Being a parent is hard; being a stripper is even harder.
I know you may think it’s absolutely ridiculous to think that you could learn anything about parenting from a former stripper, but you would be wrong.Parenting lessons abounded in my former workplace environment. So if you can stomach it, here is some parenting wisdom from a woman who knows, not just how tough parenting can be, but also how tough shaking your naked body for dollar bills can be.Here are the top ten parenting lessons that you may glean from my brave time dancing naked in bars…
All is not as advertised, so be prepared for disappointment
As a stripper newbie, a woman may believe that she will be making $1,000 per night from watching stripper movies, reading stripper memoirs and believing the advertisement in her local newspaper.Just as the newly ordained exotic dancer finds that the rewards are much smaller, so does the new mother. You believed what your friends and family have told you, what you have read about and watched—motherhood is the best job you’ll ever have, filled with payment in coos, hugs, kisses, and love.Unfortunately, you will be sorely let down when you “open your paycheck,” only to find loads of poop and pee, sleepless nights and leaking breasts. It might be time to have a talk with your mother about honesty.
Expect long, merciless hours of physically punishing work
Ah! The relaxing life of an entertainer... Just kidding! You will need to work doubles to earn that grand a night.And new moms, you will wish you were only working a double! Try a triple shift with no breaks… and no days off.
Seriously, think this through before you have kids. Can you afford at least a few hours of childcare a week, so that you can go to the bathroom by yourself occasionally?
Develop a thick skin because there will be name-calling
As a stripper, I had every name you can imagine called out to me while I was dancing naked. Talk about poor body image, poor self-confidence, poor sense of self at all, if a customer didn’t like it when I didn’t give them everything they wanted, I was ridiculed.This was good training for motherhood.Of course, you don’t have to worry about your infant calling you names, but that baby will grow up, quicker than you can believe, and become a toddler, a child, a tween, a teen. Are you prepared for the fruit of your womb, whom you will love more than the world, to say horrible things to you?
Wear non-staining, washer safe clothes, just in case there’s an accident (there will be)
Beverages were spilled. Free buffet with purchase of two beers was dropped onto the stage. Cigarette smoke and booze seeped its way into every tiny item of clothing that went on my sweaty stripper’s body. I had to hand wash all costume pieces every night. After leaving the business, I never wanted to see another bottle of Woolite again.I got wise as a mother. No delicate fabrics that needed special handling would be allowed in my closet. You will live in soft T-shirts, yoga pants and ugly nursing bras for the near future. Do not complicate the situation with fancy clothes or even ones with too many buttons. Simple is best.
Be prepared for erratically swinging emotions and behaviors
We are talking lots of whining, crying and moaning. As soon as one bout winds down, another is waiting in the wings.As a stripper, I could have a customer fawning all over me one moment and then as soon as he heard that I wouldn’t go home with him, he suddenly became a raging monster. I would feel beautiful and admired and then be crying in the dressing room because I felt so unable to deal with my profession.Babies are much like strip club customers – happy one moment, and the next they are screaming and crying when you don’t fulfill their specific needs. With parenting, this can be very confusing. With a strip club patron, they at least were upfront about what was wrong: my hair, my body, my decision not to sit on their lap... but babies aren’t the best communicators on specifics of what is bothering them.
Have your breasts easily accessible at all times
This was uncomfortable and weird at the beginning of my stripper life, having to dance around with my breasts exposed in front of strangers, but I soon became accustomed to it, and kind of enjoyed being naked in public.Demand for the boob will never be higher than when you are a new mom. You may feel a bit odd with others seeing you nurse, but trust me, it’s so much easier when you embrace your naked body and stop being concerned about what others think. Best be prepared for judgment about having your breasts exposed in public. I’ve been criticized both as a stripper and as a mom.
It truly is the little things that count
It would be nice to have lots of large bills thrown your way, but tragically, dollar bills are the most popular bill still in rotation at strip clubs. Never mind that inflation should be accounted for and strippers have been making dollars for millennia, but that’s the way it is.The good news is that those dollar bills add up fast and before you know it, you have a nice stack of cash in your purse.As for motherhood, it truly is the little things that add up to make you feel fulfilled. Just a smile or a look from your baby will light up your heart and strengthen your bond. Before you know it, you will be so in love with your child, that your heart will be full and overflowing with happiness.
Do not compare yourself to others
Strippers can be competitive. There are only so many customers in a bar, and you have to be the top woman to be noticed. Whenever I compared myself to the other strippers, it only made me feel horrible. I tried to stand by the philosophy that each stripper was beautiful in her own way and that there would always be some customers who preferred my type.You may be tempted to be like those fit moms who have rock-hard abs a week after birth, but please don’t try to imitate the latest celebrity mom craze. You will get back to your old weight, or close to it, in a few months. There truly is no rush. Especially since everyone will be cooing over the baby and will barely even notice you.
Get ready to shake your body
A stripper who doesn’t dance would just be a naked woman in a bar. Now that would feel weird. On my breaks in between sets, it did feel bizarre. On the stage, I always tried to keep moving because it distracted me from having to speak to customers and made the nudity seem not so odd. I really do like dancing; it makes me feel happy.
Your baby will be delighted if you dance with him or her in your arms – just keep moving around. Movement soothes baby just as it did in the womb. It is great exercise for a new mom and will be a needed activity when your baby is cranky and you’re trying to bring on the baby snoozes.
Find your tribe
I wish I had done better at this in both my career as a stripper and as a new mom. I never made many friends amongst the other dancers in clubs even though I imagine we had some things in common. You can’t overrate the importance of having friends going through the same things you are.
You are going to need comrades on this parenting journey as well. Surround yourself with the people who fit most with you. They may not be perfect matches for friendship, but if you live in a small town, join a parenting group or go to library events for babies. This may mean stepping out of your comfort zone. Having a group of like-minded people surrounding you can make this whole motherhood gig a lot easier.
Now… off you go to be the awesome parent that you are meant to be, armed with a pocketful of parenting tips from a stripper. Just imagine the conversation starter you now have when someone asks you where you learned how to parent so well.
It’s the New Year, and I have been doing a lot of thinking. I want to say, with all of my heart and all of my soul, that I am sorry. I want apologize for anything (and everything) I have said or done that made you feel less-than or sad or small.
This year I am resolving, with a twist. There will be no diet, exercise, less swearing and drinking, "more church" kind of resolutions. This year I'm simply letting go of the things that are just not productive nor conducive to my life. This is the year I give up several of my hard-earned mom-related titles.
Surround yourself and your kids with piles of magazines and update vision boards for the fresh, new year to come. If nothing else came from this evening together, we exercised our creativity and bonded while reenacting some of the over-the-top advertisements we came across.