Image: Journal Times – Tim Ludwig / The Wichita Eagle / MCT)
The term “the juggled life” suggests an existence characterized by ceaseless activity, awareness, and concentration, in which the real “trick” lies in maintaining the illusion of effortlessness.
[…] The consequences for successful juggling are even worse than the consequences of doing it poorly. The better at it you are, the harder and longer you will work. The more accomplished your performance, the more invisible your efforts become.
(MAUSHART, Susan. “The Mask of Motherhood – how becoming a mother changes our lives and why we never talk about it.” Penguin Books)
I work at the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil (House of Representatives), in the Social Communication sector. On March 31st, 2011, as part of the celebration for International Women’s Month, the talk show “Woman and her plurality of roles” was presented. The image for publicity was a sequence of illustrations with the same woman in several situations: as a manager, a mother, an athlete, a housewife and so on.
At that time, I had posted on Facebook my discomfort about that image: “not due to the plurality itself, because it can be enriching, but due to the insisting concept that presents the multitasking and perfect woman in all roles. It’s even said it’s an innate feminine brain attribute, meant as natural, with no question. To me, that “pedestal” just leads to a fragmented, exhausting and frustrating life.”
The comments were nice! From the idea that everybody can be manifold, both men and women; the verification that we can assume a tiring madness even when we are aware we don’t need it. And the will of being only “me”, without any role…
My friend Vera Morgado, the event presenter, suggested me to open that reflection in the debate.
My question to the debaters was:
“So much is said about the juggling woman. But the juggler has the plates in the air. She doesn’t appropriate the plates. She doesn’t prioritize any of them in order to avoid them to drop. When a plate falls down, it’s she who breaks. And when she handles the plates, the show is over and nobody pays attention anymore. How can we get rid of this metaphor?”
The answers were very interesting!
The actress Elisa Lucinda talked about the danger for us, when we confound our personality with the tasks we do. She also asked us to not suffer with the dropped plate: “after all, there’s the saying ‘The rings go away, the fingers stay’ (in English, the saying is “Better lose the saddle than the horse.”). I say: ‘the breastpins go away, the breasts stay’.”
The psychologist Carmita Abdo said that we should take advantage of our feminine multitasking features in our own benefit, aggregating, pacifying, for our personal progress.
And the deputy (representative) Janete Pietá summarized, in just one phrase, everything that now I’m looking for:
“Better than being a juggler is being the circus owner.
It’s being the CEO of ourselves.”
You can also see:
Only mothers are happy – Marusia speaks
Mothers in animated feature films, TV series and cartoons 3: why do we identify ourselves with them and see them as references?
This post in Portuguese: Mãe Malabarista? Não, obrigada