Before I decided to become a circus artist (or to become a mum), I worked at a number of “proper jobs”. These were full time, demanding, heavily female led jobs. A lot of my co-workers were mums. None of them were referred to as their *job title* followed by ‘mum’. Because this would have been irrelevant to the client, service user or co-worker.
All that is expected of the professional at work is that they do a good job. Parenthood and professional demeanour just shouldn’t mingle. Some may argue that parenthood affects our daily dynamics over everything we do; some people may decide to go part time on their jobs after they become parents. However, being a parent has nothing to do with excelling at our job.
I am not a circus mum. I am a circus professional and a contributing member or society. I am also a load of other things: in my personal life I am a mum, a partner, a loyal friend and a bloody good cook.
Here is why it bothers me to be called a circus mum. A while ago I was out in town with my two year old and I bumped into an acquaintance- a friend of a friend. She asked if I was still doing “all that circus stuff” (i.e. my job). Upon my affirmative answer she looked at me in shock and disbelief, and openly admitted:
-I thought you would have stopped by now!
Argh. Why do I bother. Why did I hope that I would get a phrase of encouragement such as:
-Well done! I really wish you carry on doing what you love for many years to come (or similar).
Why would she think I would have stopped by now? Do we really live in such a double standards society? Whilst expressions of ‘strong women’s roles ‘ seem to be clogging all creative channels, in daily life women still face genuine scepticism from other females. Are we not all in the same boat? Perhaps it is just me, fighting so hard against being defined solely as a mum. Albeit all the feminist propaganda, it seems that women are -really- not meant to be leading empowering lives beyond motherhood.
Well… (cue huge sigh of relief). There is nothing further from the truth. In my own experience, as a mother I have become a more fulfilled human being, both in my professional and personal life. And so have other so called strong women around me, doing the same job as I do.
So here is the answer: no, I have not stopped doing what I love. And please don’t call me a circus mum.