My kids were 6 and 9 when I opened my first pole studio. In all honestly, I really didn’t think about them when I made my decision to start my business. It never occurred to me that it would affect them. They were in school, this was my job, there wouldn’t be a problem. Ha! How naïve I was! I can now see why some parents tell their kids they are going to “yoga” when they leave for class. I know that some of us who pole hide what we do for fear of the jokes in all male workplaces. I know that others are very adamant that we should never hide what we do – there is nothing to be ashamed of. With kids, all I can do is tell you my ups, downs and funny stories and let you decide for yourself what is right for you.
In my case there was no hiding what I do. I owned a studio. That is pretty hard to hide! When I first opened, my kids were too young to know what a stripper was. They thought my studio was a playground and would have a blast flinging themselves around the poles. I will never forget walking into back to school night for my 6 year old. On her school desk there was a picture with a big silver pole and it said “my favorite room in the house is the pole dancing room.” Oh my! Now it was my turn to be beet red and wonder what the teacher thought was going on in our house. In 2006 we were the ONLY studio in Northern Virginia, so it’s not like it was mainstream.
Then the following summer my son came home confused and upset from summer camp. Apparently the counselor was asking everyone what their parent did for a living. When it was my son’s turn he innocently and proudly said “my mom’s a pole dancer!” While that gives me a chuckle right now, the counselor thought he was being a smart ass and said “son, that’s not funny.” That’s the day my son learned about “strippers.”
Things slowly went downhill from there. As they got older they got more and more embarrassed – no matter how much I tried to explain things. My kids would argue with me and ask why I had to have such an embarrassing career. At the time I had promotional magnets on my car and my kids would take them off and hide them. They would beg me to not tell their friends what I did, and to please take the pole down in the house. My daughter even screamed at me one day in a pre-teen fit saying, “I will NEVER be a pole dancer like YOU!”
All I could do is continue to hold my ground and be proud of what I do. Happily it paid off. Now that they are older their outlook has changed once again. My 18 year old son is actually on a hip hop dance team where all the girls want to come take my classes. He has respect now for my choreography skills and will bring me new music he thinks I might like for class. My 15 year old daughter wants a job and keeps begging me to let her be a receptionist in the studio. Still, there ARE limits. The other day I was trying on new killer boots with my booty shorts and walked into the living room for her opinion. Her response was right on: “mom, no 15 year old should have to see their mother in an outfit like that”. Ahhhh wise one, you are probably right!
My son actually performed on stage with us Divas last year at our student showcase!