The Juggle sets out to be an inspirational book but one has one’s doubts.
This glossy format book sits half-way between coffee-table decoration and actual reading material.
Put together by Steph Adams and Samantha Brett, it consists of a series of formulaic interviews with various women who are mothers, accompanied by plenty of photographs. It is essentially “women’s magazine” material stuffed between cardboard covers.
As the title suggests, The Juggle sets out to be an inspirational book about how other busy, working mothers manage the load. Interviewees include Megan Gale, Teresa Palmer, Lisa Wilkinson and Zoe Marshall.
What immediately jumps out about this work is the incredible homogeneity of the subjects. Most of them are white. All of them are (or present as) comfortably well-off. And not one of them is above about a size 14. They all work in fairly “sexy” industries like fashion design, TV or marketing. Not one of them is a tradie, a scientist or a teacher. Not one of them is working-class. Not one of them is size 18.
So how inspirational is this? All of the women seem to have their lives together and manage work, motherhood and philanthropic projects whilst eating biodynamic yoghurt and attending yoga classes regularly. If this is actually something the “average” Australian woman aspires to, then inspirational it may be. However, one has one’s doubts.
Often books and articles like this merely make women feel more inadequate. Most of us don’t wear size 10 Sass & Bide jeans around the house. We don’t eat yoghurt…we just buy it and let it go mouldy in the back of the fridge. And we regard the chance to go to a yoga class as the equivalent of a six-week holiday. We often regard stories about other messy, disorganized, over-weight and overwhelmed women, much more comforting and inspirational.
However, despite its shortcomings, The Juggle is a pleasant enough book to flip through, and would certainly make a nice Christmas gift for a mother in your life.
Reviewed by Tracey Korsten
Distributed by: Penguin Books Australia
Released: April 2019