Moms aren’t expected to be sexy. They are rarely thought of as women who break the rules. And they are always at home to tuck their babies in bed at night. However, moms defy these stereotypes every day in ways that raise the eyebrows of the mainstream population and prompt harsh judgment on their lifestyles. Many of these moms work as professional escorts and make respectable livings for their children and families.
Walking the line between society’s stereotypes of being a victim or a deviant, escorts lead a life that they often keep hidden from others. Some escorts worked in the industry before having their children, and they returned to it as a successful occupation. Others found themselves struggling in their present lifestyles and discovered a better life through escorting.
Many women attempt to lead an “upstanding” lifestyle when they have children, away from the escort industry, but they find it difficult to support their families that way. Child care costs, work schedules and low income levels all make it quite prohibitive to raise a family, especially if a woman is single.
Child care costs in the United States average $10,233 per year ($197 per week) per child. Utility prices have increased by 46% in the last 20 years. The National Association of Realtors reports that rent prices for apartments and homes will increase by 4% in 2013; after increasing by 5.4% (and 10 to 15% in many markets) in 2012. The median average single mom income in 2009 was just $25,172, and 38.5% of single mothers live at or below the federal poverty threshold. Forty percent of single mothers are employed in low-wage jobs. It’s difficult to find jobs that allow time off to take care of sick children or attend their activities; and many careers require excessive hours of work throughout the week to make a livable wage.
Women are stuck spending time away from their children at work just in hopes of supporting them and putting food on the table. When put in these terms, it’s no surprise that women find the escort industry alluring: they can spend less time away from home, make more money and set their own hours – all things spectacularly lacking in most career paths.
However, escorts also face severe consequences if their secret lives ever become public. Society’s attitudes about the morality and propriety of the escort industry permeate into perceptions about a woman’s fitness to be a mother if she works as a professional companion. She faces harsh ridicule and discrimination, but these are not the worst outcomes she could experience as a mother and escort.
- Endangerment of her family: Escorts don’t often attract crazy clients. However, from time to time, they will get a client with mental issues or instabilities. These unstable clients may harass or stalk an escort. If he discovers that she has a family, her children or spouse may be the target of his attention, too. An escort must be cautious about giving out too much personal information about herself or leaving too many clues that a client could use to learn more about her and her family. For example, using a phone number linked to her home address can give a client immediate access to her personal world. Carrying your identification in your purse and allowing a client an opportunity to look at it gives him not only your name, but your address, too. Escorts should never see clients in their own homes or allow them to pick them up or drop them off at their residences. The last thing an escort needs is a crazy client to show up at her door and attempt to create a scene that will threaten or scare her children. Subjecting your children to your escort lifestyle is never acceptable and should be avoided at all costs.
- Dealing with health issues associated with career risks: Even the most careful escorts may contract STDs or other illnesses as a result of their exposure to germs and bacteria from clients. A simple flu bug or cold may zap your energy, in addition to the possibility of spreading it to your family members. Contracting STDs will require treatment and recovery time, and a serious HIV/AIDS infection can have fatal effects, orphaning your children. HPV can cause not only cervical cancer, but also cancer of the vagina, vulva, mouth, throat, head or neck. The American Cancer Society reports that HPV-related cancers have dramatically increased over the years. Your family members will have to endure your treatment and recovery along with you, which can be quite stressful on them. It’s important to catch these cancers early, as most are treatable. But, many women have limited access to healthcare, so it is often difficult to get an early diagnosis.
- Recovery from injuries due to assault: Although most high-end escorts do not incur regular threats of violence when they visit with clients, especially their regulars, aggressive and abusive clients do exist. If you are the victim of a violent attack, you may be hospitalized with your injuries or temporarily disabled due to the assault. You may have to recuperate from your injuries through physical or occupational therapy or just time to heal. And, that takes time away from your job and limits your income. Depending on the severity of your injuries, your children may have to stay somewhere else during your recovery period. And, finally, if you are attacked by a client, your injuries may instill fear in your children. They may be scared for your safety or their own, realizing that bad things really can happen to people.
- Child custody issues: Typically when child custody issues come before a court in the U.S. the judge is mandated to consider what is in the best interest of the child. In order to completely lose custody and visitation rights to her children, a woman must be determined unfit. However, with society’s current stigma associated with the escort industry, it wouldn’t be too hard for a judge to rule that an escort mother is unfit to raise her children. Often, questions about which parent can provide a better environment for a child are asked; if it is proven that a mother is an escort, the father may be able to discredit her good traits with the fact that she sleeps with many men, making her sound sexually promiscuous. A mother’s reputation, stability and character can be compromised if her secret life is exposed. Some states have laws suggesting that custody be revoked from a mother who is convicted of prostitution-related crimes. And, if a woman were to be incarcerated for law enforcement’s perceived crimes of prostitution, she could completely lose custody and visitation of her children.
- Humiliation of children: Escort mothers who are “outed” to people such as faculty at their children’s school, their classmates’ parents or their friends may be gossiped about wickedly. Children may be teased and ridiculed, in addition to being discriminated against due to their mother’s activities. They could be excluded from activities, and your presence may be unwelcome at sporting events, assemblies or volunteer efforts. You and your children may become outcasts and considered unworthy.
- Being an effective role model: All mothers strive to be good role models for their children. They hope to instill confidence, pride, independence and self esteem in their children, in addition to teaching them things like being nice, consideration of others and how to do the right thing. One way that mothers are role models to their children is through teaching about healthy relationships, including sexual ones. However, it can leave an escort in conflict when she attempts to teach her children that sex is an intimate act shared with only someone special, especially as she reflects on her own professional attitudes toward sexual activities. If her life lessons contradict her own lifestyle, she runs a great risk of losing the respect and admiration of her children if they learn the truth about her career. They may discount her lessons about relationships and all others about life, too.
- Emotional issues lack priority: Escorts experience emotional highs and lows; it’s just a part of the job. From dealing with the stigma placed on them by society to the pressures that clients exert through their expectations, escorts may experience a wide range of feelings about their lifestyles. It’s common to suffer bouts of depression, lack of self-esteem and frustration, along with feeling empowered and capable, all at the same time. It’s difficult to deal with all of these common emotions when there are diapers to change, temper tantrums to curb, extra-curricular activities to attend and homework to help with. An escort’s chances of having free time to work through her emotions are few and far between. To keep her sanity, she must find ways to deal with her issues, and those ways will probably have to include her family.
- Lack of personal time: Due to rigorous schedules with clients, escorts often require some time to recharge. This may mean time to rest up or to unwind after several encounters. It’s hard to do that when your children need you. Escorts are mothers first, and their jobs come second. Usually, their personal welfare comes last. Professional burn out is common for women who have personal responsibilities that take priority over their own needs. The lack of personal time as a mom may make it difficult for an escort to get the break from life she sometimes needs in order to have a successful career.
Escorts who are moms learn quickly that things in their worlds will never be perfect or ideal. While most escorts don’t hope their children follow in their professional footsteps, they are appreciative of the career they have built. As long as food is on the table, the lights are on, the rent is paid and the kids have the new basketball shoes/doll/gadget that everyone else at school has, everything in an escort mom’s world is going to be okay.