On the Guardian site recently I came across Melissa Terras’ article, The Superwoman fallacy: what it really takes to be an academic and parent. It’s an edited version of her blog post. The first reason she gives for not being a superwoman is that she has a supportive partner. Partner well at work and at home is the good advice I was once given. It works for her, and for many others.
But it’s the fourth point she makes that I don’t think we pay enough attention to. She writes “I am not superwoman… I can afford help around the house.” She’s a London-based academic and can only afford a cleaner to help her for two hours a week. That’s nothing compared to the help most middle-class South African mothers get.
I have a nanny who is with us for five days a week. Without Lindy Nyakane I would be a depressed, miserable woman living through my children’s lives. I just hope that she isn’t miserable spending most of her days with my children, and that I give enough credit and money to her for helping me make my life work as well as it sometimes does.
This photograph taken on an iPhone by Dale Yudelman is on display at WAM (Wits Art Museum). It captures a relationship we don’t respect enough.