mothering worker? working mother?
i’ve been writing this diary in my head since February 2009, when i realised i was pregnant and began, one by one, to encounter the nitty gritty realities of managing both productive and reproductive work, the waged economy and the care economy or job and family.
of course, it has taken me nine months after my baby girl, Ziya, was born to shake out those words from where they were stacked in the dusty corner cupboard of my sleep-deprived, back to work brain…
here, i get to write how i like, without ‘proper’ sentences or second guessing about being too academic, too personal, too wordy, too anything. this is the first room i’ve had of my own in a long time and perhaps when i most need it.
i’m writing to live. to stand still instead of running from one end of the seesaw to the other, constantly trying to keep the whole in balance. the words do not express the ‘big P’ politics of public revolutions and realisations, but a consciousness of ‘small p’ politics that reflects just living a woman’s life.
discussing women’s lives in all their ‘momentous triviality’ comes out of Catherine MacKinnon’s (1973) classic essay on consciousness-raising. there she describes unpacking “the concrete moment-to-moment meaning of being a woman in a society that men dominate, by looking at how women see their everyday experience in it. Women’s lives are discussed in all their momentous triviality, that is, as they are lived through. The technique explores the social world each woman inhabits through her speaking of it, through comparison with other women’s experiences…”
so much of women’s lives, time, work, concerns are considered trivial, yet they are momentous…if only to our own self. in this spirit, i start this diary, charting the daily negotiation of managing work and family, for as long as i can and perhaps as long as i need.