Ask Scary Mommy is Scary Mommy’s advice column, where our team of “experts” answers all the questions you have about life, love, body image, friends, parenting, and anything else that’s confusing you.
This week: What do you do when the parents at your kids’ school know about your “secret” OnlyFans account? Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Scary Mommy,
During the pandemic, I started an OnlyFans account. I’m a single mom, I heard how much money you could make by doing it, and I’m a very sex-positive person who’s raising my kids in a sex-positive household. There is no sob story here—I’m doing it because I choose to and after a few months, the extra money really started rolling in. The problem is one of my fellow mom friends informed me that she overheard a few other moms at my kids’ school talking about me being a “prostitute.” I’m assuming they (or their husbands) came across my account. I don’t want the entire school community to know about this, obviously, but more so I don’t want my kids to be ostracized because of it. I knew all the risks going into it, but honestly OnlyFans has allowed me to cut back on the long hours I was putting in at my “regular” job, and I’ve been able to spend more time with my kids. I don’t regret it, but I don’t want to see my kids humiliated. They’re only 6 and 9 years old. I feel like sh*t now. What do I do?
Okay. Deep breath. The first thing I want you to do is to remind yourself you’re a badass woman and good mom, OK? You are. While your kids are too young to really understand this, when the time comes to talk about it, though, you need to remember they’re going to take their cues from you. If you’re unapologetic about engaging in sex work and reiterate that it was your choice to do it, then they’ll pick up on that. Does this mean any of this will be easy? No. But they need to see their mom taking ownership over her choices, and agency over her body. This will set the tone for how they view sex workers and the sex work industry in the future.
Now, in case this should really blow up and somehow the school gets involved, I’d start looking into legal protection now. Private schools can do pretty much whatever they want to do (i.e. punish your kids for it), but public schools shouldn’t be able to, like, expel your children or anything. That doesn’t mean the school community will embrace you with open arms, because people in this country are shriveled up prune-y prudes when it comes to sex. And Karens are gonna Karen extra hard if they know their husbands are your content subscribers. If you’re financially able to, consult with a lawyer about the possible outcomes here. They should be able to advise you on what course of action to take, if any, should this blow up.
In the meantime, take a cue from scandalized celebrities. Privatize your OnlyFans account (just for a while, anyway) so you can control who follows you and who doesn’t, and who has access to your content. This is more for your safety and peace of mind—at least temporarily. You don’t have to hide from your kids’ school or the PTA Prudes, but unless they directly address it with you (They probably won’t, these women won’t want to admit their husbands have…seen you. If TikTok has taught us anything, it’s that these women typically reserve their public ire for retail workers) I would continue business as usual. Talk to who you normally talk to, ignore those you don’t. Prepare a “crafted statement” like celebs do on the Notebook app, making sure that you’re unapologetic and laissez-faire about it. It’s your business, it’s your work, and you have nothing to feel sorry about.
If you’re worried about your kids finding out, or how you’re going to talk about this with them, consult with a therapist beforehand about the best, age-appropriate way to do it. It’s a new world we’re living in, and you’re already doing an amazing job by raising them to be sex-positive while also prioritizing their needs by being there for them as much as possible. I know this probably all feels really overwhelming, and it might feel that way for a little while, but take control of this situation where you can and know that it’s going to be OK.