistake a car seat cover for a cute midi skirt. It happened to Lori Farrell, and when she shared her mishap on Facebook she went viral before she was even home from work. Fellow moms can totally see the humor in Farrell's mishap, and thankfully, so can she.

As for how a car seat cover could be mistaken for a skirt—it's pretty simple, Farrell tells Motherly.

"A friend of mine had given me a huge lot of baby stuff, from clothes to baby carriers to a rocker and blankets and when I pulled it out I was not sure what it was," she explains. "I debated it but washed it anyway then decided because of the way it pulled on the side it must be a maternity skirt."

Farrell still wasn't 100% sure if she was right by the time she headed out the door to work, but she rocked the ambiguous attire anyway.

"When I got to work I googled the brand and realized not only do they not sell clothing but it was a car seat cover."

The brand, Itzy Ritzy, finds the whole thing pretty funny too, sharing Farell's viral moment to its official Instagram.

It may be a car seat cover, but that print looks really good on this mama.

And if you want to copy Farell's style, the Itzy Ritzy 4-in-1 Nursing Cover, Car Seat Cover, Shopping Cart Cover and Infinity Scarf (and skirt!) is available on Amazon for $24.94.

Motherly is your daily #momlife manual; we are here to help you easily find the best, most beautiful products for your life that actually work. We share what we love—and we may receive a commission if you choose to buy.You've got this.

You might also like:

Daycare for infants is expensive across the country, and California has one of the worst states for parents seeking care for a baby. Putting an infant in daycare in California costs $2,914 more than in-state tuition for four years of college, according to the Economic Policy Institute.

Paying north of $1,000 for daycare each month is an incredible burden, especially on single-parent families. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines affordable childcare as costing no more than 10% of a family's income—by that definition, less than 29% of families in California can afford infant care. Some single parents spend half their income on day care. It is an incredible burden on working parents.

But that burden may soon get lighter. CBS Sacramento reports California may put between $25 and $35 million into child care programs to make day care more affordable for parents with kids under 3 years old.

Assembly Bill 452, introduced this week, could see $10 million dollars funneled into Early Head Start (which currently gets no money from the state but does get federal funding) and tens of millions more would be spent on childcare for kids under three.

The bill seeks to rectify a broken childcare system. Right now, only about 14% of eligible infants and toddlers are enrolled in subsidized programs in California, and in 2017, only 7% of eligible children younger than three years of age accessed Early Head Start.

An influx of between $25 to $35 million dollars could see more spaces open up for kids under three, as Bill 452, if passed, would see the creation of "grants to develop childcare facilities that serve children from birth to three years of age."

This piece of proposed legislation comes weeks after California's governor announced an ambitious plan for paid parental leave, and as another bill, AB 123, seeks to strengthen the state's pre-kindergarten program.

Right now, it is difficult for some working parents to make a life in California, but by investing in families, the state's lawmakers could change that and change California's future for the better.

You might also like:

When a mama gets married, in most cases she wants her children to be part of her big day. Photographers are used to hearing bride-to-be moms request lots of pictures of their big day, but when wedding photographer Laura Schaefer of Fire and Gold Photography heard her client Dalton Mort planned to wear her 2-year-old daughter Ellora instead of a veil, she was thrilled.

A fellow mama who understands the benefits of baby-wearing, Schaefer was keen to capture the photos Mort requested. "When I asked Dalton about what some of her 'must get' shots would be for her wedding, she specifically asked for ones of her wearing Ellie, kneeling and praying in the church before the tabernacle," Schaefer tells Motherly.

She got those shots and so many more, and now Mort's toddler-wearing wedding day pics are going viral.

"Dalton wore Ellie down the aisle and nursed her to sleep during the readings," Schaefer wrote on her blog, explaining that Ellie then slept through the whole wedding mass.

"As a fellow mother of an active toddler, this is a HUGE win! Dalton told me after that she was SO grateful that Ellie slept the whole time because she was able to focus and really pray through the Mass," Schaefer explains.

Dalton was able to concentrate on her wedding day because she made her baby girl a part of it (and that obviously tired Ellie right out).

Ellie was part of the commitment and family Dalton if forging with her husband, Jimmy Joe. "There is no better behaved toddler than a sleeping toddler, and she was still involved, even though I ended up unwrapping her to nurse her. I held her in my arms while my husband and I said our vows. It was really special for us," Dalton told POPSUGAR.

This is a wedding trend we are totally here for!

Congrats to Dalton and Jimmy Joe (and to Ellie)! 🎉

You might also like:


The internet is freaking out about how Peppa Pig is changing the way toddlers speak, but parents don't need to be too worried.

As Romper first reported, plenty of American parents have noticed that preschoolers are picking up a bit of a British accent thanks to Peppa. Romper's Janet Manley calls it "the Peppa effect," noting that her daughter started calling her "Mummy" after an in-flight Peppa marathon.


Plenty of other parents report sharing Manley's experience, but the British accent is not likely to stick, experts say.

Toronto-based speech and language pathologist Melissa James says this isn't a new thing—kids have always been testing out the accents they hear on TV and in the real world, long before Peppa oinked her way into our Netflix queues.

"Kids have this amazing ability to pick up language," James told Global News. "Their brains are ripe for the learning of language and it's a special window of opportunity that adults don't possess."

Global News reports that back in the day there were concerns about Dora The Explorer potentially teaching kids Spanish words before the kids had learned the English counterparts, and over in the U.K., parents have noticed British babies picking up American accents from TV, too.

But it's not a bad thing, James explains. When an American adult hears "Mummy" their brain translates it to "Mommy," but little kids don't yet make as concrete a connection. "When a child, two, three or four, is watching a show with a British accent and hears [words] for the first time, they are mapping out the speech and sound for that word in the British way."

So if your baby is oinking at you, calling you "Mummy" or testing out a new pronunciation of "toh-mah-toe," know that this is totally natural, and they're not going to end up with a life-long British pig accent.

As Dr, Susannah Levi, associate professor of communicative sciences and disorders at New York University, tells The Guardian, "it's really unlikely that they'd be acquiring an entire second dialect from just watching a TV show."

It sure is cute though.

You might also like:

Motherly provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.Your use of the site indicates your agreement to be bound by our  Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Information on our advertising guidelines can be found here.