Don’t be fooled by the title. I am NOT suggesting that the two go together! What I am going to talk about is the possibility of having both in your life.
On numerous occasions I have been drawn into discussions about this because people know that I am heavily involved in the BDSM scene, am out about my kink to my friends and family of origin AND I have two young children. They want to know how I do it. Do the kids know anything? How do I keep it separate?
The first part of it is the juggling act I do on a daily basis. My kids are still too young to be left alone and I also share custody with their dad – although I have them a majority of the time. However, part of my schedule that is fairly regular are the weekends. Every other weekend I have the kids – Friday after school (or camp in the summer) through Monday morning. I also have them every day after school except Monday nights (when I teach and host a munch) and Tuesday nights (my only weeknight with no work and no kids). Wednesdays and Thursdays I have them for the most part unless I need to work. Needless to say I don’t have a ton of extra “non-kid” time on my hands. I do my best to see my clients while the kids are in school or camp. So, yes, most of the time that you don’t see me at events or working, I am pulling mom duty. So the weekends that I have them come around and guess what? Unless it’s something I really really want to go to and find childcare – I am pretty much not active every other weekend in the scene. Does this make me sad? Of course. Do I sometimes feel like I miss out on fun stuff? Absolutely. However, I just try and remind myself that here in LA we have many things going on every weekend which means I can make up for it a week later.
Next is the question about if they know anything and how I keep it separate. At their age they are old enough to be aware and ask questions – unlike having an infant, toddler or preschooler. I keep my toy bag in the trunk of my car. If I have books or other kinky things that aren’t toys I have a cabinet that I put them in that is next to my bed. As they get a little older I will need to find something more secure since they may start to snoop. When I am headed to a club and I’ve hired a sitter or have recruited the help of family or friends and they see me heading out I get asked where I’m going. The questions are more from my daughter who is the oldest. I usually say a party or event and, depending on my outfit, sometimes it’s a costume or theme party. I also use a wrap dress to cover up what I may reveal at the club if it’s not appropriate for young eyes.
When they ask questions about my job I focus on the marriage and family therapy part. After starting Club Awakening (a newbie party in Los Angeles) I would say that I also plan big events like parties. So basically, enough truth to satisfy the question but not enough to raise more!
So, yes, it is absolutely possible to balance parenthood with kink. As your children get older you adjust your explanations to fit their age and level of understanding. It may not be as easy or as simple as it would be without having them, however, I would never change a thing! As a mom I make it all work as well as I can – and sometimes that means missing out here or there and scrambling for childcare occasionally. That’s ok. In a blink of an eye they will be adults and I will have more freedom, but I will also miss this time when they were younger – so I try to cherish it. It’s all possible if you want it to be. ☺
Jennifer Masri is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, specializing in Alternative Lifestyles for individual and relationship issues. She also teaches the BDSM 101 class series at Sanctuary LAX in Los Angeles every Monday evening. Read more about Jennifer on her blog, A Kink Shrink.